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Remembering: the eternal act of the immigrant

The sublime words of Maris Stella Fernández, student of Degrees Philosophy and Literature and Creative Writing, express the most recurrent act of any immigrant: remembering. This is an ode to her beloved Costa Rica and her new home in Spain. A text that promises to bring more than one tear to the eye!


Remembering: the eternal act of the immigrant

I remember arriving in the city, my ears ached from the change in pressure.

I remember the cough that bothered my throat for days. I hate the smell of tobacco.

I remember going down the runway of the plane and reading in large letters: "Pamplona".

I remember travelling on weekends and running to the sea.

I remember the first class where I didn't understand how to lower the seats.

I remember looking for the safety of my favourite Pozuelo biscuits, and finding only unfamiliar packages.

I remember the feeling of pride when I finished the thick book for the exam the night before.

I remember my dad cuddling with the kitten he swore he wasn't going to let me have.

I remember graduating from high school, and naively feeling that I was at the cima of the world.

I remember my uncle sneaking pizza to me and my cousins when our parents had said no. I remember my uncle buying pizza for me and my cousins.

I remember seeing books or curios that my siblings would like, buying them and saving them to give to them months later.

I remember the bruise as a gift when I tried to donate blood.

I remember the freshness of the coke running down my throat in the sun with my friends.

I remember my first sangria in Spain and telling my mother that I was tired when I was actually embarrassed to admit that it had more effect on me than I expected.

Remembering: the eternal act of the immigrant

I remember the Virgin of the Angels, the little black girl.

I remember riding horses every holiday and competing with my brother to see who could go the fastest without falling off the horse.

I remember my dad saying that it hurt his back to get away from the ride without having to admit that he was scared.

I remember making an effort to learn the provinces and their accents.

I remember missing births, and meeting cheeks by video call.

I remember feeling butterflies inside and I remember falling in love.

I remember falling in love with feelings.

I remember falling in love with concepts

I remember that pair of eyes.

I remember teaching my friends to say "Mae" and seeing how it slowly became part of their vocabulary.
part of their vocabulary.

I remember missing seeing my left and feeling safe to have daddy with me.

I remember my older brother's graduation from university.

I remember my younger brother's graduation from sixth grade Degree.

I remember watching both graduations by video call.

I remember feeling lonely walking around the city in the winter.

I remember innocently signing up for excursions in the mountains of Navarre to have to recover physically and mentally for days at a time.
recover physically and mentally for days at a time.

I remember leaving Library Services and being greeted by the thousand colours of a winter sunset.

I remember the laughter during the shower of confetti after each piñata.

I remember the temporary tattoos my dad used to buy me and I remember the horror on my mother's
my mother's face when she saw a tiger and a whale on her daughter's arm.

I remember becoming an adult.

I remember missing Tito Paco's rice and beans.

I remember listening to Celia Cruz on my mobile phone on my way to class to brighten up my day.

I remember admiring my dad for working from 4am to 7pm.

I remember drinking many cups of coffee even if they didn't wake me up.

I remember admiring my mother for always working and studying at the same time, no matter how many degrees she had already
how many degrees she has already accumulated.

I remember the dizziness every time it was time to pay for university.

I remember my mum telling me: first your happiness, then the money.

I remember when my grandfather used to bring us bags full of sugar cane from the farm.

I remember apologising and wanting the earth to swallow me up.

I remember him telling me "don't worry about disappointing your parents, they are already proud".

I firstremember thinking of him as a person rather than a teacher.

Remembering: the eternal act of the immigrant

I remember daddy's hug as he unloaded the suitcases from the car.

I remember the goodbye hug with mummy before going through immigration.

I remember daddy swimming in the sea, and I remember him telling me to stay in the sea.


I remember all the pets that accompanied my life and how much I loved them.

I remember rabbits, turtles, canaries, fish, dogs and cats.

I remember having to live without animals for the first time in 18 years, and being in their company.

I remember learning 7 Navarrese surnames, and one German one.

I remember my mother's teary eyes as she said goodbye and left me on another continent.

I remember dancing salsa in my room, for the first time by myself.

I remember the illusion of finally understanding Latin.

I remember the stories of Iulius et Aemilia.

I remember the applausum meruisti of the magister and the not so meruisti.

I remember losing my faith only to regain it each time at the feet of the Virgin.

I remember picking a bench in the middle of the shops and deciding it was my favourite.

I remember the failed attempts of many people to convince me not to go out in flip-flops in cold weather.
in flip-flops in cold weather.

I remember seeing my little piece of land drifting further and further away through the window of the plane and feeling that everything but my body was
and feeling that everything but my body was staying there.

I remember finally meeting the snow and surrendering to the beauty of a white field.
I remember my mum's "Maris, I've got a lump in my throat" when I told her about some academic
academic success.

I remember the thousand times I sang "I do not envy the joys of Europe, the greatness it contains.
is enclosed in it. My land is a thousand times more beautiful, with its palm trees, its breeze and its sun".

I remember writing and erasing. Writing and crying. Writing and healing.

I remember realising that I am happier here than in the country where I was born and raised.

I remember Pamplona;

I love Costa Rica, my Costa Rica.


If you liked the article, you might be interested in one of our Degrees!

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