VENEZUELAN, WHAT’S YOUR PLAN “B”? “MY PLAN B IS TO WORK HARDER IN MY PLAN A”
Ok… so I’ve realized that this blog is starting to feel pretty dark. I mean, most of the things that I’ve written up to know, are kind of sad and frustrating and, although, that’s the general feeling in Venezuela, there is so much more, I know that there are many things I love, the problem is that I keep forgetting it. This is the reason why I decided to list today some of the things that I love about Venezuelans.
1. Venezuelans laugh and are able to make a joke out of EVERY situation: Sometimes people don’t understand us. I remember the first time I lived out of Venezuela. It took a long time to my friends to start understanding my humor, my “inappropriate/out of place” comments that came out in the worse situations (talking to some Italian policemen, after missing the last train/bus back to our city, during the daily prayer in my roommate’s house; or after one of those Osmitzas (find out by yourself what it is) when we walked for hours in the darkness next to the roadway. Venezuelans don’t know what awkwardness is.
Now, DO NOT think that we’re disrespectful (although sometimes we are). It just happens that we live with the idea that laughter is the best remedy for our fears and frustrations. If you’re going to walk in the darkness for hours, next to the road, you better do it laughing.
A good example: Laureano Marquez is an admirable Venezuelan comedian and Political Scientist. He writes articles every Friday for a local newspaper in Caracas. Some time ago, he wrote an article named A Venezuela without Esteban (Esteban would be Chavez, our president. Esteban is also a funny nickname for bandits, in Venezuela). The article describes how Venezuela would be after Chávez leaves the presidency. Of course, the Government wasn’t happy with this article, so they introduced some charges against Mr. Marquez (they accused him for having a “fascist attitude that is willing to bring down the government” [fascist???]). I use this as an example because Mr. Laureano Marquez wasn’t in the best scenario to laugh or to make a joke. It is one of those inappropriate moments that I mentioned before.
When the media asked him what he thought about the government’s reaction to his article, he said (in between other things) that there wasn’t a better advertising than the government, because since the government started talking about his article, people started reading it much more than they did before.
Laureano Marques’ following article in the news paper after the government’s declarations, Cauliflower in Denmark, talked about cauliflowers, and it ended with the question “Is this one [this article] ok?” (The question is asked to the government) =)
You can see some of his declarations and the declarations of the government in youtube
2. In Venezuela, the person next to you in your doctor’s waiting room can end up becoming your best friend. And it happens because we are really talkative. I could talk to rocks if there weren’t humans around me to talk to.
We can make out of everything a reason to have a good conversation. Whether we know or we don’t know what we’re talking about, we’ll talk about it anyways (this could be bad sometimes, but not most of the time). At the Atlanta airport, when I was coming back to Venezuela, I could see how people started interacting with each other, and I swear, no one was alone at the time of boarding the airplane.
This is the beginning of a conversation between the two Venezuelans sitting in front of me at the airplane. They had never seen each other before.
M- …34A… yes! This is my seat. Hi! It seems to me that this flight is almost empty…
S- Oh well… I actually overheard that half of the flight is empty!
M- That’s understandable, who wants to go to Venezuela now? I don’t, but I am not allowed to stay here.
S- What were you doing in the US?
M- I was visiting some relatives, but I also bought some electronic equipment to sell. You know how things are, I have my job but that’s not enough, I have to do some extra work.
S- I understand… hey, are you Gocho? (This is a way to call people from the Andes)
M- Ah! Are you asking this because of my accent? (Really funny accent)
S- Yes! I figured you were from the Andes, don’t think I’m making fun of it, I have an accent myself. I’m from the coast (Margarita Island). Well… it’s more like a mix of many accents. I lived all my childhood and adolescence in Margarita but then I moved to Caracas.
M- So you live in Caracas…
S- No, I live in the USA… my ex-wife and I moved with our kids eight years ago.
M- You’re smart! You left the country before the big mess started.
S- I suppose I am… and I’m glad I did. I come back from time to time to visit my father, and the things I see and hear when I come are really horrible… but I also have to say that there’s not a day that I don’t miss my country and my people. I tell you, it’s been hard to get used to the US manners, but I had to get used to them. My wife is an American.
M- So you married again?
S- Yes I did, my ex-wife married an American too.
M- That’s interesting; do you still keep contact with each other?
S- If we keep contact?! My ex-wife is one of my best friends! She’s the godmother of my last daughter.
M- No way! How do you guys do that? I’ve never heard such a thing!
S- We ended our marriage in peace, in good terms, you know. So there was no reason to stop talking to each other… we also have a daughter! A month ago my family and hers went on vacations for a week. It’s fun.
M- I kind of envy you there! If you just met my ex-wife… I cannot be a 100 meters near her if I want to keep my head on its place.
(Both men laugh and they continue talking for the rest of the trip… the airplane never fills, there are many seats free for both of them to have their own extra space, but they never change seats. They continue talking and laughing instead)
I could continue talking about other things that I love from our people… but this is getting too long and I don’t want you to get bored. The cartoon above describes migration in different places, including Venezuela (so hilarious, but so true).