Mom, can we go back to Caracas?

Artist's depiction of our life back in Caracas
Artist's depiction of our life back in Caracas
Artist’s depiction of our life back in Caracas

“You know, I want to go back to Caracas now.”

It caught me off guard to hear my five year old daughter say this. It’s been almost a year since we came out to live in self-imposed economic exile. But she said it like, you know, our life here is cool and everything, but I want to go back home. I wasn’t really prepared for it.

“We can’t right now” I stamered.

She resumed her playing/fighting activities with her brother.

It began in February. Every single day, one of the kids would ask.

“Mom, can we go back home?”

Every time I had to deflect.

“Not right now; Maybe tomorrow; It’s already dark out,  no planes fly at this hour; But we are living here now; We will go in August, for your school vacation; Oh look! A bird!”

Sometimes they would stuff their teddy bear, a book and a pair of socks in their school bags and declare themselves ready to return to their former home. I would again, gently explain that we could not possibly leave now, Dad was at work, where we to leave him behind?, absolutely not, we better wait for him. Oh Look, another bird!

Other days they would just come up to me annoyed and whine:

“Moooooooom, when are we going back?

And I would, with all the mastery and trickery in the world, offer them chocolate, talk about “My little Pony” and make dumb fart jokes to make them forget what they asked in the first place.

We haven’t lived in Venezuela for about 9 months now. But this January we went back to finish up some paperwork and bring more stuff that had been left behind. We stayed a month or so.

But then it was time to fly back out.  As the dreaded departure date neared, we said our goodbyes a second time. My father in law took us down to the airport. This time, he, my Nana and my mom, stayed to watch us go through immigration control. My son, held on tight to his grandpa’s hand, urging him to come with us. This man, almost 60 years old, big and burly, seemed very old that day to me. He looked so small and grey.

I explained, the best way I could, to my little 3 year old boy, that Grandpa couldn’t come. I broke their embrace and carried my weeping son in one arm, while tugging my little girl with the other.

Heart broken doesn’t even began to explain it.

And the question kept coming. “Mom, when do we get to go home?”

And finally, one day, I fucked up. My daughter was badgering me for the umpteenth time, and I answered:

“We can’t go back to Caracas or Venezuela right now, it’s too dangerous, it’s safer here, so we are going to stay here.”

Phew! She seemed to accept it, and I think she can understand this.

Suddenly, my daughter’s face began contorting in an weird way and she screamed, with tears in her eyes:


Dammit, Dammit, Dammit! What do I do, what do I say?

Crisis control CRISIS CONTROL

“Don’t worry” I said “Ana is in San Cristobal!”

“But she will go back to Caracas, and it’s dangerous! You said so” She answered, big fat tears rolling down her cheeks.

“Dont worry, Ana knows how to take care of herself, but you and your brother are little, that’s why you couldn’t stay” I blurted out half-truths.

She calmed down a bit, thinking things over. It sounded logical enough. and she relaxed.

As the time goes by, the Return to Caracas issue is fading.

Still, every week or so I get:

“Can we go back to Caracas?”

“Can we go visit Ana?”

“Can we go visit Sophia and Ma. Alejandra?”

“Can we go see Grandpa?”

But now, my daughter answers herself right after:

“No right?, Because it’s still dangerous.”

And it keeps hurting each and every time.

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  1. aww…I know it’s hard.

    But there is no magical remedy other than time.Friends to play with help a bit but only time can really heal it.Maybe if you tell them that in future they will have 2 homes instead of just one….so that they feel they are adding and not subtracting.The skype connections, the visits…keep it all alive.It’s not gone.

  2. This really struck a nerve.

    Am just about to leave Caracas and my wife with all her family here is having a hard time of it just accepting that we need to go. Thank God we don’t have any children as I don’t know how I could ever explain things to them. What has finally made my wife accept the need to go has been two major things in the last few months;

    1) a robbery of me by 2 motorizados at gun point on Francisco Miranda by Lido Center at 8:30am on a Tuesday morning and having Guardia del Pubelo watch and do nothing but laugh! and,

    2) two of the older vigilantes in our building coming to us and begging for food because they can only afford one meal a day and they are always hungry. These people are responsible for our security but the other propetarios including connected bolichicos and high Chavists could care less about them.

