I left Venezuela 12 years ago, and have lived in five other countries ever since: USA, Italy, Mexico, Chile and Panama. A week ago I returned to square one: Caracas.
I want you to like me, so I’m going to be excessively kind with my new city (yes, “new”). Why? Because usually we identify with the place where we live. If I’m Caraqueño (from Caracas), then Caracas must be something good. Otherwise, I’m not good either. Sounds crazy? Yes! That’s the spirit: that you begin feeling amazed but dizzy at the same time. That you forget about reason and give space to feeling. If I’m making too much sense, if I’m being too rational, please, stop me right there! Because then I would have gone far away from my objective: putting my brain (and yours) to rest in the night table. In other words: please don’t leave comments asking “why?”, or “what do you think about … ? “, unless you want a crazy, non-sense answer.
So let’s start with one thing: I LOVE mountains. When I was a teenager I imagined that the great Avila Mountain that lies beside Caracas was my boyfriend: if I was sad, he’d share my sadness, if I was happy, he’d made me happier. I know I love mountains in general, but he was my first love, the unforgettable one. So for now, I’m just so happy to see him again, even from the distance.
Second: I love Caracas’s weather. It only gets cold enough during the day to make you wish it was a little bit hotter, and then happens vice versa. Great.
Third: This is a new city for me. It’s new because I’m lost regarding currency, most of the laws, and the whole Bolivarian thing. The country that I left, for example, had seven stars in its flag, but this one has eight. In the country that I left, my mom wouldn’t have told me “I don’t think you’ll get that, they say there’s a shortage of plastic”, when I innocently said that I would need another gallon of potable water a week for my family (it turned out that it is possible to get one, it’s just that it’s ridiculously expensive).
So, since Caracas is a new city for me, I’ve had my share of cultural shocks, like the currency issue, for example. I just realized what extreme devaluation actually means: that paper money (coins are generally despised) is close to useless. Last year, when I came to visit my family, since you can’t use foreign credit cards (actually, I’m not sure if it’s that you can’t use them, or that it is so absurd to use them, because you might end up paying 100 times the real value of an item) I used bills. But now the bolivar is so undervalued, that it’s almost impossible to pay with bills a lot of things (you would end up carrying a backpack full of money every time you go out). Because of this, and so many other things, I am grateful for my family and friends that have helped us get settle here, since without them it would have been nearly impossible.
This is it for today. I’ll blog as soon as possible.
Hoping that you have a beautiful day,