By Alfredo Navarrete


I am from where children play mini baseball outside, endlessly, on any street corner
From seeing days merge with nights, as the city never sleeps
Watching everybody start the day really early in the morning, buying groceries, and going to work
Staring at extremely crowded buses, for everyone needs to go somewhere
Admiring multicolor houses, in a land where nobody follows a pattern, so everybody paints them in whatever colors they find.

I am from where there is always something to celebrate, with rhythmic music beating everywhere
From little sparrows waking me up early in the morning, by chirping a melody, letting me know the day has begun
From my neighbor yelling from her house, “Hay papas en el agro” (1)
Hearing children playing with their chibichanas (2), making plenty of noise, while having a delightful time
The sound of the waves breaking on the shore of the malecon (3), resulting in a relaxing, and hypnotizing environment
I’m from the booming cannon firing at 9 o’clock every night.

I am from freshly brewed espresso in the morning and baked bread toasted with melted butter spread
Every Sunday, Mom’s special chicken with roasted potatoes, green peppers, and tomato sauce
Smelling my grandma’s medicinal herb teas that she would prepare when I was sick, yuck
From the smell of the coming rain when it was about to pour down
I am from grilled pork, deliciously made with care, at every single Christmas or New Year’s Eve
I am from where vendors announce their goods along the streets, including peanuts, and fruits of all kinds

From going to the park to ride my bike with my friends and racing to see who would be first
My grandpa knocking at the door and whistling through the window so I would know he was home
From hearing his stories of his youth, his adventures, on those stormy afternoons
Going with my friends to the beach, improving our diving skills
I am from feeling the wonderful refreshing rain from May, splashing on my face
From the mist coming from the ocean on windy days, cooling and relaxing
The wonderful feeling of the thin white sand slipping through my toes when walking on the beach
Slimy paths through the woods, surrounded by leaves and branches full of cold dew from the mountains.

I am from freshly hand-made cooked and wrapped Tamales (4)
From all kinds of delicious refreshing smoothies: mango, mamey, guava, and banana
Freshly baked flan, especially the way my grandma can make it, with melted caramel on top
I’m from cold, restorative sugar cane juice, perfect for a long day with much to do.

I am from those moments.

(1) “There are potatoes in the grocery market”
(2) Home-made scooter
(3) Structure, wall by the shoreline
(4) Typical food made of corn meal and pork, wrapped in its own leaves and boiled until ready


(photo from Pixabay)

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