Or new ones made. Why isn't that part of the song?
A discovery, a juicy one: A person can be reinvented without changing a single thing about themselves. Just change location. A change in surroundings and in people suddenly throws your same borrowing old personality into a new light and you are at once a bright shining new human and your same old same old, one in the same.
Listen: Google maps can't find a way to get from Paraguari, Paraguay to Hudson, Michigan but it seems to be just under 5,000 miles as the crow flies (ask my Mom, she knows a more specific number to which she cries herself to sleep every night). In spite of that seemingly insurmountable number and lack of driving directions, I'm closer with my parents now then I've ever been in life and luckily for me that also goes for a couple of bright shining little stars of friends who are practically family as well. That should be it. My luck should be run out because relationships like I've harbored in the last year are priceless.
But, alas! Look at me in Paraguari. I've reinvented myself as this mysterious norte who at least a few people seem to love. The l word I'm using and I mean it. I am at once a different person here and absolutely myself. I'm my father's daughter and somehow yet 100% the granddaughter of an 86 year-old Paraguayan abuela who I take naps with in the afternoon. She tells me about birthing her children like they're my brothers and sisters. And I think they are.
Two days ago my host mom was staring off into the south (AKA the side of abuela's house), letting the wind hit her face and looking worried. "La yvytusur," the southern wind, she said, "ombohasyta enteroveva." It's going to make us all sick. That's just how it is, she told me. The southern wind always does this to our family. She asked me if I couldn't feel it taking my spirit away? Yeah, I could feel it. The next day I was feeling down (psychology!!) and she took my hand between hers while we were eating lunch and said to me, as she has before more times than I can count, "That's how I know you're my daughter. We feel the same things in our hearts."
Somehow, when the sappy, emotional, spirit-of-the-earth things are said in another language I don't mind them so much. Somehow when a woman who was a stranger 9 months ago tells me she knows I was meant to be her oldest daughter I don't feel disloyal to my own mother, I just feel incredibly lucky to have two moms. Who would have thought?
To catch up on the 23 years she missed before I popped up on her doorstep, her much-anticipated long-lost first-born, Matchi often asks me about my infancy and my habits as she already knows Jessica and Alvaro's. She now knows when I was born, how long it took, that my mom had an urge to make pasta before she went to the hospital and plenty of anecdotes from the years in between then and now.
To catch up on the years I missed, my body and mind are both syncing up with the family. When abuela has a headache so do I. When abuela gets dizzy so do I. When abuela has the hiccups so do I. Of course I rarely realize that it's happening until later and I say, "Mama, my head hurt all day yesterday," and she tells me without surprise that it was because of abuela. Oh. Of course.
I don't know if I'll teach my future children that the south wind makes us sad and spiritless and that the north wind makes us feel crazy and listless but I know this stuff's too important to lose. And should old acquaintance be forgot..... wait, no! I'm absorbed in my life here but that's the crazy part: I haven't forgotten my old acquaintances nor have they forgotten me. Well, the few faithful and dedicated anyway. It turns out they are the rock upon which this kingdom of dreams is built upon. So thank you old acquaintances. You allow me the luxury of making new ones with some stability waiting behind me. And thanks for not forgetting me because even though I'm in a totally new setting with new people doing new things- I'm still me.