Whenever I walk around the streets of old London, the parks, rivers, avenues, you can see from afar old bridges, walled structures, rows of houses with white fronts. In the horizon, there is a warm and varying image, a face: sad, joyful, both dark and light, where our thoughts become confused, the mystery of knowing whether or not we are in the right place.
I recall my first days with a lot of joy and excitement, there was adventure, learning, integration, a new culture, different languages: they built in me a confusing dialect of different sounds, something that I never imagined that I would experience and that I would touch from so close up.
Inside myself, the desire to try and learn a new language and all that it brings with it; I encounter daily surprises that make me doubt once more, am I in the right place? Am I capable of speaking this language fluently? I ask myself every day if everyone else knows the great difficulties and efforts that I go through to try and understand what they are saying to me; the fear in me of even answering the phone, the terror of becoming ill and needing to go the doctor, dentist, etc.
Above all, the panic of making a fool of myself in front of other people, feeling a distant, humiliating shame not being able to express what I think - so much that I have to use all of my abilities and strength from my fingers to my toes in order to understand, knowing full well that the results will be the same. My face betrays a fragility and impotence; at times I am filled with anger and a sense of irony, with my energy lost, arriving home without satisfaction, with the knowledge that I haven’t accomplished my objective for the day. Negativity takes hold of my thoughts, but seeing the face of my son makes my strength return, and I am able to continue on for another day.
Personally, I don’t know what a native English person is like. I also don’t know their costumes or likes. I certainly know that internationally the English people are known as kind and polite; and London as the city of formal English.
Here, I continue to try once more and this time with a touch of the English air, hahaha. Juggling work, volunteer work, my studies, house, kids and the desperate need to be another integrant in the crowd. So many people from different places of the world, including myself want to experience the cultural diversity of Europe and the so-called economic paradise of the United Kingdom.
Now, after considering my objectives, I am aware of the need to extend my stay, the need to knock on new doors: I suppose more time and energy is all that I can offer.
One last thing, I should also say that the day is too cold for my bones, ha ha. But I will continue volunteering and facing this merciless war... My beloved, London.
Text: Writer chose to not use her real name so she will go by the pseudonym 'Mariposa'
Translation: Scarlyn Gutierrez
Photo: Taken and adapted by Mariposa
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