    • “my wife with all her family here is having a hard time of it just accepting that we need to go”

      dude, all due respect: how can anybody still doubt whether leaving Vzla is a better choice than staying put to see what happens?

      • Dude, I’m kinda missing your point here.
        I’m not sure if you’re trying to be sarcastic, or what?
        Are you suggesting Venezuelans should stay put to see what happens?

        • no sarcasm on my behalf: I very openly question why anyone in their right mind would think that staying in Venezuela is a better idea than leaving.

          sure, you might feel heroic by staying “para luchar”, or personal circumstances might not allow you to consider the option at a given moment, but we’re talking about a decision between living in (1) a very unsafe place, with high inflation, growing scarcity, limited personal freedoms, almost anarchically powerful State forces and overall pith-black economic prospects, vs (2) anywhere else in the world, say Greenland.

          • Staying or leaving is a very personal decision based on many different variables and personal situations. Judging is the last thing anyone should be doing.

          • Moder, what you say makes perfect sense… someone who doesn’t live there! I have to answer this question every day to my family and friends in the United States. It is an emotional conflict that cannot be put into words that those outside the country could possibly understand. We all KNOW that we would be better off somewhere else, where leaving your house to buy groceries isn’t a suicide mission. But our hearts break at the thought of actually going through with it. We all hold out the very faint hope that at any moment the nightmare will end, and things will return to some semblance of normal (whatever that is). It is even harder for me to explain, because I am American by birth, and Venezuela is my adopted country. It has given me an incredible life, and taught me many things about myself. I left last week, amid many smiles and many tears. I am happy to be back where I am safe, and I can go to the grocery store and buy whatever I want. But I am incredibly sad to leave my beautiful adopted country behind and beyond worried about all my loved ones that are still there. I pray that there will be a solution soon.

          • Susan,

            Very well said…There are as many variables as there are people and it is very hard to judge.I do think however there are large differences in people’s abilities to adapt to change.

            Some people are very sentimental( like myself)and for us the change was heart wrenching.For others with a more purely practical mind…less so.

            Another very important factor we rarely discuss is the effect that living in Venezuela has on the mind after so many years,The adaption the body makes to stress is one example.Our bodies adapt to stress to such a point that without it many of us feel empty.

          • Nothing heroic about staying. Leaving family, friends, big sunday tables, the city itself, in spite of all it´s problems. Everything we (I) like here that I find each time I turn a corner. Looking at the mountain six or seven times a day.
            I´m not saying that won´t don´t do what I might have to do, like it or not, but if it´s easy for you, well, i´m not sure I can congratulate you. I still have great doubts.

  3. It is what it is… Is totally understandable that everyone in the family have strong feeling about belonging to a country, their friends, their routines but although its hard and heartbreaking is the only way to keep you alive. When they grow up, they will understand and maybe won’t recall those tough moments at the beginning. I think its important also to keep them connected via skype or other ways that let them see their friends and keep the friendship alive. Another tip could be find out who else is close to you, specially immigrants from other countries whose childs have ages similar to yours and share the ways they cope with that feeling. You took the right decision.

  4. This made me cry, too. It is so heartbreaking to hear how my in-laws in Venezuela have to deal with the current conditions. I want them all to come up here, but they are elderly and will not leave. I want to make things better for them but I just don’t know what I can do…..

  5. It’s not that hard. I’m an expatriate right now. My nostalgia is with my family, but not with my city. Caracas is hell once looked upon from outside, and you never want to go back to that.

    • Bernie,
      If you don’t mind me asking, where did you move such that it wasn’t hard to do? The reason I ask is that we have many family members who would love to move to the US but it seems difficult to stay (legally at least) permanently.

