For the most part I avoid defining my identity only on the terms of the country I was born in (Ecuador, South America), simply because at this point in my life I've already been out of Ecuador for half as long a time as I lived in Ecuador, and since I have decided not to go back it seems to me that to define my identity as an Ecuadorian would leave 8 years of my history out of consideration - 8 years that have been precisely the most significant in shaping the person I am.
I guess my day-to-day behavior is really telling when it comes to national identity. Whenever someone asks me where I come from I say “I was born in Ecuador, but I am a US American”. That answer just comes out of me without thinking, and I believe it really tells the way I feel now. It’s not that I am rejecting, evading or negating my roots in Ecuador, but the truth is that I am not just an Ecuadorian anymore, I am a US American too and in my life one comes hand in hand with the other.
The fact that my grown-up life has taken place in the US is quite noticeable in me (I believe). My work ethics, punctuality, and simply the way to work and handle the work I have in hand are all shaped by the people I learned this from: US Americans; same thing with my expectations of what life has to give, and how to achieve my goals. On the other hand, the fact that I speak with an accent (which I love), that in my house there is often Salsa or music in Spanish playing in my ipod, or that the food I cook tastes very much like the food from the highlands in Ecuador (our main dishes are always - ALWAYS are served along with white rice; my morning coffee is not complete unless I have some bread with it; and I spice every soup with Caldo Maggi which my mom religiously sends to me every year) are all thanks to my Ecuadorian upbringing.
So since we have that clear, I'd go deeper.
I remember a time when I was 16 or so when I felt so lost and fake because I couldn't find something authentic in myself , something that belonged only to me and that formed the basis of my personal identity. I looked everywhere and tried everything, I read books and quoted writers, I listened to this rhythm and that and dressed accordingly, and yet nothing was representative of the way I felt. I believe it took stop paying attention to it and just relax and let my own instincts take over and evolve to finally find who I am.
I’m that girl that always wears jeans – even when it’s like 45 degrees outside and everybody is freakin’ hot, I’m there, with my jeans – and most of the times with my Dr. Martens, orange Dr. Martens ;)
I’m also the one who carries her yellow backpack around, has a tattoo of a phoenix bird in her back, and daydreams non-stop.
And I am sometimes chaos, and order, and … and who knows what else.
If I could be a character in a book, I'd be Death from The Sandman. If I could be a song, I'd be Surrounded, by Dream Theater. If I could be a book, I'd be Paula, by Isabel Allende.
I believe that when I move from place to place I have the chance to recreate myself, and that’s what I do. I add layers and modify behaviors, and I don't take that as I rejection of myself but as an improvement.
For instance, in the past few days I've noticed the change that India caused in me. I feel less shy to talk to strangers, more self confident, less concerned about simple things, I am friendlier.
No matter what I say I guess I'll always run short. So just to give it a closure I'll tell you a memory:
I was 14 years old and I was home, sitting by a desk in my room. I had finished my homework and was watching TV - Bono was on screen and he was singing 'One' in a charity concert somewhere in Europe, and I remember vividly turning my head to face my mom who was sitting next to me and tell her "Someday I want to see Bono play One live".
Fast forward 14 years. Friday afternoon I receive a text message from my friend H saying "do you want to go to the U2 concert next Wednesday in TO?", and I went blank ... and then shrieked. Of course I wanted to! I had been wanting to for 14 years! And just like that we drove to Toronto last Wednesday, and saw Bono sing One (among many other fantastic songs), live.
So I guess with this what I want to say about my identity can be summarized in a sentence: I am a dreamer, who has been fortunate enough to have her dreams come true.
***Esta es la respuesta que quedo pendiente para la septima pregunta de la temporada de caceria***