Dear amiga Carol,
How wonderful to meet another Hispanic in the Poconos! Did you know that Hispanics in Monroe County are a growing population? According to the 2010 Census, the Hispanic population was 13.12% versus the 6.63% of 2000. It doubled! I agree that our community is scattered so it’s harder to meet people. You came from Colombia to the Poconos. I came from Barcelona, to New York to the Poconos. This is what I encountered, from being a city rat to having all the space in the world.
The deer walked through the woods behind our house. She was a big doe searching out melted patches in the snow. My friends in Barcelona cheered ¨Guau¨(Wow in Spanish). I held my computer on the patio while Skype live-streamed our deer six thousand miles to Spain.
Rosa and Chuss had never been so near to wildlife. Where did I live? Was I living in the middle of the woods? No, this was our backyard in Shawnee. I think my friends in Spain always thought of me as a little exotic, but now they were convinced I had ventured beyond the frontiers of the known world.
Everything was so foreign to me in Pennsylvania. The countryside, the weather, driving, the house and all the trees and streams and open space. I felt like a spectator watching a nature movie. I showed my friends in Spain my ‘big’ townhouse indoors and outdoors. “Wow” they said, “your closet is as big as a bedroom.” “It’s called a walk-closet, and they are common in the States,” I replied.
I held my computer with my web cam up to the window. “And look at all these houses that look the same, it´s like the community in Desperate Housewifes.” My friends were fascinated by everything I showed them on Skype. I walked around the house, inside and outside, sharing my new world with them and trying to make them part of it. I played at being a not so ‘desperate’ a housewife by unpacking and using all the closet space. If I was in a movie, when it ended I would go back to the life I previously knew in the city.
By now I had my driving license. I still didn’t know how to drive very well and my sense of direction was terrible. Would I ever feel confident enough to drive without thinking about every move? One of the rare times I drove on my own, I took the car for repairs. It was a small parking lot, and I was the only one around. When I left the owner asked me, “Why are you putting on your turn signal? There’s nobody here”. “I’m a new driver,” I answered,” and I follow all the rules.” I was always thinking what to do before doing it: signal, look, turn, look, stop; avoid potholes. And the tree won’t move, so you’d better go around it.
Meanwhile, my husband liked living here better than I thought. Like me, he had been a city rat most of his life. But he had been raised in a small town in western New York State and could related to the Stroudsburg community.
My friend Fernando bet that my husband would get tired of being in the country and miss his non-stop active life in the city. We gave him two months max. That was in January. By the end of February, we reasoned, he would have had enough. But he loved it more and more as the months passed. Meanwhile I discovered a new world that I would never have known if I hadn’t been forced to move to the Poconos. A fascinating beautiful door was opening for me. But was it a life in which I could ever feel that I really belonged?
Thanks for reading, more next week, your Latina Poconovian. Have a happy day, Christina!
PD… I will post this letter in Spanish in a few days!