    • I couldn’t agree more, it’s not even a matter of government or people from this or that side, it is what it is and when you have children to worry about I think there’s no doubt about leaving or stayin’. Imagine your kids as teenagers now, going out with friends comin’ home late at night, sounds pretty lame when you leave overseas, but leaving in Caracas most parents can’t really get good sleep waiting. That’s what it is now, what really strikes our nerves is explaining it to the little ones, explaining that we lost that place, we lost it to the worst kind of people our country’s ever had, explain them what an outcast is..

      • Agree Soshi. It doesn’t matter who’s ruling the country or who’s against it. What affect us directly is the malandro culture, the fear of losing your life for something as worthless as a mobile phone, the uncertainty about the future. Now I live in Barcelona. I believe that if you’re afraid of enjoying where you live, you have no business there. Get out. That’s not a life worth living.

  6. Maybe being homesick in children is tied to whether they are very young or older , When living abroad I and my siblings felt very much at home and didnt feel that much nostalgia for going back . Our relatives would visit frequently so we could enjoy their company several times a year . In fact back then Venezuela had less opportunities for children to have fun than was the case abroad so traveling back meant having to sacrifice some fun things we had become accostumed to .School work was much less demanding and the teachers were smiling and pleasant .!! I was specially fond of my time at the well stocked school library where I could pick up any book I wanted to read, back home there was no such thing as a school library for children.

    Also personally I liked the children I had as friends abroad better than my average schoolmates in Venezuela who were little machitos , bent on acts of bullying and petty cruelties to show off how macho they were .!! My young friends abroad were happy with just being children !!

    In our family the person most homesick of all was our father , who even if we led a very comfortable life abroad was always pining to return to Venezuela and was always busy making us study Venezuelan history and geography so we would never lose our sense of identification with our homeland . He was constantly pestering his bosses to allow him to return home until finally after years of effort he finally made it back. As I remember it we werent all that happy about it .

  7. The smiley faces in your kid’s drawing are something you should treasure. You should also tell them the truth up front – they can deal with it. Point out all the great things about their new place. I know it may not seem like it, but they’ll be fine, they’re strong. Beautiful, Audrey.

  8. Thanks for sharing this story. I could not relate more, as my wife and kids just went back to Venezuela to spend time creating roots for our 4 year old and new born boys.

    Bear in mind that migrating is not what is used to be 50 years ago, with instant communication and ‘cheap’ flying.

    My hope is that we may some day reap the upside of having all these people that consider themselves Venezuelans spread around the world.

  9. Heartbreaking… This kind of stories are staring to get too familiar, too frequent, too sad. I’m halfway there. Feeling like a runaway, hoping to come back, knowing it’s going to be very difficult ’cause it’s just “too dangerous”… and I haven’t even bought the plane ticket yet!
    “Touché”, Audrey… 🙁

  10. Yeah, all too familiar.
    After three years without visiting during summer and more than ten living away from Caracas my children would love to go and visit. They love the family, the food, the beaches. They also know what they don’t love about it.
    Giving time, their urge became a distant wish, and Caracas became that nostalgic place in their souls they can visit online.

  11. Sooo glad i dont have children yet and my immigration process is not being painful at all… its really hard as an adult to miss the chaos and the mess from our country.. not the same for the little ones!

  12. Just think about how lucky you are you got to leave.
    I also bet you didn’t have to bust your back in order to leave.
    So just chill.

  13. So much more heartfelt and less contrived than so much of what’s been written here by Toro and Nagel over the years. Good writing too!

  14. My girls were born in the U.S. We visited over the years until about 5 years ago when we decided the risks outweighed the pleasure of continued ties to family and friends.

    I get the same question from my 9 and 14 years old daughters every few months, and specially this time before vacations start. A continuing tragedy.

    Malditos sean los cinicos que crearon este desastre!

  15. I loved the sun in the pic!!! Definetelly a January afternoon in sunny and temperate Caracas….

    I also second the hope this political diaspora will bring something good after a while!!!

  16. Very saddening to read.

    As a Venezuelan that got to the states at a very early age (6 years old) back in 2000, I can relate to your kids. I know at the time things were much different, better even, than they are now, but I couldn’t go back “home” either. Over time the states became home, and now Venezuela in my mind is encased as an ideal, with no real problems or bad memories about it.

