- Contemplating the Time Before My Birth in Latin America
Back when I was living in Iowa some odd years ago, I had an aunt that traveled the world a bit.
In her days, it was mostly to the Soviet Union or Saudi Arabia.
Though she had spent time visiting countries in other parts of the world.
Either way, I remember when dementia hadn’t taken her so harshly a bit back…
Sitting inside her house with my mom on some sofa listening to her talk about her days in the Soviet Union.
Back then, I forgot how old I was but I must’ve been maybe 14 or 15.
In those years, I didn’t give a fuck about living abroad.
And definitely not living in Latin America.
Suffice to say, I didn’t appreciate the moments I had in those days to dig into a life I could only understand by story.
Thinking about it now, I regret it to a degree in not asking her questions about it.
For one, it would’ve been cool to understand more about her life in the Soviet Union specifically.
And Saudi Arabia also.
Though I suppose, if I always wanted to, I could ask the dude who married my sister about Saudi Arabia since he spent his childhood there.
Either way, I remember my aunt often talking about stories mostly of dealing with the KGB.
I think that acronym is right.
Some spying agency they had.
From what I remember, her husband basically worked as an engineer for the US State department.
Which is how they got moving around to different countries from my limited understanding.
In those days, I remember just sitting down and thinking to myself “god damn it, I hope the stories end soon. I want to go home already.”
Which, being fair, is rude as fuck.
But also completely ignorant of the opportunity presented in that time.
Similar to those movie Field of Dreams below here…
Where “we often don’t realize the most important moments in our lives.”
Though, in this case, I wouldn’t call it one of my “most important moments in my life” but more just a very insightful opportunity.
Not just because of the interesting stories about the Soviet Union or Saudi Arabia in years that I wasn’t even born yet…
But also in terms of stories in Latin America.
Because just recently….
My mom was telling me how I was gifted a painting made in Guatemala that my aunt bought during those years when she happened to be spending time in that country.
She died recently about less than a year ago…
So they are going through inheritance and all from my understanding.
According to my mom, I’m getting a painting that is from Guatemala.
More relevant to my situation I suppose as I happen to live down here.
But also relevant to the topic started…
The story is the same though.
Back when I was 15, I would never have cared to ask her a single question about Guatemala when she was there.
I was there a few years ago on a visa run as you can see here.
But while not being sure of the exact years she was there….
I can only imagine it must’ve been during the decades of around the 70s to 80s maybe.
Well, before the 2000s most likely.
Depending on the year, they could’ve been in Guatemala when it was going through a lot more civil turmoil as you can read here.
But regardless of when they did visit Guatemala….
Or any specific Latin country….
I absolutely would’ve loved to sit down and ask questions about it before her husband died and especially before her dementia got really bad.
An opportunity that I would’ve never appreciated in those days…
Not only because of my younger age but also because I simply didn’t have a care in the world about Latin America.
Which, in of itself, is ironic given my choice to live down here after this handful of years.
If I could, I would teleport my mind into the head of 14 or 15 year old me.
And dig into her brain as much as I could asking stories about life in Guatemala back then.
Just because, as the years go by with my life down here, I continue to grow a deeper interest into this part of the world.
To learn more about it from a first hand account from another American regarding life in a Latin country 40 or 50 years ago….
And also because, given I now have about 6 years living outside of my home country, I have a stronger ability to relate to those who also live outside of their home countries.
Be it Guatemala or the Soviet Union.
Well, that would’ve been an interesting conversation anyway.
Inspiration for This Article
Now finishing this article up….
I remember a few nights ago I was drinking some black tea and vodka mix.
After having just uploaded about 52 articles onto my website.
And celebrating that I just got that done.
Anyway, I was relaxing and being happy that I got another huge batch done…
While listening to some music.
In this case, I preferred listening to Latin jazz music.
Which you can read more about my interest in that type of music here.
Specifically a band named Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66.
Either way, I was watching this music video specifically below as you can see here.
And as I was listening to the music while being a bit drunk at the time….
I remember looking at the dresses that the female singers were wearing.
The type of clothing that the male performers were wearing.
The background scenery.
I couldn’t help but laugh about how different it all looked from modern music videos.
Just looked like a different era all around.
And it was!
So it got me thinking…
About life in Latin America back in those days….
Of course, Latin America is a huge ass region so it depends on what part you are talking about….
In this case, it would’ve been Brasil.
And I got thinking “were they in the dictatorship yet in Brasil?”
I think they did have a dictatorship when this video was shot but I can’t be sure.
You can look it up but I do know that Brasil had a dictatorship in the 20th century.
Like a lot of countries down here.
But beyond the politics….
Also came the thinking about life down here in general in that specific country.
About what life must’ve been like.
To live in Latin America…
Any Latin country in the days before I was even born.
In the days before tourism grew so big for foreigners to travel and live down here.
Of course, that isn’t a statement saying that there were no foreigners down here…
Just, from what I assume, a lot less than nowadays.
Either way, it got me thinking about my Aunt as I remembered how my mom told me that I was going to be given a painting from Guatemala.
And how I had a missed opportunity to ask her about life in Latin America when she was down here during those days.
Thinking about it now again, I kick myself for not digging deeper into that.
A missed opportunity.
Either way, life goes on.
Thanks for reading.
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And enjoy this other jazz song by the same band here.
Anything you want to know about Saudi you can ask away, I was two years over there! In Riyadh, Najran and Khafji!