Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Lost City

Today I watched Andy Garcia's The Lost City probably for the third time. It made me feel emotions that I've felt before, yet I've never put into words. As a child of an immigrant mother from Cuba, I have always been very much the loss of this lost city called Havana, yet I am only coming to the realization of the enormity of what happened to my family in my adult years. As a matter of fact, I tried so hard to be American in my growing up years many times denying my heritage. How silly! I guess it was a child's need to fit in. I mention this because I ask myself "How will Ling-Ling feel when she is at the age that I was when I denied my heritage?" For her it will be so much harder-she will not be able to "mix in" as easily as I did due to her Chinese looks. I want to make sure that she will never be ashamed or feel that she must hide her birthplace. Everytime she looks in the mirror she will be faced with it. I do not blame my mother for my feeling the way I did, she was trying to survive in a country that was so foreign to her-having left behind the man that she was in love with (my father) so that I could have a better life. I just can't help but meditate on the heritage that is "lost" to me. In Garcia's movie, he has to leave behind a mother and father that loved him, a lifestyle that was intrinsic to being Cuban. For me, I did not have to make such a difficult choice, yet I commiserate with my mother and grandmother for it had to have been oh so heart-breaking for them. I will never understand their plight-yet I can mourn for a life I never had. I so wish I could go back to those times and experience a slice of life that my mother and grandmother did....I feel strangely nostalgic for her past. I also admire the courage that she and many of my friend's parents had in starting over in this wonderful country. I wonder if I would have been brave or strong enough to do the same?

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