OPINION: Things that shouldn’t be left ​behind

by | Apr 9, 2019 | Opinion

Rodrigo Diaz Maingon

The closer you are to something, the tougher it is to see.

The saying is becoming painfully true for me.

Being away from home is hard. Very hard. I’m not a person who is particularly attached to the family, but whenever I stop to reflect on what I had back home in Venezuela, then I start to miss everything. 

It’s not like I’m living in misery. I have everything I could possibly wanted and, if things go well, I might even have much more than I ever dreamed. This is on the material realm of course. You just have to work hard. 

Most people from Third World countries expect to just come to developed nations like Canada and live the big life, they think it is very easy. It definitely isn’t. 

I worked very hard last summer at labour jobs mostly every day, 12 or more hours daily. As bad as the living conditions were back in Venezuela, I had never done jobs that required extensive use of my body. 

There is a huge difference though. 

The money I made was worth a lot and it didn’t lose value overnight like the money I earned back in Venezuela. I felt like I was working for something that was worth it.

Most people here probably don’t know what hyperinflation is. Imagine a bottle of water costing one dollar and $1.25 the next day. And the next day, even more. That was the situation two years ago. Now it’s worse. Most people work to literally survive.

People complain here about the long commuting times, about the weather and about taxes. I think I covered most of the worries of this country’s population.

Everything else is taken for granted, which is little bit scary because I’ve also started taking everything for granted after almost two years living in Canada. 

I regularly attempt to justify myself, thinking this is the way it should be, people should live like this everywhere in the world.

The guilt kicks in sometimes. I’ve experienced misery and borderline poverty, violence and relentless corruption, death and evil. Why am I allowed to live like this, even if it is temporally? Do I deserve this over other people?

These last couple of weeks have been difficult for me, even more for my family in Venezuela.

I have problems with my passport stemming from my government’s incompetence and corruption. This issue could ultimately mean that I won’t able to be here past May.

I think specifically of my parents, how must they be suffering from what has going on lately. 

There have been a string of blackouts in Venezuela. The first one in March was horrible. I lost contact with them for almost a week. I was really stressed about that.

My mother always tells me how good and prosperous Venezuela was back when she was young. How they could work for two months and buy a car, for a couple of years and get a house or an apartment.

I never knew this country they are talking about. I only remember Venezuela being in a bad situation: conflict, poverty, corruption, and hatred all around me.

So, it’s not the country I miss, but the people I left behind living in hell while I’m enjoying myself here in heaven.

I had many discussions with my parents back home. I just wanted to get away from them, at least for a while. Now I really appreciate them as I’ve never done before in my life. 

And that makes another saying true: You don’t know the value of something until you lose it.