Saying good bye was always hard for me. Forgetting is something that just terrifies me. When I came to this country I left behind those that I love. My family and friends are important pieces of my life’s puzzle and leaving them behind was a painful experience for me even though I knew that I was making the right, necessary decision. New friends replace (no, never replace) supersede the old ones. My new country was full of so many amazing persons that welcome me with so much love and respect; however, adapting to the new circumstances was not so easy. That is why I believe that no matter the time or distance the memories of the loved ones can always help me feel at home.
I cook for my kids the same meals my grandma did for me. I sing to them the same lullabies that help me fall sleep. I dance “conga” in front of my kids and they stare at me with the look of “my mom is crazy,” even though I like to imagine they are thinking “she is super cool.” Once in a while a tear, or two, or more, escape from my eyes when I read a story, listen to a song, or I see a picture of my country. I also have lots of pictures of my family all around the house. But I think that overall the things I do to keep my memories alive and to teach my kids respect and love for mommy’s land it is “the wall,” the one thing that helps me the most. I have a piece of my country in one of the walls of my house.
The first piece of my country’s collection in the wall was a small key chain, a maraca, with the flag and the word Cuba painted on it. I later got another key chain with a picture of “La Virgen de la Caridad” (Virgin Mary) that is venerate in my country. I crocheted myself a flag and I also added a flower that my child made for me out of paper to my collection, which has slowly started to grow. Other objects are now part of it, they all have a meaning and a priceless value.
I had to move a couple times from one rental to another, but the wall is always there. It is the symbol that no matter how many turns and changes life throws at me I won’t forget where I came from, why I came, and who I am. My wall represents my culture, my traditions and the love I developed for the people and the land in which I was born and raised.
Now I am in this beautiful country with a second chance and great opportunities ahead, and I am thankful for that. But “the wall” it is not just sheetrock and wood with some plastic and fabric things hanging on it, is a representation of my nationality and all the good memories. My kids look at the wall and they know that is a piece of mommy’s country.