Monday, October 13, 2014

It's Time For Me to Talk About Venezuela


"Wait, you're not American? How come you don't have an accent?"

"I went to an American school. I learned both Spanish and English at the same time."

That's an excerpt of a conversation with a stranger 9/10. The fact is, I was born and raised in Venezuela. I love my country. The people there are so warm. When you meet someone, he or she will kiss you on the cheek and give you a big, tight hug. We're very welcoming, too, and love showing people around. 

My grandmother, who is now in Heaven used to tell me, "People from all over the world used to come here. It used to be a beautiful place." 

The Germans colonized Venezuela. Then the Spanish took over. During World War I and II and many others, Europeans fled to South America. Hence, our ancestors are mostly European. I guess that's why we have beautiful women. It's the mixture of different bloods, in my opinion.


When Chavez took over presidency in 1999, things started changing in my school -- a school that had people from all over the world, a school that was fascinating. Venezuela is rich in oil and the result back in the day was: lots of foreigners. People started leaving. I said goodbye to many friends. International students started decreasing and on big, fun "International Day", a day when every country was called and each student had to raise their flag, a day when Americans and Venezuelans fought over who screamed the loudest, Venezuelan flags exceeded. 

My dad, being a doctor, wanted me to study medicine. I wanted to please him. Fortunately, I was smart and decided to go for what I loved -- psychology. My older siblings had the blessed opportunity to study abroad, but I, being a "girl", had to stay in Venezuela and say goodbye to all my friends who went off to study overseas. 

Venezuela was unsafe, but not as unsafe as it is today. A year after I graduated, a classmate was kidnapped. Kidnaps were common though. So was crime. Luckily, my friend was released months later, although traumatized and barely goes home to visit. 

I fell in love while at uni and in my rebellious state, left Venezuela and married my then love of my life. Things didn't work out as planned, so I returned to finish school, and I did. But things are rough now and I have no idea where life will take me.


I've been in the US for a few months giving my little sister company as she's attending school in Florida, but I'm heading home soon and "plan" my next step, wherever that is.

There are shortages in Venezuela. Many. Milk, apples, diapers, deodorant, shampoo, cotton rounds, detergents, makeup. Anything you can think of.

Water is rationed. Some areas get water for half an hour twice a day. Others don't get any for days. The power will unexpectedly go out as well. Carrying a flashlight with you is a must.

Also, the government controls how much money Venezuelans can spend overseas. For instance, if you come to Florida, you get $700 in your credit card annually. That is it. If you want more dollars, you have to purchase them through the black market. 

As I reminisce about my life, I am filled with nostalgia and fear knowing things are different now. That even though I am an adult, I will most likely be another Venezuelan living overseas. That I will have to say goodbye to my parents and worry about their safety. I myself was mugged in 2011 with a gun to my head and another pointed at my stomach. I survived, but many Venezuelans don't. 

Venezuela needs help. I know there is little you can do, but at least you can educate yourself. That is what I try to do with the people I meet -- I educate them about my country. Yes, I am biased. I am from the opposition, clearly because I want what's best for my country. 

Hopefully this explains today's Instagram post where I wrote:

"Makeupwise I was inspired by @jeanfrancoiscd, a talented artist I found last night. But I was also inspired all week by @adrianaroslin, a Spanish photographer who took over Venezuelan company @oh_nena during one week where she would post several pictures throughout the day sharing her story. With that said: I do makeup because I go in a trance. I forget about everything: the long, painful crisis back home in Venezuela, the fact that I'm going back soon and I'm afraid of so, the fact that I have no idea what I'm going to do in life, the fact that I miss my friends and family spread out all over the world, the fact that I feel lonely most days. I place colors on my eyes and blend others on my face because I am inspired, not because I want to cover myself. I am completely comfortable wearing no makeup. I do makeup because it is my way of expressing myself, releasing and creating. Some people run, others go on a smoke break, some drink, all to forget. I grab brushes and let my hands flow."

So count your blessings. Please, count them. Walk outside and enjoy the safety. Feel the freshness and the adrenaline freedom has the capacity to produce as you are able to say anything you want without being punished. 

5 comments:

  1. Hola Patricia! Qué lamentable y triste es tener que explicar la situación de Venezuela, y cómo esta afecta nuestra vida en general. También tengo un blog (enmizona.net), y aunque siempre dije que nunca hablaría de política, pues he tenido que escribir al respecto, uno no se puede hacer la vista gorda... es nuestra realidad como venezolanos, y a veces hace falta hablar de ello. Conocí tu blog por un post en el que Anne (Lifestyle-Oasis) te mencionó y me encanta! Saludos de una venezolana en Perú. Kary.

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  2. It was a lovely post to read... But seriously I couldn't take my eye off of your make up! Its stunning!
    xoMadiha

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