    Hopefully in time I’ll be able to go back and explore the world my family is from. For now, I wait.

  17. You nail it again Audrey. I went through the same process with my 5 year old. And made the same mistake. Now we are back for a short period and she is so totally stressed out about being here I cannot begin to explain every single contradiction.

  18. Audrey, thank you for sharing the story. I imagine that you were not looking for advise or commiseration, you wanted to share something that hurts you and creates anxiety in your kids: the difficulty of going back home. It’s ironic that today I also read Jennifer’s story, a young and poor US woman that lives in Caracas and doesn’t want to go back to the States. I read your story twice, trying to get meaning out of it. I know it is an important story, but as it happens to me when I watch Tarkovski’s movies or read Dostoevsky’s novels. the meaning I get eludes description. Children’s imagination is richer than we imagine it is. Behind their nostalgia for Caracas lies a very deep feeling of something missing. I wish I could say something helpful to you, but all I can say is thanks for sharing the story.

  19. Audrey, I trust and can only hope that it will get better. We are leaving on the 25th and I am dreading my son’s goodbyes.

  20. We are also dealing similarly with our five year old daughter. It has not been easy. Once when reminiscing about her former classmates in Maracay she realised she was forgetting their names, and then proceeded to slowly recite the names of each and everyone, including the teachers and other staff. Her questions about returning were met with we do not know, some time later, etc. Eventually we told her we had to leave because “bad things were happening in Venezuela”. We mentioned her grandparents knew how to take care of themselves. A couple of weeks ago, after talking with her Grandparents, she had a breakdown. Pero Venezuela es tan rico! she would cry out loud. We had impromptu group therapy and things passed. She would ask if we saw these “bad things”. She looks forward to visits from Grandparents, and she has found new mates at school. It is a process.

  21. My five-year-old was born in the UK. One day she wanted to go and play with her friend, but we told her she couldn’t because she was in her grandparents house. She paused for a moment and then told me: “I wish I had grandparents”. I died a little that day.

  22. Children aren’t fans of half truths or political correctness. They speak their hearts and minds out, and say what we all think deep down (even if we have lived for a long time elsewhere).

    It’s freaking hard thinking about and missing our thousands Anas back home.

    Thanks Audrey. This was really, really moving.

  23. They just miss the people they love. Find a way to move all those people out of Caracas and closer to your lovely children and the complains will cease. And I’m kind of sad for the grandpa too.

    “My son, held on tight to his grandpa’s hand, urging him to come with us. This man, almost 60 years old, big and burly, seemed very old that day to me. He looked so small and grey.I explained, the best way I could, to my little 3 year old boy, that Grandpa couldn’t come. I broke their embrace and carried my weeping son in one arm, while tugging my little girl with the other.”

    This is so sad that it reminded of those WW2 movies with refugee Jewish families. The image of that fragile old man alone in Caracas’ airport painted my day a little bit greyer, I’m sure you can do something about him.

    • Yes me too, for many years it was the reverse, me hoping around the planet, and the heartfelt goodbyes, crying all the way to the different airports, clinging to those little hands. Horrid!
      They say the happiest place on earth are the welcome halls of the airports. So I guess the saddest would be the contrary. I hope that grandfather gets to spend time with his gkids…

    • Yes Marc, I also thought about the grandpa. Grandparents are left behind, considered as a “collateral damage” of this difficult decisión. And for most of them, it is not so easy to travel once or twice a year to keep the bond. I don’t think skype or facetime does it.

  24. Awwww ????? I left some 18 months ago. And I confess it has been really hard for me to cut my own umbilical cord. In spite of leaving my homeland for love, to get married ????…so luckily my northern irish kind, wonderful gentle knight in shining armour and I fell in love at the right time. But, in spite of my daughters and grandchildren being safely disseminated around the planet and me becoming the newfangled “traveling grandma” for some years, I had stubbornly refused to leave, so it was only me and my cats and my 2 best friends…my mountain view, my queso blanco, frutas deliciosas, comidita rica. Idas al Trasnocho, a los Secaderos, a los Galpones. Chacao… Until I could go no more and like many was stuck in my ghetto.
    Not a day goes by that I don’t miss my home, my beloved Avila, but as I read you and the comments, and while I’m writing this I realize that what I’m really missing, my saudade is for the Venezuela I was born and grew in, at the foot of the mountain, my very own playground. The one I was first married and had my three daughters, in. I am missing, in my case, the memory of a very happy childhood and coming of age and being a young mother in a very different country.
    But for your kids it’s still home and only time and new experiences will fill their lives anew.

