Her curls bounce as she runs across the field with bright eyes and a wide grin. She breathes in the crisp air, no care for the purple bruises that cover her arms or her scraped knees from adventures her mother Clara warned her to avoid. She has no regard for the time even though she knows her twelve siblings all wait for her at home. She is in love with the mountains and trees that surround her and she can't imagine ever wanting to leave Colombia.
Her childhood passes by in blurs of endeavors that she later receives lectures for. In a kaleidoscope of happy moments but also terrible ones filled with pain, broken hearts, and forgotten dreams.
She's twenty-four when she has to leave her beautiful home. Pushed into a foreign land where people don't speak her language but have hope in their eyes and she hears whispers of an American Dream, a place where success is possible for everyone, she wonders if this dream is possible for her too.
Things are hard at first, she struggles with the enunciation of these long words and her hands tire of ironing her messy curls because she wants so desperately to fit in with these new people, strange people who stare at her funny when she speaks and ask why she puts on so much perfume, but she isn't able to admit she doesn't want them to be able to smell her mothers latest home cooked meal on her clothes and suddenly she's ashamed of where she's from and she hates it, every second of it.
She eventually gets used to it, everyone else does as well. They know she speaks a broken English and hates when you pretend like she can't understand you but she fakes a confidence that no one even bothers her anymore, nor do they notice the silent tears that sometimes fall because she misses the smell of trees and mildew in the early morning and the beautiful sunrises that covered the morning sky in Colombia.
At twenty five she is surprised to find a man like her, who can't speak English well and misses his home, and tells her terrible jokes but she loves him and they get married and she begins to forgot the adventurous little girl she used to be. She has two daughters and they both grow up to be beautiful and strong and for a moment she sees herself, her old self in them but quickly shakes off all remnants of the person she used to be, because she's American now.
But of course, the beautiful things in life don't last forever and it seems as if she loved the man so much she smothered his flame and everything ends messy, broken souls and a bitter taste in their mouth when they go separate ways after so long. She tries to find happiness in the small moments of family, with her grandchildren the most but there's always a ringing noise in the back of her head reminding her of the love she lost and it consumes her as much as the medication she must take as time catches up to her. She's still wandering today, trying to live in happiness instead of regret and sometimes she can see glimpses of the snarky, trouble-making girl from Medellin and she misses her. She knows her journey had been long, filled with birth and death, and it seems as if her muscles still ache from long nights of work to make meets end but she is proud of one thing. She's not just Anerican, she is also a strong Latina. This woman is my grandmother and when I look into her eyes I promise that little girl lives and she is bright, she makes me proud to be Colombian and I love that she lives in me too.