It finally happened. After months of wondering and days both long and short, questioning whether it would happen, it finally has. I feel that I’ve finally found just where my piece fits into the puzzle that is the Fernandez-Rodriguez family. In reality, it was not through any process I intentionally put myself through, but, like the reality that is the mystery of us, it just sort of happened. You know how they say that you just have to knock and new doors will open for you? Well it also turns out that you can just straight up get dropkicked right through that door and crash land into the world on the other side.
I was standing on the cliff of safety where I knew the ropes of familiarity would never allow me to fall lower than the vast field of cotton white clouds that lurked below. I knew some had said that below the ominous sheet lay the splendors of a whole new world where a net of new experiences waited for me every single day, hoping, praying that I would jump from above the clouds and allow their net to catch me and introduce me to their world.
Yet I was more conscious of the few who also warned of the dangers that lay below the safety of sight. The reality that failure to control my trajectory would result in me lost, in translation and direction, and end only in difficulty and struggle. Somehow, the few fears always seemed to creep closer to the ear, whispering louder than the angels of adventure and I could never seem to jump without my ropes and would always find myself within reach of the clouds only to reel myself up and retreat to the safety.
This probably would have continued for the foreseeable future, however, tired of being ignored, that same pesky angel of adventure, with the help of the Fernandez-Rodriguez family, decided to just give me a little push off the edge before I could put on my ropes and left me to fall to into the ominous unknown. You may be wondering what this looks like. Well, allow me to walk you through the world that is my life.
After a memorial service for a family member, I hopped into the sturdy beast of a truck that my host dad maneuvers around town, expecting to get some good dinner. However, we stopped at some building where a family member was waiting outside. Assuming we were just saying hi, I sat patiently, anticipating food in my belly, only to have my visions of grandeur popped by my host dad saying “Ya, ciao Munya.”
Before I knew it, I was standing outside a large room where there was a Godfather-like assembly of 26 family member whom I had never met (I’ve never actually seen the Godfather but I assume that is what it would be like). Realising that I had literally been pushed into the unknown, I entered the room and felt the immediate feeling of terror as all 52 eyes in the room turned towards me, causing my 20/20 vision to look a lot more like 1738. I stood there, frozen with fear as the multiple beams of analysis scanned me wondering what to do when my host uncle came and introduced me to the family. Because of my limited Spanish, I failed to understand why they all laughed midway through my introduction, but I took it like a champ and just laughed with them as I was ushered to my seat. However, all initial fears disappeared as I regained my composure and realised that I could actually understand and converse with all at the table. I was able to share similarities between our cultures and learn more about they while they welcomed me into the family.
After a short dinner of tamale and café, I found myself spending some good quality time with my host dad (who re-appeared at the end) and grandmother as we drove home. Eventually, the crowd turned into just me and my host dad and I finally was able to have a full bonding moment with him. Amongst all the “guy talk” and stories of his youth, I also got to know him on a much more personal level. We spoke about how he loves driving because of the fact that it is his only real way to see the world anymore. He no longer is capable of walking and, thanks to a brilliant hands-only mechanism, is able to drive all around without a problem and experience the world.
This was indeed the initial (drop)kick that started the weekend of free-falling into the unknown. Basically, the events of a Friday night that saw me take not just steps, but leaps and bounds towards getting closer to my host family.
Till then, 再见 (zai jian – Goodbye in Chinese and it kinda rhymes…kinda)