Six days ago I did something that I had not done in 26 years, step on soil of my native Nicaragua. I left long ago, under not so good circumstances, mostly because I was tired of the hot weather,just kidding, it was more because of the F.S.L.N., the National Front of Sandinista Liberation. So to make a long story short, I have not been back to see where I am from, and where I lived.
Upon entering Nicaragua, I felt something, not nostalgia as most would expect, or melancholy, rather like a stranger in a place I no longer knew and did not know me. We traveled from the border town of Peñas Blancas and into San Juan del Sur where we stayed for a night and I slowly began to get a feel for the people, their manerisms and talk, which I know I have lost / maybe never really had. Today, we finally arrived in Managua, and I was a bit nervous about what I would see and how I would find things.
It is hard to imgine how things are, after having vivid memories of how they were. Often I had dreams of my childhood, where I would be at the little house with the three foot tall white wooden fence and hear Doña Rita´s green and red parrot yapping away. Or at my elemntary school, constantly running with the other kids in our blue and white uniforms as we played tag. But time passes and sometimes I can no longer differentiate what part of my youth I am remembering from Nicaragua and what is coming from my times at 1523 Meridian Ave on South Beach.
Today though, we finally arrived in Mangua and after asking half a dozen people if they remembered where the old (from 30 years ago) Reynaldo Hernandez Hardware store was, we arrived at a house that is not as I remembered it, but the lot is there nonetheless. The house had been split in two and converted to two tiny houses, resembling more of a shanty favela, with metal decking for a roof, than the cute house where I would climb the guayaba tree. The parrot was no longer there (obv.) talking everyone´s ear off and neither was the small white fence, but new residents were. I spoke to them and they mentioned how they had only been there for five years and did not know of the neighbors I spoke of. Maybe they were affraid that I was there trying to claim the house (as another man I spoke to said they knew someone would eventually come to claim it), or maybe they were too young to know the neighbors I remembered who were no longer there.
Either way, I made it home. I saw my little street where it bends to the left, took a few pictures to show my parents what is left and went back to the (Piedresitas) the park where my father would take us. And now, I feel fine, no longer wondering about the littel house on the little street. Now, I can simply go back to my other home.