23 years….

Didn't really want to write this in English and, not likely, will be jumping in and out of Spanish as I go... here we go.

I have 4 touch points every year. Those of you who know me know what these touch points represent but, just in case:

  • 27 March: Moved to the US as a permanent resident
  • 18 June: Dad's birthday (choose to celebrate his birth and life rather than his death on 22 December)
  • 25 September: My Birthday
  • 31 December: End of year review

This time, for the first time, I've been debating whether I want to stay or not and all the additional baggage that creates and adds to the already baggage heavy mess that is my life.

This March (27th at 0700 Eastern time if you have to know) marks 23 years since I moved to the US (cue Sting's Englishman in New York) and the beginning of a hell of an adventure. I'm positive my life would have taken a far different turn had I stayed in Chile... good or bad I'll never be able to tell and, to be honest, I don't think I want to.

Which makes it even harder to evaluate the impact of the past 5 months on me and what's around me.

I'm privileged and one lucky son of a bitch... I will be the first one to admit that. Even more so since I left FireEye and have been able to do so much in the last few years. I've traveled and I've learned. I've been able to dictate most terms of my life in a way that I've been happy with, with no compromises, and not incuring any financial debt. However, that stability is predicated on a couple thins, like being able to get insurance while not employed (considering I have a pre-existing condition) and being certain that I can enter the country without a problem when I return from overseas travel.

I'm seeing how the first of those requirements is evaporating right before my eyes. As I write this (early march, 2017) congress is voting on a full repeal and replace of the ACA but, if I'm understanding this correctly, the provisions for pre-existing conditions wil be significantly more expensive, if they are available at all. This means that I have to have a full time job or have no isurance... or be denied left, right and center, just like what happened before the ACA was passed.

The second one is more insidious because it may just be paranoia speaking. My other concern is what will happen to naturalized citizens who choose to travel abroad? We didn't think they'd do it to residents or poeple who fought to get in the country legally, did we? This has become such a big fucking mess of us against them and Christian white "majority" against everyone else that it makes me sick... it makes me want to just crawl under a rock and hide there. I'll leave aside the issue I have with denaturalization and how that can become a weapon against immigrants in the future but it is a concern and it is something to be cognizant about.

Let's assume, for a second, that the travel restriction requirement is a figment of my imagination and that everything will be ok. Then what, what to do and where to go... There are many places calling and many reasons why I shouldn't heed the call.

Part of me has been debating whether to go back to Santiago or not and it's not a recent event. I remember when I was there in 1999/2000 and how alien it really felt. I couldn't tell why it afected me so much, how much it had changed or how much I had.

Miro la ciudad, un fantasma sin edad
Después del amor
La lluvia y el smog dibujan a pincel
Tu cuerpo en el balcón

No hay luz en el bar, nadie espera un tren
No hay coches en el boulevard
Y aquí puedo escuchar, el ruido de las estrellas
Cayendo sobre el mundo

Everything, everyone has changed, that's unavoidable. But if the changes involve feeling like an alien in the place you grew up in it's a different story, or is it?

I've always said that the years I haven't been there changed the way I see the place, that not being there for weddings, child births and other milestones in my and my friends' lives changes the way you relate to them and they to you.

¡Ah! cómo hemos cambiado
Que lejos ha quedado
Aquella amistad
Así como el viento lo abandona todo al paso
Así con el tiempo todo es abandonado
Cada beso que se da (cada beso que se da)
Alguien lo abandonará

Así con los años unidos a la distancia
Fue así como tú y yo perdimos la confianza
Cada paso que se dio, (cada paso que se dio)
Algo más nos abandonó

Ok, it's not Santiago... then what? Can I Afford to travel this year at all?

I have to be realistic enough to consider that may not be a posibility