  25. I dunno, maybe I am bitter, but… Please stop the whining. I’m making my best effort to be in your place, and to have my own children longing for Caracas, but away from secuestros express et alia. Today, I’d give all I have for a job abroad. I dream of the day my kids miss Caracas. So. Please. Stop. Whining. What you have there is what many others dream about.

    • You have to analyze the events from each particular situation. And not judge. You should understand that leaving your homeland intrinsically has nostalgia, grief and frustration tied to it. Even if you can. So who’s bitter?

  26. All my kids were born overseas, they have never lived in Caracas and STILL, they say that they are from Caracas and want to live there. So, my friend, get used to it. It will not stop! Its hard, its sad, but if you do not have direct family where you live (I dont), then it will never stop.

    • Only way these kids, born overseas, were that proud of Caracas is because you force fed them with Caracas and overstimulate them with venezuela’s “culture”.

      Mine will be born overseas too and will know nothing about this dumpster of a country, at least not from me. Not that i want them to beg me to vacation here only to get killed in a robbery.

    • Jau, That’s not true for most kids.Most kids once they have good friends WHERE THEY LIVE will hardly want to go back.

      • Lets explain a little better the situation: my kids are small (<6 years old), their grandparents and most of their cousins live in Vzla and they have a great time everytime they go to Caracas and Vzla in general. They go on vacation, they go places like la pica, la sabana, etc which are AWESOME, they go with their family, which is an experience that they rarely have and its AWESOME. So yes, they want to move to Venezuela and they want to be from there. They do not know that things are completely different to their vacations. They do have friends where we live, and we have a good life. Do not worry about them or my family.

        Meanwhile, James, I am proud to be Venezuelan, I was born and raised in Caracas and I have no problem whatsoever about beign from there. Chavez and his cronies are what they are and I moved away from the country because I felt like an alien there, as early as 2004.

        Now, could you please explain to me what is overstimulating them with Venezuelan "culture"? dumpster of a country? You seem very tense my friend, just go to maiquetia and fly out of there asap before you go nuts.

        • Jua,

          Small children are different- true.Your situation reminds me of mine in reverse.My kids used to visit the US on vacation and think it was awesome.When they moved here, it was all work and no play.I guess in the end we have to accept bit of longing and suffering in our lives.Makes us richer.

  27. My daughter left Venezuela at 8yrs old, and my son was 13. They got the story straight from the start. I really felt for my older child, changing country home as a teenager is pretty hard. He was my “marcha” companion, and matured far to fast for his age. He would sit and try to reason with his sister, trying hard to be a grown up. His only complaint was how immature his fellow classmates were, they understood none about history and politics, he complained. My daughter, on the other hand, had me going to the principal’s office about 4 times during that first year. She was acting out and badly. Her main concern was that she didn’t want to forget about her country and couldn’t stand people who just wouldn’t care about theirs, and though she understood and accepted every other grownup argument posed to her, it was beyond her how she felt.
    Just towards school year end, she had a homework to carry out about the flag; she came to me and softly asked: “Mom, don’t we have a flag anymore?” Totally off guard, I had to really gather my bearings not to start crying, so I simply stated: “Honey, our flag will always be our flag; but, while we are here, the nice people of this country will loan theirs to us, for us to respect and cherish, as we would our own” I honestly, to this day, weep upon recall and still don’t know how I came up with that answer. I share it here, for those who may need to come up with a short order reply as I did, to comfort and reassure their own kids.
    A few years have gone by since then, and my daughter is a healthy and happy teenager who describes herself in terms of belonging to both countries, both cultures, one person.

