LIFE, MY LIFE
Sometimes I forget that my life hasn’t been ordinary. It is my life after all, so to me it seems quite normal.
I always describe my parents as the type of people I would love to hang out with, even if we weren’t related. My dad grew up on a banana plantation in Panama, as the oldest of 10 kids his childhood was not quite the fairy tail. He preferred books over people and would hide in trees so he could read in peace. From a young age he had an interest in philosophy and after graduating from high school he got a scholarship to go to Germany and study the classics in their original language.
My mom is the kindest soul I have encountered on this earth. She is sensitive and loving but like a rose she has protective thorns, in her case it means she may know how to assemble and use an AK47. She will fight for what she believes in in the most compassionate way possible.
If my parents had an Instagram account their bio would read something like:
🇵🇦[Dad] + 🇩🇪[Mom] ✈️ 🇳🇮 [Revolution] ✈️ 🇨🇷 ✈️ 🇩🇪 ✈️ 🇸🇪 [Be closer to the 👼🏼] ✈️ 🇪🇸 [✌🏽 ❤️ 🐶🐱]
Non-Millenials read: Panama boy meets German girl, they fall in love, have a kid, go to Nicaragua to join the revolution, have another kid (me, me, me!!!), move to Costa Rica, take the kids to Germany, kids leave the nest, some of them have kids of their own (NOT me, me, me!), move to Sweden to be closer to the grand babes, move to Spain, decide to dedicate their lives to peace, love, dogs and cats.
After all these years they still hold hands, they still make each other laugh, they still love each other in a way that makes me believe that maybe, despite my own experiences, love can last. They are amazing.
Travel, moving, adapting, languages and change have all been constants in my life. Steadiness is a challenge. When I was 17 I dropped out of school, I decided to go find my roots and see if the grass was greener down in Panama. In a way it was, in many ways it wasn’t. My formative years were spent in Berlin, machismo was not a thing. When I moved to Panama I saw a whole different culture than what I remembered from my childhood in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. I wanted to get to know my family but the more I did, the more selective I became.
Growing up surrounded by artists and intellectual hippies I felt very confronted by my catholic bloodline. Child abuse during the week, repent on Sundays and God forgives. Marry 5 times because marriage is what you do. Love thy neighbor, but only if they are like you. Don’t cross the line between classes, do not dare fall in love with a subordinate. My words may sound judgmental, they are not meant that way. At least I am not judging the people, the systems however are flawed and require some change. Then there was my cousins, some of who feel more like siblings. My cousin Vicky who showed me her world and opened her eyes and heart to mine. The first time I went to Bocas del Toro and slept in a hammock on the back porch of some guys house for a dollar a night, next to the Rastas giving me dirty looks for smoking cigarettes as they lit up their sacred herbs. I knew right then I was gonna live there some day. It usually takes me about two years to be over a place, to need a change, to keep searching or to go back to what I left in the first place.
When I was 24 I went back to Bocas, I saw a man sitting at the bar, doodling on a napkin. He looked like George Clone in the right light. I wanted to talk to him so I went to the bar, asked if he worked there, he casually said: ‘sort of’. I asked for some beers and he said I could have them if I let him paint a mustache on my face. I did, then I painted one on his. He was magical to me. We went out that night, mustaches above our lips, a hint of love in our eyes. We lived between LA, New Mexico, Berlin, Costa Rica and Panama for years before moving to the States, we got married, had an amazing life. One of those lives that people dream of, that I had dreamt of. We loved each other passionately and then we settled down, things changed. The unfortunate dynamics we had developed over the years could no longer be masked under the festivities of travel and lifestyle. I changed. I changed a lot. We worked hard to revive what we had, we couldn’t. I couldn’t. I still can’t think about it without tearing up, his magnificence disturbs me at times.
So there I was, in LA, no money, no car, a group of friends that I hadn’t known for very long. I got a job at a company I loved, it became my sanctuary, I have such love for that place, for the people under that roof. It gave me the stability I needed to figure out what was next. There was nothing keeping me here, I could go back to Europe and be close to my friends and family, I could go to a completely new country and see what else is out there. But the thought of leaving LA was sad. I realized that for the first time I may have chosen a home, a home base at least, a place where I want to be myself and people celebrate that. A place where you can try things, fail and give up or do it all over again, and people applaud your efforts no matter the outcome. LALA LAND, dreamers and rationals, fake boobs and arm pit hair, hipsters and hippies, mansions and Skid Row tents, Hollywood clubs, mountains and ocean breeze, I love it here, mostly because of the people I’ve met. Everybody is trying to figure it out and we’re ok with that.
So if I hit the road, know that I will be back…