People that don’t spend their whole lives in the same city/state/country have a hard time answering the question “where are you from?” I spent two thirds of my life in one country and one third in another country. The answer I give to the “where are you from?” question varies depending on a lot of things.
If I am in the US and I suspect the person asking wants a place where I can vote, I say I am from DC (never “from Washington.”) For the first couple of years I was here and people asked this question in this way, I said I was from Michigan.
If I am in the US and I think the person asking the question wants to know why I am brown or why I have a (super cool) accent, I say I am from Venezuela.
If I am in the US and I think the person asking the question wants to suggest that I “go back to my country” I say that I was born in New Jersey but grew up in Venezuela. Or alternatively, that I was made in the USA with all-Venezuelan materials.
This is to say that nowadays I have two homes. DC, my home where I live and where my things are and that I love; and Caracas, my home where I grew up, and where the people I love live and that I also love.
For the holidays I went to visit my family in Caracas, my first home. I have visited Caracas many, many times since moving to the US. (This, incidentally, is the answer to the follow up question to “where are you from?”: “do you go there often?”). Visiting Caracas is always wonderful. Most of the people I love most in the world live there. The food is delicious. The city has perfect weather. And I am from there. I know how to do things and I understand it in a way that I don’t understand any other city in the world except Washington, DC (and Marquette, MI, which hardly counts as a city).
This time, however, visiting Caracas was a little less wonderful.
The things I love are still there. The people are still happy and funny and resourceful and confianzudos. The Avila is still there. The perfect weather is still there. Giant amounts of alcohol are still there. As are chocolate and arepas and delicious food. My house is still there.
But there are also changes. Things, when you can find them, are expensive. Supermarkets are empty. People’s stuff gets stolen. Prices don’t mean anything. And, as my sister said, the worst part is that people are getting used to it. I hope she is not right. The lack of things, the violence and the high prices are not nearly as bad as getting used to the lack of things, the violence and the high prices.