Twitter / StephAntoinette

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Today is Thanksgiving Day.

As with other days, the Holidays especially bring some sort of emotion. Of course everyone out there hopes you are happy and joyful but some of us have a different set of feelings. Sitting here, hours before our meal, I'm trying to get myself together. The reason I say this is because the holidays bring a sort of melancholy for me. A feeling of sadness, of memories that only exist in the back of my mind.

On days like this when families come together I think of my family. Of how we have lost so much. Of how wonderful my early days where. Now the dinner table lacks all of my Grandparents, and that to me is extremely painful.

The other day I called my mother and we got to talking about Christmas music, all of the sudden she began to cry. I was confused at first, but I quickly realized that her mother used to love Christmas music. How can one thing that brings smiles to so many, make someone else cry? My grandmother used to play her christmas records and dance around in her living room. We still have those records and that antique record player, but she is no longer here to dance with us.

Growing up in Venezuela around the holidays was completely different. I guess I took it for granted. I always knew my entire family would be at the dinner table, I always knew my Grandparents would be having us over for dinner and presents. I always knew I'd be able to play and make memories with all of my cousins.

Now we spend holidays alone. The four of us, reminiscing on the good times. We have a special bond due to all we have been through. This part of us strengthens me every single day. I feel that if we have survived all of this, we can survive so much more. Leaving our family and a country that we loved, to start all over in a foreign land. Not everyone can say they have gone through this. Losing loved ones and family moving away, this has bonded the four of us even more.

So today I am grateful for my family. They are truly amazing and I have no idea how I got this lucky. They have been there for me through the good and the bad, and I know they will be there for me for years to come. On these holidays we will remember our loved ones, who went through so much to get us where we are. No one will ever be able to break the bond that we all share, and these memories that I have will forever remain close to my heart. Every day I live for them, I hope I'm making them proud and becoming the woman they taught me to be.

Happy Holidays.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tonight I find myself in a familiar place...actually a place that reminds me of Spain. Its 2am in the morning and I can't seem to fall asleep. I feel as though every night in Spain was like this. I'm not quite sure why, but every night after a long and crazy day I would lay down and be completely awake. At the time I was sure it was the time change, but I now realize that it was all in my head. Literally. I can't sleep because something is either bothering me or I'm worried or overwhelmed about something. In Spain I couldn't sleep mostly because of the little girls I lived with. I never shared this on my blog then for fear of their mother or father somehow running into my blog. But now that my relationship with them has almost entirely ended, I can fully express how I feel about my host family.
Ever since I was a little girl I have been taught valuable lessons in life. I have been blessed with an amazing family who has supported me throughout every endeavor. My Spain sisters have not been as lucky. I know this blog will not do them justice, but its worth a try. I guess I can begin by saying that my experience with this family in Spain further proved how amazing my own parents are. These two beautiful girls were unfortunately dealt a different hand. All I heard the entire time in Spain was yelling. I was constantly surrounded by screams and scolding. They could never be good enough for their mother. These girls are angels, they do their chores, they get amazing grades, they are perfect...but they get nothing in return. They have no idea what love is. They are constantly reminded that whatever they do is not good enough, and I'm afraid that it will never be good enough. How does a little girl manage to grow up in a household like this one? I wanted so badly to interfere but I knew it was not my place. But every day I wondered what if. What if I just stood up to their parents and told them to wake up and realize that your children are not some commodity that you boss around; they are your flesh and blood. You should love them and cherish the moments you have with them. I can not begin to tell you how amazing these girls are. How incredibly happy they would get every time I treated them to ice-cream. ICE-CREAM! They are surrounded by so much negativity that I have yet to understand how they are able to hold so much love inside.
I couldn't sleep in Spain because I knew that these girls deserved better. They deserved to be loved. Sometimes at night when they couldn't sleep we would all sit together in a room and talk about things. They were so surprised with my stories. Of my childhood and my trips to Disney World...their parents have never even taken them to a theme park. I think I showed them more love in a month then they have seen in an entire lifetime. The night before I left Spain these girls cried harder than I've ever seen anyone cry. They cried until they couldn't breathe. I was completely torn because I knew I had to go. I was so happy to be able to see my family again, but so sad because I didn't want to leave these girls. For those of you wondering why I had so much trouble explaining my experience in Spain, well heres your answer. Spain was not a fun filled trip full of sightseeing and late night partying. It was sad. It hurts to think about. How I wish I could be more active in those little girls' lives. Its sad to think about because I know there are millions of other children out there who don't get the love they deserve. How did I get so lucky? To have such amazing parents and such a loving family?