A Night Full of Memories

April 9, 2009
By MarisaC BRONZE, Norwell, Massachusetts
MarisaC BRONZE, Norwell, Massachusetts
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

All of my life I wanted to return to my birth country .I always was curios about where I came from and wished to discover my past with my biological family and my life in foster care. It was almost like I had an empty space in my heart, a part of me that I felt like I should know. In a way I felt homesick. Finally my dream came true in August 2006. We had a great trip and when it came to an end, I felt like I have discovered another side of me. It felt like I was complete, as if my journey to discover my past was over. Yet when I knew I had to once again leave it felt like my world collapsed. It was my last night in Paraguay on August 17, 2006. I was eleven years old and the people in my travel group were gathered at a final dinner ceremony. I was on a trip with people who were adopted from Paraguay who lived in the U.S., Canada, and England to go back to explore Paraguay and Brazil and also to discover our past. It was an emotional experience that I’d never forget. I wanted to stay in South America. I felt that Paraguay is where I’m originally from and at heart it felt like home. I was accepted by everyone in the country for who I am and felt loved. A quality that back in the U.S. people can sometimes lack. I felt ashamed at the same time because I felt like I turned by back on America, the land where I had a home. I love and am proud of both countries and I felt torn between my loyalties, as in I should be proud of The United States but not turn my back on the Paraguayan people or even the other way around. However, on this night I experienced the pride in my heritage as I had one of the greatest nights in my life.

I tried to take in all that was happening on that night as best as I could as I sat in my chair surrounded by friends and family. Many different and powerful emotions stirred inside of me. I kept thinking of when the ceremony will be over and I’ll eventually have to say goodbye. A final goodbye. It was like a thorn pricking at my conscious that wouldn’t go away and it seems its effects would last forever. The strong mix of emotions hurt so much that even physical pain was developing. I stopped myself and reminded myself to be in the moment and enjoy the ceremony and think about the goodbyes later.

I looked around the large room and I watched the beautiful Paraguayan young ladies dressed in large, shiny silver and gold jewelry and in colorful lace dresses with their hands joined with the men’s hands doing a traditional dance. I heard the heaven-like sounds of the famous Paraguayan harp and the rich wailing sounds of the trumpets as they danced. I noticed in the background the walls were engraved with gorgeous art, full of detail and texture that contain swirls of golden color in cherry wood. The sight was beautiful. Never in my life had I seen such phenomenal and moving art. I continued to watch and chat with my friends. Later the food finally came out and I smelled the diverse sweet scents of the sweet breads, dinners, desserts and pastries being cooked. Even from the kitchen I could smell the steam, full of wonderful flavor. I finally took a bite of my meal and I could taste the warm buttered pasta with its simple yet satisfying taste. We had a quite a variety of Paraguayan dinners and desserts. I took a bite of the pastries. It was delicious! The warm pastries melted in my mouth and then took me to heaven and made me not want to come back. The meal was outstanding.

Earlier in the day I asked one of the tour guides if I could perform in front of everybody by singing a song in Spanish. When the time came they called me up in front of everybody and I could feel my hands shake as I reached for the microphone. I don't usually get nervous when I perform on stage, however in this case I could not afford to mess up at a time like that. The audience was huge. It was over two hundred people. I took a breath, opened my mouth and began to sing. I tried to remain to remain focused so I wouldn't mess up. The Spanish language is very pretty especially in song. The song's lyrics were peaceful and relaxing and was sung in a gentle tone. When I finally stopped singing the audience clapped wildly and stood up. Never in my life had I felt such pride as I did that night.

Finally it came. The part that was haunting me all that night. It was time to say goodbye. We all got up together in the hotel lobby and were exchanging numbers, emails, and other ways of contacting each other. People were laughing, smiling, crying, hugging, and sharing stories of the great times we had spent with each other. I started to get emotional and started saying goodbyes. I could feel people’s arms around me and heard my friends whispering goodbye and wishing me the best of luck. It was extremely difficult. Everyone was so attached from each other. Everywhere I looked people’s eyes were red and puffy from crying. It was very sad to see. I felt devastated that I had to leave my original country once again. Yet, I was thankful for having the opportunity to have a wonderful experience. The ending to my trip was sad and inspiring at the same time. Paraguay was a place to laugh, a place to smile, a place to explore and discover my past, a place to share and a special place that will always remain in my heart. It was a life changing experience that will never leave my memories.

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