What we take for granted

I often quite ponder, as ponderers tend to do, about seldom things, which is how ideas begin to form. Intricately and intrinsically, depending on each other to develop. Today however, I started thinking about identity. How often do we strive to feel as part of something unique and special, while still maintaining individuality? As a foreigner, most immigrants might be able to relate to this train of thought. We look to fit in, as well as to be recognized as a different entity, with a different origin, something that sets us apart.  We look for that blanket of comfort, behind which the familiarity of things brings us some remainder of that sacred place we came from; regardless of how corrupted, and difficult it was to live there. We yearn for that ease of speaking the native tongue, to which we will never feel (as long as the immigrant wasn’t a child when he/she arrived) a stranger to; the effortlessness of expressing oneself with richness, as oppose to being limited to rethinking and translating before communicating. However, is this something that we looked for back in our home land?

As far as I can remember, as a child back in Ecuador, that was hardly the case.  I have always managed to stand out (and to a certain extent, I still do, I have quite a peculiar taste), among the girls at my old  school I was “the odd one”, I didn’t like to brush my hair (truth be told, I’m still an “after sex hair” kind of girl) I had more guy friends than girl friends (girls seemed too drama-phile for me, and most of the time they are) I was, and still am, afraid of dolls (back then I preferred to play sports and with cars) and of course, I hated dresses, skirts, and any sparkly/girly looking attire.  For the latter one, I can honestly say, I have grown out of the “tomboyish” phase (somewhat at least), I do enjoy wearing skirts and dresses, however ridiculous I may feel, and every now and then, I try to take the time to accessorize (no make up, I think it is false advertisement).  I can remember feeling like the awkward turtle in more than one occasion, at birthday parties and school gatherings, and I didn’t know how to fit in, though I secretly didn’t want to.  Speaking a second language was more of a novelty than a necessity. Spanish, to me, was the only tongue I’d ever speak, I never imagined I’d speak three (and counting)…  Another thing I remember distinctly is the emphasis of pride of each region of the country.  Where being “Quiteño” (from the capital) was usually a big thing, since (as it does in many other countries I am sure) it meant coming from high-society and wealthy families. The feuds between the coast and the city was, and probably still is, colossal and somewhat dangerous. The diversity in dialects is another factor that back in our native country we often emphasized on, and it actually extends to the Spanish language in general…

However, once we find ourselves in this strange “melting pot”, all these puny differences don’t seem to matter. I am no longer a “Quiteña”, I am an “Ecuadorian”. I am no longer “Ecuadorian”, I am “Hispanic”. The community, in my opinion, has expanded so much that it gives you that warm feeling to find someone who speaks your tongue, who shares your customs (even if they do happen to be slightly altered), and similar food… But, why can’t this prideful feeling be pushed toward being human? Will it take a trip to a different world for us to finally rely on one another, and no longer be “Colombian”, “Russian”, “Egyptian”, “Canadian” or “Bengali” but simply “human beings”? When will the color of our skin, the tongue we speak, the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the religion we follow; become humble human traits that make us one, as oppose to racial and ethnic features that bring us apart.?


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