“Being in Belgium, I’ve learnt about my country from a different perspective. People who have met me now tell me they have been learning and reading more about my country. It’s been really interesting to share Venezuela with them. I can show all the bad incidents that’s happened, but at the same time I can show the most beautiful beach you will ever see in your life. I’ve also met people who identify as socialists but haven’t lived the effects of socialism. In Venezuela there are significant shortages right now. There are no longer availability of items like toilet paper, sugar, and flour. These things are considered basic goods. If one manages to find them they’re usually very expensive or you have to queue for three hours to buy them.
It’s often difficult for me being so far away from Venezuela. For the first time since I was eighteen I couldn’t vote in the national assembly elections. This was difficult because I grew up in a really politicized country. For me, voting is super important. That day I was so anxious I vacuumed my room seven times.
I really did want to get away for a short period though, I actually wanted to move forever. Coming to Belgium served me well. It helped me identify way more with what it means to be Venezuelan and a Latina living abroad. I started to become more self-aware. I had to leave to really appreciate that.
Living in Brussels makes me miss my mom, It’s always just been the two of us. I’ve had some really difficult days here in Belgium where I’m lonely or homesick, but that will change soon. Recently, the Spanish government passed a law declaring that anyone who could prove they were Sephardic Jews whose ancestors had been expelled from Spain in the 1400s/1500s could be eligible for Spanish citizenship. My mom decided this was going to be her personal project. She made a family tree that dates back to the 1500s, It took her a year. The tree was certified and the next step is to take a test that my mom already passed. I’m very excited to see where this path takes us.”