  28. that was enough to make any parent tear up. it may hurt, but you know that you’re doing the right thing for them.

    i wish you and your family well and hope that your kids will get your wish and return to a peaceful, prosperous and, above all, free venezuela.

  29. They’ll get over it, and so will you. We all do. Well, most of us do. We emigrated in the late ’80s for 3 years, at the end of which my husband couldn’t bear it any longer. Just as my preteen boys had made a few friends, back to Caracas. I vowed upon our return that, my kids would go back to college abroad and not return, even for a visit if I could help it. 25 years later, I’m glad I took that decision. They too are happy and grateful that I had the foresight to get them to leave then. Today, we are all in the US.
    I have seen this coming for a long, long time. This is not about politics only, this is about a culture that glorifies a way of life that goes against my values as a human being, a citizen, a parent… sadly, even with a different government in place, it will take leadership and a culture of honor and fairness, of social justice and higher values to change the mindset of the Venezuelans. It will be an uphill battle, the results of which I will probably not live long enough to see.

    • In spite of me being in the midst of my transition process, still nostalgic for the upbringing and life I had up to 16BC I totally agree with you. The values are not my values or priorities anymore, I still miss terribly our geographical beauty, the sense of humor, and many other things that are fading.Still adapting to the gringo mindset, but on my way….

  30. We left Caracas 8 years ago with our little toddler. Your history seems to be quite familiar to us about the question “when we come back?” Let me tell you that time, patience and love will heal their hearts. Kids at that age are still learning about “the time concept” as they live only “the present”. I know it won’t be the same experience but technology nowadays can help your kids to keep in touch with their significant ones and not to forget their faces. Our daughter (now with 10 years old) still miss her family but webcam had help us a lot. The other thing to consider is to help them to keep their Spanish language as much as you can just in the case that your parents or in-laws don’t speak English at all. I hope this helps

  31. For those who cannot understand how anyone could want to stay in or return to present-day Venezuela:

    A friend recently played for me some readings from the works of Christopher Hitchens. One item was a review of the diaries of Victor Klemperer (a cousin of the conductor and actor), He was a Jew who had converted to Christianity and married a gentile, a WW I veteran, and a university professor.

    He was also utterly committed to his German nationality, even though the Nazis stripped him of almost everything – his home, his professorship, even his pet cat. And he was determined never to leave Germany, He stayed put (and survived when the bombing of Dresden disrupted the Nazi deportation of the last Jews).

    That is how strong loyalty to one’s country can be – strong enough to survive even systematic brutal persecution. With all the dangers and hardships brought on by chavismo, life in Venezuela is not as bad as that.

  32. I just hope that God have mercy on the lives and souls of the people that have made us be in this situation, I have been 14 years out of my home, away from my family, I have, no strong feelings of hate towards them, but down deep they know the pain and suffering they have inflicted in a large portion of the population. I might forgive, but O will not forget, and they know it, that is why they are still doing it……

  33. I do not understand why you lie to the child, and do not explain from the very beginning your reasons to leave Caracas.
    I will suggest you to take your kids out to parks and help them to make new friends, no child is so stubborn about particulars friends for such a long period of time so I guess you spend long hours talking about Caracas, and how Visas is limited, so I am sure somebody else might use it instead of whimpering the whole day…

    • I’m going to assume that you don’t have small children, so you don’t understand how to “explain” things to them. Yes, you can say you are leaving, and explain the why and give many them reasons, but they won’t necessarily understand what you are saying or if they do, that doesn’t mean won’t be sad or conflicted about it. Their experience in Venezuela was far different from my the experience as a worried adult. Also, they will remember ever so often that the country where their family and friends are is quite dangerous and worry.

      • I think the truth is the right strategy, your kids need to understand that Caracas is no longer “home”. But don’t worry soon they’ll forget about it and they will grow to be americans.

          • I am Canadian. I would never want to be called American even if we do share a continent with them. I am definitely not American and I treat it as an insult when I am called one! For the record, my mother was a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) because a direct relative was a signatory of the Declaration of Independence and attended the Philadelphia convention that lead to its drafting. She was born in Canada. She always refused to take out US citizenship. Only when George W. Bush was elected president in 2000 did she toy with the idea of taking out her US citizenship, so that she could vote against him in 2004, alas, she died before she had the opportunity.

