October 3, 2014
Where the Roads Meet Cesar
Most people are either very happy where they are, they are searching for a place they belong, or they are looking for a place they can better themselves. People either make the choice of where to live because of their family, their job, or personal reasons. While reading Catherine Watson’s, “Where the Roads Diverge,” I was able to relate and connect to her, and the way she described her love for Easter Island and it’s people. Personally I was able to connect Catherine Watson’s life to my own life because of the way she talked about finding a place she belonged and the nostalgic feeling she had once she left Easter Island.
When talking about Easter Island Catherine often talks about a past lover, however her past lover was not a man. “I was enmeshed in a love affair, all right, but it wasn’t exactly with the man I met. It was with Easter Island itself. My island,”(282). While on the island Catherine did have a boyfriend whom she thought she loved and was one of the reasons she stayed on the island. However, she finally realized that she did not love the man, she loved the island and its people, which is why when she talks about the island she calls it her “past lover.” I can relate to Catherine because she loved that island so much. Ever since I moved away from my family and friends I have felt a little homesick, probably because I am really close to my family and being away from them is weird. I don’t just miss my family, but I miss my two homes. I consider Sterling, Virginia and Washington D.C. to be my “past lovers” because those are the places I grew up. Washington D.C. is my eldest lover because we share one of the most important moments of my life, my birth.
Although Washington D.C. is normally depicted as a big loud city where everyone is cursing and yelling at one another during morning rush hour. I knew D.C. as a place where I could walk on the street with my older sister (during the day) skipping to the park to get on the swing set, while my mother yelled, “niños cuidado. Caminen mas despaseo.” Or “kids be careful” or “SLOW DOWN!” because she was tired of skipping and we were going way to fast. However, we moved out of D.C. when I was 6 because there was a shoot out behind my house. My mom yelled from the kitchen when she heard the gun shot for us to go to our rooms, so my sister grabbed my hand and pretty much dragged me up the stairs while my mom grabbed the phone and ran behind us. That is probably one of the scariest moments of my life because I just remember my sister crying and me sitting on my bed playing with my Buzz Lightyear action figure, while we waited for the cops to come and stop the gunfight. 30 minutes later when my dad got home, my parents decided that we were moving out of D.C. to a quieter place. That is when I met the love of my life Sterling, Virginia.
At first when I moved to Sterling, I hated it. The house annoyed me. The kids screaming for the ice cream truck to stop annoyed me. The kids yelling for the ball while playing soccer annoyed me. The school irritated me, not just because it was school, but because it was in Sterling. Although I understood why we moved out of the loud City to the quiet suburb of Sterling I hated it. I felt betrayed by my parents because I left my family (that all lives in D.C.) and friends. Once I started school things got better, not right away because I didn’t know anybody, but once it was time for recess I made a bunch of friends that made me forget my hatred toward Sterling. I’m not sure if it was the weather, which made all of us go crazy or just the fact that we were playing kickball, but we had a hell of a time kicking and screaming. That is when I first realized I had fallen in love with my new home.
When Catherine got to Easter Island she fell in love with it. “By the time I got to South Pacific, I was in my early thirties and I’d been looking for a home all my life-for the place I really belonged, the place where I should have been born,” (278). Catherine was looking for a place she “belonged” or a place where she really connected with someone or just the place in general. She realized that the place she had originally called home wasn’t where she wanted to be. She wanted her home to be Easter Island the place she believes she should have been born. This idea of finding a place to call home is how I felt once I finally settled down in Sterling with my family. I realized that although I loved D.C. it wasn’t the place for me. Sterling is where I made some of my best memories, from meeting my best friend in second grade by kicking him and running away before he tackled me to the ground and got detention with me, to being in my fast car race driving a grey Nissan maxima down route 7 with the windows open blasting “Ghetto Symphony” by A$AP rocky, to graduating high school. Washington D.C. may have been my birthplace but I would consider Sterling, Virginia to be my home. Although I love Sterling, just like Catherine did, I left home, knowing that nothing would ever be the same, and began a new part of my life with a possible love called Roanoke College.
Catherine is a great travel writer because of the detail and emotion she incorporates into her stories. While reading the story the quote that stayed in my mind was, “I still looked for ‘home’ when I was on the road, and sometimes--- on other islands, in tiny towns--- I found it for a while. But never again with the same foreordained, consuming clarity I felt on Easter Island,” (283). While reading I felt as though this quote was about my life, especially now that I am no longer home, but in a foreign and strange area. I am still looking for someplace I belong, whether the road ahead leads me back to my home in Washington D.C., back to Sterling, Virginia or a different place in the world, I know that nothing will ever be the same until I return or find a place where I truly belong.