Monday, July 25, 2011


    Recently I have started to understand something about my mother.
    When I was very young, living in the bad part of town because it was closer to the hospital, my family lived in an apartment. It was a nice apartment with a great fireplace, plenty of room for our small three person family, and we even had the advantage of living on the ground floor because of my father's wheelchair bound state at the time. However, as soon as my father got on the crutches and my mother got settled into her new job she started to clamor for a house of her own. With a backyard. And a garden. Those were the important parts. I, being four, was reluctant. I had friends in the apartments; I was comfortable there. Most importantly, the complex had a pool. But my mother wanted her garden, so we moved to the other side of town.
    I had never understood before why she wanted a garden so badly. Sure she liked plants, our house has always been full of tropical vines winding around the dining room, giant "elephant ears" that would never fit through the door way if we tried to move them at their present, advanced state. Now, in the middle of this cramped city she grew up in, I can understand.
    My family's house here is uncommonly nice; it's all cinder-block and concrete but the furniture is as expensive as can be expected in a city where the storm drains regularly fail and ground floors are flooded. I'm even using the family WiFi. The problem is: everyone lives here. This house, in the U.S. would probably hold a family of four, maybe five, comfortably. Here, the entire extended family (except mine) lives in the same house. The problem is not even that it's cramped (which it isn't); the problem is that it doesn't really definitively belong to anyone. No one in the family really owns the entire house, it's like a commune without all of the creepy breeding tactics or nudity. Most importantly, there is no backyard. In local commercials here the average family is seen in a house that would not be out of place in suburban America but the truth is that houses like that can't be found in any places other than those of the fabulously wealthy. A garden is so out of place here because most people can't afford to buy the extra land if they aren't even going to live on it.
    At home I always thought that my mother's dream was uncommonly small, not ambitious enough but when compared my life at home seems incredibly lucky.

No comments:

Post a Comment