          • Canadian, I respect your position. Try to understand ours: we do NOT think we are citizens of the US when we say we are American.

            As you said: America is a (double) continent. The first parts of America that were called America were in South America. The first lands that Vespucci saw were Venezuela’s coast. In our blood – most of us – there is native American blood. Some of my European ancestors – and that is the case for most Venezuelans, actually – arrived in the American continent (in Venezuela) before the Mayflower sailed from Europe to North America.

            You associate the word “America” above all with the USA. I – and many others – do not.

          • Everybody knows that Venezuelans are Americans in the ultimate sense so it does not need to be repeated.However Venezuelans do no call themselves Americans but Americans do.Do I have to repeat that?

          • Sorry, Firepigette, but a lot of Venezuelans do call themselves Americans. The same goes for most other Spanish Americans. The ones who do not do that are Mexicans, who are just right next to the US and fear to be confused or something, and a lot of Latin Americans who have lived for a long time in the US and who are already losing their command of the Spanish language and speak mostly Spanglish or English.
            Do we have to repeat that to you?

          • I have to stress all the time that I’m American as well as Venezuelan; Can you imagine a German calling him/herself European as opposed to being German, ignoring the rest of the EU countries?
            Well, that is exactly what US people do when they call themselves Americans. I can’t believe I’m explaining this again….

          • What a way to miss the point. It doesn’t matter what we consider is the correct use of the term, the reality is that those children will grow up to call themselves Americans, and they won’t be talking about being Venezuelans. But that wasn’t the point either; the point was that Mrs. Dalonso is whining about a non-issue. When I read what she wrote I couldn’t help to think about those European immigrants that had to leave their countries because of war or the Cubans that took a raft to shark-infested waters, I wonder what would they answer they children if they were to come with the same question. I guess we Venezuelans are entitled by the providence to meaningless drama.

            Personally I couldn’t care less about arepas, chachitos, and guacamayas, as long as my kids can get a good education and have a long productive life without having to worry about getting kidnapped and killed by a gang of government-sponsored criminals, or spent many hours a day driving or looking for toilet paper. When my Venezuelan friends ask me for advice, I always tell them to stop complaining and enjoy the ride, forget about cachitos and arepas, if they want cheap un-healthy that taste like heaven they just have to find a BBQ joint in the middle of the street.

          • I see your point.
            I agree if you emigrate, you need to build links to the country you are staying in – always -. Still,
            I think that
            1) Venezuelan traditional cuisine is not less healthy than, say, British or US American cuisine (another matter is what people are eating now)
            2) parents who speak a world language like Spanish and come from a Spanish American culture should by all means teach their children Spanish and let them develop their command of Spanish. It is an asset.
            I find amazing how many people in the US think that learning two languages might be a hindrance to integration or people won’t have enough neurons to learn what they should learn.
            I don’t know of Spanish cases but I do know quite a couple of Russian friends who never talked in Russian to their kids so that they would become “US citizens” and have no trouble learning English.

      • but Alonso Credes has a point: “suggest you to take your kids out to parks and help them to make new friends” .
        Making new friends in a foreign land is not always cut and dry for adults. But for children, it’s a lot easier, if not vital.

      • I understand.

        Try at best to get some little hobby where parents and children are present or the like.

        And still, by all means try to get children books in Spanish and get them to read them and let your children listen to Spanish of different origins. Don’t let them lose the language.

  34. Yo en cambio sigo adherida a Caracas. El Ávila, no se cómo, se las arregla para saludarme cada vez en una nueva manera. Las Guacharacas y las Guacamayas me hacen felíz. Lo que estamos viviendo y sufriendo, lo “desahogué” esta mañana con seis amiga a las que amo. Mi familia está en Oklahoma, padres y hermana. Yo ahora rezó mucho por mi querida Venezuela. Siento muy en el fondo que cada uno de nosotros recibe la guitarra de nuestro Señor y hemos de aprender para convertir, directa o indirectamente, en el país que Venezuela merece ser.
    Un abrazo caluroso y apretao, desde la tierra de las Arepitas, los tequeños y las cacharpas con queso telita. Poco a poco se anda lejos!

