Where the Roads Meet Cesar
Most people are either very happy where they are or are searching for a place they belong or can better themselves. They either choose to do it for a family they hope to have one day or a family they already have and they want a better life. While reading Catherine Watson’s “Where the Roads Diverge,” I was able to relate and connect with it easily. I was able to connect to her by the way she talked about her dream of finding a place where she can call home and the nostalgic feeling she had once she left her “home.”
“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). Catherine Watson’s “ex-lover” isn’t the man she was supposed to marry, but rather it is Easter Island. Catherine often refers to Easter Island as her past lover, not because she had sexual relations with an island, which is impossible, but because of the love she had for the island and its people. I can relate to her on that level, especially since moving away from my family and friends for the first time was a bit difficult and a journey in itself. I guess I can consider Sterling, Virginia or Washington D.C. to be my “past lovers” because it was my home and now that I have left I find myself missing my home.
“By the time I got to South Pacific, I was in my early thirties and I’d been looking for a hoe all my life-for the place I really belonged, the place where I should have been born,” (278). Catherine was looking for a place that she “belonged” or someplace where she really “connected” with someone or just the place in general. She found that in a place she least expected to find it in Easter Island. That attitude was the same attitude I had when I originally moved out of Washington D.C. it was a big change for me moving from a loud city environment to the quiet suburb of Sterling, Virginia. At first when I moved to Sterling, I hated it. The house annoyed me, the kids playing outside irritated me, the school irritated me, and at that time I felt betrayed by my parents because they moved me away from all my friends and family. After I started school I started to make friends again and I began to like the area more. Now that I look back at my life I notice that I met my best friends in Sterling and the best memories I have occurred in Sterling. D.C. may have been my birthplace but I would consider Sterling, Virginia my home just like Catherine did I left home, knowing that nothing would ever be the same.
People that dream of coming to the USA often use quotes like “America the land of opportunity.” Catherine believed in finding a place that she could call home because she left the only place that she truly felt she belonged. I can connect with that on a very personal level because my parents left their home countries when they were younger in search of a better life here in the United States. They had searched for a new place that they could call home that would provide them and their future families with a better life. My father came here when the Salvadorian Civil War was happening, my grandfather sent him to live with his uncle to avoid going to war. My mother on the other hand, lived in the capital of Guatemala and was brought to this country by my grandparents that were citizens when she was 14 years old. They may have come from different places, but they both found a home in America.
Catherine was in search of her ideal home, someplace where she could make a living and prosper because she believe she has yet to find someplace she felt she belonged (except for her ex-lover Easter Island). On a deeper level my connection to her, or rather my parent’s connection to her, is that both my parents and her were looking for a place were they could raise a family and/or settle down. This longing for a place they could call home is more personal then just finding a place to call home, but rather to find happiness in a place they feel more comfortable. After talking to both my parents about their lives in their home country, they didn’t seem happy living there, not because of the poverty they lived in but because most of their family was already in the United States so they wanted a deeper connection to a place they had a family. My parents looking for a home shaped me in the same way leaving Easter Island and traveling the world shaped Catherine.
Catherine is a great travel writer because of the detail and emotion she incorporates into her writings. Her stories are so realistic; they are easy to connect with. My connection to her was with her longing for a home, talking about her “ex-lover.”