I’ve been back in the states for a full 24+ hours and I feel out of place, again.
The street lanes are not narrow and momentarily empty/ water is considered a free commodity within restaurants and not something I must limit myself to [privileged]/ the heat is too overwhelming/ the air does not sicken me leaving me to cough all day [privileged]/ the southern ‘twang’ is really weird/ a cold brew is delicious, but I still miss the beautifully crafted Cappuccino Chileno/ being told “Have a happy 4th of July” feels so out of place, like it has never been a holiday for me to celebrate/ my ears search for ‘chilenismos’ and ‘weon’ and ‘ctm’ and having all my senses stimulated in Spanish.
These are the first few things that I observe in making me feel out of place. I find it even harder to think and write in English so that I can fully express what I am trying to say. Though I have my returned space away from family, I find it too odd. My mind automatically seeks additional voices–my family, friends, or the mere strangers that greet you randomly–but I find none of that here now. I miss the cordiality and genuineness of Chilenos; of the passionate, humbled, and ever clever individuals I consider “my people.”
I now know the emptiness my soul had before. It was this sense of not belonging here in the United States, or maybe not fully. I always had this dual identity crisis, not knowing what I missing from my Chilean side and now as I am older, I was able to experience what filled that void. Chilenos are “de piel” which literally means “of skin.” That purely just means that everyone is more emotionally expressive, which in my opinion leads you to be more physically expressive–you greet and say goodbye to everyone with a kiss on the cheek; the hugs you receive from people are not these pitiful, lanky hugs; they are wholesome, heartfelt hugs where you feel cared for even if you just met the person; I saw so many couples tenderly caress one another, kiss one another, without a care in the world of who would look at them; one could see the sincerity evoked–it made me remember that this is what I grew up with. That is why with every significant relationship I had [romantic or not], I sought a treatment no one could ever return because they did not grow up with it like I did. Maybe that is why people think my Mom and I are “too close.” It is kind of funny though how in practically every Hollywood movie you see, you have individuals greeted with kisses…
…while in Chile, one of the biggest myths I heard was, “Those gringos sure love their big breakfasts!!” When honestly, most of the people I know do not even eat “big” breakfasts unless it is over the weekend.