  35. Kepler,

    Sorry Venezuelans do not call themselves Americans on the National level.Venezuelans are simply Venezuelans on a National level, whereas US Americans are Americans on a National level.

    The fact that you would care so much about what another people call themselves….well let’s just say it odd to say the least,Nobody is stopping you from calling yourself American, if that is what you wish,

    • Of course we don’t call ourselves “Americans on a national level”. Greeks and French are not calling themselves “European on a national level”. But then Germans are not calling themselves European on a national level. They came up with an original name for their country. They are not telling the rest of Europeans that they are “Southern Europeans”, “Latin Europeans”, “North Europeans” but that Germany is Europe. They do not have embassies in Rome or Paris with labels indicated that it is the “European Embassy”, unlike the US in Caracas. Neither do the French or even the Greeks.

      • Kepler,

        What Europeans do or do not do is not a standard for anyone.

        Everybody has a right to call themselves whatever they wish.

        And by the way,many Europeans now are calling themselves Europeans, instead of identifying their country, even though it does not include many European countries.

        Everyday I see people saying something like”: Here in Europe we do such and such” and I have no clue about which European country they are referring to…but so what?? Not a problem.

        The name of the US IS USA, and for short we say Americans….without the slightest bad intention.Just as Europeans do when they refer to themselves as Europeans.

        • You don’t get it, although you pretend you do. Europeans call themselves both, just like we Latin Americans. They know they live in a continent (Europe) and a country (Germany, Greece, etc), like we know we live in a continent and a country (Mexico, Venezuela, etc). Europeans who call themselves Europeans and Asians who call themselves Asians and Americans who don’t see their country as the centre of the world know that Europe, Asia and America are continents.

  36. I can only imagine (an barely remember) what it was like to my family when they came to Venezuela fleeing early 60s Cuba. There where almost no phones, and of course no email, Skype, or Facebook. Barely paper letters that arrived weeks or even months after they were sent, and not knowing when (or if) they were going to see the relatives left behind. Damn communism.

  37. 🙁 it’s sad to think such a wonderful country has fallen into the hands of fascists. I was relieved to hear Chavez had passed but it appears his successor is just as dangerous. I don’t understand why the people of Venezuela have allowed themselves to fall for a dictator and communism. I’m sorry this is tearing your family apart but I am glad you and your children are safe. Buena Suerte

  38. Oh. I almost feel big fat tear drops for the little ones. This one does win the heartbreaking story of the year for me because it resonates to me albeit go a different way. My son has similar questions. I could cry.:'(

  39. Hi, I am Danyealah and I am a young writer/poet/blogger. I am currently a college student in Miami, Florida. I have many Venezuelan friends and reading your post makes me think of my friends living in the states whose families are still in Venezuela and how much my friends miss them. Thank you for writing this. 🙂

  40. I have a friend in Caracas, I talked to him just today. We met two years ago and we were making plans of how I would visit him in Venezuela. Today we talked about the possible countries he and his family could migrate to… Your post brought tears to me eyes. I hope you will be able to go back home – safe home – soon. Best wishes from Poland!

  41. oh my…what a story…I can honestly relate to, Im an expatriate living in New Zealand, sometimes I myself dont know where home actually is, but having your kid saying she is ready to go home must have hit you pretty bad hey. One advice if I may, never lie to her, sit her down and explain why you left and why you now live elsewhere, she will thank u for it one day..if you hide , she will certainly blame you for not telling her. 😉 cheers!

  42. Oh my. What a great mom you are. I’m sorry your kids are going through this. It’s so hard to find the right time and words to talk to them about these choices. Just shows us how crazy and illogical sociopolitical situations can be. Hang in there. I’m married to a German and I’ve heard the stories of his country pre and post WW2 from relatives. Hopefully it will get better for your children and you. Best, Renee


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