Diaspora

My words: Part of life but undefending not to be defined.

There were five of us living in a one-bedroom and a half apartment. The half is considered a maid room in the back called quartinho-little room in Portuguese. Living with your mother and grandmother means you have two women constantly telling you what to do. Dad was the free spirit and I didn’t have to worry about him nagging me, he got enough grief from the women of the house. Regardless, he always did whatever he wanted and followed his heart selfishly. As a kid he was my superstar, a well of theories, idealized morals, and home remedies. Doing what you feel and not what you’re told is extremely appealing to a child, and so I followed his example blindly. He defied anything traditional at all cost. When I was 5 he challenged traditional medicine when I was diagnosed with bow-leggedness. My parents couldn’t afford to put me into the corrective boots the doctor said it would require to fix me and neither did they want to. With temperatures in Rio reaching well over a 100F, we were getting ready for a long summer and corrective boots seemed torturous for a five year old. From that day on, everyday my father dragged me out of bed at the crack of dawn for a long walk on the beach. Everything my parents did was at the crack of dawn, especially if it involved the beach. In order to fully enjoy a day at the beach you must get there by 7AM and leave when it’s already dark out. In less than six months I was cured and have never had any further issues with my legs; if I hadn’t heard this story a thousand times before I would’ve never even known I had an issue. The sands of the ocean had cured me, and my father had gotten me there.

Dad had that thing about him, he could always take you places and he always did, unable to stand still at work, at home, and in life. I’m yet to figure out what my father is still running from. One day I woke up and we were moving again. In 1993 I made my last move with Dad, to the United States of America. Dad had been laid off from Varig which was the only job I had ever seen him excited about in his life. He had worked there for over five years, the longest he had settled with anything in his life. Within a week of hearing the news my father was already gone and on a plane to New Jersey, this was in May. Mom and little brother followed two months later and I stayed to finish the school year, they told me. I was supposed to meet up with the rest of the family in December; however my mother had a nervous breakdown and demanded my grandmother send me on my way. It was September 13th, 1993 that I embarked on a plane to New Jersey, all by myself.

It all happened so quickly that the last couple weeks seemed pointless. I decided there was no point on studying for tests or respecting my teachers, my aunt was called into the principal’s office every week until I left.  After all, I was moving to another country, I was moving to a first world country.


2 Responses to “Diaspora”

  1. I had the same issues with my legs as a baby. Mom said they had to break my legs to correct them. By the way, I found your blog via linkedin. We are connected there, so I wanted to visit your blog. I admire your perspective on the diaspora. Your way of mastering the reality, gives those of us who understand, a peak into your heart. Thanks.

    • Hi Brian, thank you for stopping by and for commenting. Nothing makes me happier than having people enjoy my writing. Diaspora is the first page of my book; a fictionalized autobiography of my experience as a Brazilian immigrant in the 90s in the U.S. Hope you’ll read that too when it’s published! Have a wonderful holiday season with family and friends. Cheers!

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