Debora Zamorano

The Meaning of Nationalities

When she first arrived at the new country, everything was fresh. It looked like she was in another planet. The weather was different from what she was used to in the tropics. The desert had dry and cold air, for it was winter.  The trash-less streets shone under the bright desert sun. Rows of flowers decorated the city center. The city was extremely well thought-out, there were no signs of visual pollution and the infrastructure was remarkable. Although she could speak the new language it seemed unnatural having to listen to it on a daily basis. Locals were polite and forthcoming, but she felt so lonely that it hurt. That hurt was abnormal, since she had her toddler son and her husband with her. They had moved to the new country due to her husband’s job transfer.  The move had been from Brazil, her place of origin, to the west of the United States. After some months, that mourning she had gone through ended. Her son was finally adjusted to school and to her surprise, did not have any difficulties communicating with his new friends. When she asked her son if he could understand his three year old friends, he said: “Of course mom! In the U.S. every one speaks Portuguese.” She then realized that for three year olds, body language is more important for communication than the language itself.
She was relieved to see her son was familiarized with his new city and country and started to see more positives than negatives in the new place. The more she got used to the new country, the more her son became part of it. He soon realized that the most intelligent people lived in the new place, the United States of America. When she asked her son what people he was referring to, he said: “Scooby-Doo, Donald Duck, Daisy, Goofy, and Mickey Mouse.” With an intrigued face she asked the little boy: “What do you mean?” He replied: well, they are so clever Mommy! They speak so many languages. When I watched them on television in Brazil, they spoke Portuguese, when we went to Mexico I realized that they spoke Spanish on the television shows I observed. And in the States they speak English. Aren’t they awesome, Mommy?”
Well, after a year, the adaptation period was over. She was already part of the community, doing her master’s and totally connected with the local culture. However, it was not until her son made one of his pertinent comments that she felt her soul was a part of the new place:
“Mommy, I have found out something important”.
“What is it?”
“All the countries are the same.”
“Why is that so?”
“Because there are people everywhere you go. And people are the same Mommy. They all like cookies, chocolate, watching television and playing; and they all hate eating broccoli and having to go to bed when they are playing. And that is why I have two hearts: one is Brazilian, because it likes people from Brazil; the other one is American because it likes American people, including those clever people I told you about some time ago.”
The boy stopped talking for a moment, became really serious, looked at his Mom and said: “Mommy, I forgot to thank God!!!!!”
“He gave me two hearts”.
Through the mind of her three year old she realized the real meaning of nationality: identifying with people from a certain place. It is all about people; not places.


All rights belong to its author. It was published on by demand of Debora Zamorano.
Published on on 03/21/2014.


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