My Unattainable Dream
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Politics and Activism

My Unattainable Dream

It's a dream that each year seems to disappear a little more

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My Unattainable Dream
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It’s always the same. The beginning feels like a magical moment as if a fairy had heard me and granted me my wish. My eyes fill with tears and they want to burst out so badly that it almost hurts to be that happy. But I have to enjoy the moment because it doesn’t last for long. Finally, the plane lands and my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. I just want to grab my luggage and run out. Then my surroundings begin to change. I can also feel it in myself. I feel stiff and although I try to move I can’t. I’m trapped. Slowly the airport begins to get further away from me and I stare at it while it slowly disappears. I try to run but my feet feel glued to the ground. All of a sudden it gets dark and I wake up. I was so close but maybe next time.

Since I came from Ecuador I used to always dream that I was visiting. Yet, that dream seems to have disappeared because it’s been a while since I can remember. I’m grateful for the life I am living in America but I feel resentful that I can’t go back. It's been 15 years since I’ve been to Ecuador and I almost don’t remember what it looks like anymore. My imagination of the places I once visited are stuck in the past and I’ve realized that life has continued and things have changed. A lot has changed and I wish that I could see it.

My great-grandfather passed away this past March and that was a very difficult day for my family and I because we could not even go say our last goodbye. I grew up around him throughout the short but memorable eight years in Ecuador. I wish I could have at least given him a hug but I can’t even visit his grave. All due to a simple paper that it’s so hard to get.

For years I’ve dreamt of returning and meeting with my old friends whose names I don’t even remember. Also with my relatives, and even the dead ones, because to me it feels like they’re alive but I just haven’t seen them in years. But mostly, I’ve dreamt of reuniting with my city of birth. I walk through all the places where I used to be when I was little. In my mind, they look exactly the same.

Unless I can legally come back to America I can’t fulfill this dream. I can’t picture myself living in Ecuador anymore. I do not think I would adapt well. I don’t know anything about the country and from what I’ve seen on TV and read, life there is nothing compared to America. Economic wise, we are very different. I don’t know how people can survive with $300 maximum per month. Per month, not week. Can you imagine living that way? What if you have a family? What if you’re a single parent? The currency in Ecuador is U.S. dollars but it doesn’t necessarily mean cheaper expenses.

Many times I’ve thought and planned in my head about the first things I would do if I were able to visit. I think I would kiss the ground after getting off the plane and start crying. I also think that I would go to the park and give money to the children who shine shoes. When going to the supermarket with my grandmother, to what we call “el centro,” or the center, children who were my age or even younger— I was about 7 years old, would always come to ask us if we needed them to shine our shoes for 10 cents.

I used to feel deep sadness because they were children like me and I couldn’t imagine doing the same. Yet all these years have passed and these children still exist. My uncle who is a U.S. resident visited a couple of years ago and said they also charge the same amount, 10 cents, which here is worth nothing. These children deserve to be children, to be playing or to be in school, but instead, they have to help out their families for the same reason that the wages are too low.

In one of my last dreams I was visiting my dad’s mom who is my only grandmother alive. Yet, in reality she has aged much more than when I left. She also has Alzheimer's and each year it seems to be getting worse. She does not recognize me anymore, well, truthfully, she does not even remember that I exist.

When my father talks to her on the phone, her mind seems to be somewhere else.

"Son what is with your life, did you get married?" my grandmother asks.

That’s when it hits me. She really doesn’t remember me. But I can’t forget the weekends I spent at her house and she would force me to finish my meals. The cookies and money I would receive before returning to my other grandparents’ home. But in her mind, it’s all gone. Maybe if she sees me again she will remember, just maybe. But I wonder if I’ll ever get to find out.

Sometimes I think of what my life could have been like if I never left. Would things have been different? Would I be happier than now? But it’s a tricky question because that means I would have never met my parents and I wouldn’t be where I am now, about to graduate college. So truthfully, although I miss Ecuador very dearly and it hurts, I like the American way of life.

Traveling to Ecuador has become my unattainable dream. I haven’t had one of these dreams in a couple of years but I still hope that one day, but not too far away, it can come true. Perhaps life is making me wait for a reason. I was supposed to travel with a special permit this December after graduating. It was going to be my graduation gift. Yet, after Trump’s election and the announcement of the removal of DACA this imaginary trip has vanished. I know it will happen someday. Perhaps willingly or by force but I will be back to experience the beautiful Andean highlands and diverse landscapes of my lovely Ecuador. I just hope it’s sometime soon.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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