At the end of his trip, I asked José to reflect on his journey and experience in the U.S. and to write something for my blog. The following is the words of José as he processes his time here with me and expressed his deep gratitude for the people who made it worth it:
If you know me, you surely understand that writing a summary of my trip to Oregon became quite a challenge as there are many things to write and tell that I could probably write a book of all of the feelings, thoughts and experiences. Although after a lot of contemplation and procrastination the answer to my extreme creativity came to my mind, so here it is-the experience of how I travelled more than 5,000 kilometers (3,500 miles for the readers in the US) to kneel and ask the 4 worded question I thought I would never ask.
As a reader, I want to introduce you to some of my favorite songs because I want to make this interactive, so please make sure to play the songs placed between the paragraphs. If you finish reading, just enjoy the songs and then move forward.
The Struggle – Marooned, Pink Floyd
There I was, after an unexpected separation, preparing my mind and body for one of my least favorite things, getting into a plane. And even worse- during a pandemic. It was already 9 months apart from the love of my life and my body could only repeat to me, “You are claustrophobic, be prepared.” This is where all the other voices from my community became strong, telling me I could make it and that soon, in a blink of an eye I would be there hugging and kissing my girl. Indeed it was not one of the most exciting things to do, however, people from Oregon and fans of the love story that Camille and I are writing, were cheering for me to make it. What a strong feeling it is when you get to see you have the support of so many, even when you feel so small.
I was constantly reminded that when you set a goal and are determined, you can overcome your fears.
Is this real or a fantasy – Dreams, Fleetwood Mac
As Rodrigo de Triana once screamed “Land!” when he saw America, I screamed the same when I landed in Portland, Oregon. I felt that my feet were moving as if I was in a marathon knowing that the best prize was at the finish line. What should I do when I see her?, I asked myself, but I didn’t even have time to answer that question as suddenly I saw her- a girl with golden locks and the answer to all doubts, walking towards me. As if we were two magnets, we were rushed into each other immediately with a simple thought-This is home.
She is indeed my dream come true.
What is all of this? – Down Under, Men At Work
What can I say about Mcminnville? Peace and joy. The unique location where one day in the future I will start a family. This was a wonderful place where I enjoyed really good walks, annoying reminders of the cold weather I have never experienced before, and a lot of rain and wildlife in the middle of the city. I was glad to finally get to see the place and it became so important to me, as my dear Camille grew and was raised there and I enjoyed so much in between all the wonderful things it has. Indeed the land of wine and incredible food, as I tried all the variations of anything you could think of, but as a good meal, the best memory remained with the desire for more.
Sometimes the smallest things can surprise you the most.
Family and Friends – I’d Rather Dance With you, Kings of Convenience
I think this is a space reserved for all the people who made this time in Oregon so wonderful and to whom I feel so thankful for making me feel at home. As an exciting combination of experiences in a music festival, Sunday and Mark, who opened their doors for me to have a warm and lovely place to stay. Under an unknown land of industrial techno, Julian shared his dreams with me and I feel grateful for that. As a good coffee, Nora, who I would be more than happy to share a good conversation whenever she wants. As my latino ally, Jorge, who will soon be married to his great friend and fiance Emily-thanks for showing me the snow. Sean, that I know for sure we will go hiking more when you either come to Guatemala or when I’m back. Camilla, who I had the pleasure of good wine with, but not as good as her companion and an incredible capstone presentation. One of the most special and unique combinations of couples such as Katy and Ben. To finish with of course the lovely companion and warm gesture in a cold sea of Sean, Stacy, Ginger and Jett.
But as the music you are listening to right now, nothing more sweet, incredible and entertaining as Grandpa Jerry and Grandma Terry, a unique combination of Italians that between the food and stories, I felt like home. And of course, the sweet sharing of music taste with my soon to become father-in-law, James.
Last time apart for a, happily ever after.
Only Memories Remain- My Morning Jacket
Imagine this song as Camille and I dance together and look each other’s eyes, just knowing there’s no one else we would rather be with. She is the one who gave me warmth in the cold nights of Oregon, who taught me that things are not what you would expect. Imagine again, having the opportunity of receiving the so long expected “Yes” after I asked her to marry me. Imagine her while she made this stay something that I want to make forever and I trust her completely on what the future may put in front of us.
All of what I went through was worth every second and I want to make it last.