Today, after almost six years of failures, I will be finally leaving Venezuela with my brother. January 22, 2024 marks the end of a long journey, and the start of the rest of my life.
I must say that this all feels so surreal, I am rather numb right now. The fact that this is finally happening hasn’t still quite clicked on me yet. Perhaps I got so used to failing that it became a natural state for me, or perhaps it’s the severe sleep deprivation finally catching up to me.
All the myriad failures that I went through over the past years have significantly done a number on me, and I’m barely what I used to be at the start of this journey. For the past 3-4 years I’ve felt severely diminished in all fronts, physically, mentally, creatively, and that reflects in much of my work and personal life. I’ve felt stuck, unable to move on, simply withering away with each passing day, one step forward, three steps back.
I had to pause my own passion projects, stopped enjoying things, and paused pursuing some hobbies just so that I could dedicate myself to work on projects that, had they materialized, would’ve resulted in a work visa for me and good stuff for the two of us. Then, once all that failed, I tried one last time at getting Italian citizenship, my first great victory in all of this.
I made a promise to my mother on her deathbed, that I would not just take care of my brother, but that I’d find a way to get my brother outta here and legally migrate to another country, something she was on track to do before her cancer diagnosis.
Fulfilling this promise is all that mattered to me above all else, it is the main cornerstone of how I’ve lived over the past six years, and taking care of my brother is the only reason I had been waking up every morning — otherwise I would had given up long ago, just as I did back in my late teenage years and for which I am still paying the price of. I was one of the last fools remaining in this world that wanted to do things the “right” way and not illegally migrate, and thus I learned too many hard lessons along the way.
My goal was always to find a way to legally migrate out of Venezuela in a way that allowed for my brother to come with me, as there is no scenario where I’d leave him alone (I actually lost a potential job in London because of this). That meant no illegal border crossings, no migration fraud -> asylum claims in the United States like many of my fellow Venezuelans have done, no bribing my way to a BidenParole™ or anything of the sorts.
Venezuela’s political situation further limited my already limited options (due to being a barely educated person). Most embassies closed down in 2019, then COVID happened and well…
Suffice to say, for my case, and especially when you factor my brother, it all ended up being a nearly impossible task. I technically never found a solution to this goal, as legally speaking, my brother is traveling to Italy “on his own” despite me being the one paying for everything and paying for all of his expenses. I’m not his legal guardian or any of the sorts, I merely made a promise to take care of him, and I’ve been doing that ever since and will continue to do so until I die.
I can now safely say that trying to do things the “right” way + my lack of education + and my brother’s case made this essentially impossible — six years of failures can attest to that. Everytime I’d get close to solving the puzzle I’d find a roadblock and then the flimsy plan fell apart, over and over again.
Only a handful of things have gone my way in all of this ever since I started this journey in 2018, and even after getting the Italian passport I kept facing more and more obstacles and setbacks, to the point that right now I am leaving a lot to fate and to uncertainty in this journey to Italy, and I really mean a lot.
The law says that we are Italian citizens but neither of us has ever been to Italy before, our Italian is still quite rudimentary, and our family never allowed us to establish a connection with Italy’s land and culture.
We will be arriving at a northern Italian city on January 23 as two strangers in a strange land, a couple of socially inept siblings with nothing but 3 luggages (1 each + 1 shared), 2 handbags, a bunch of dreams, and a moderate amount of savings.
Coincidentally, and although I forgot the exact date, today more or less marks the 25th anniversary of us moving from Maracaibo to Caracas in pursuit of a better life, something I strongly consider to have been a huge mistake worthy of a crappy Butterfly Effect remake, as that better life never quite came to be, and what few good memories I have are barely able to compete with all the bad stuff — and that’s without even factoring Venezuela’s convoluted modern history that began with the arrival of Hugo Chávez’s revolution to power in February 1999, as those are woes that we’d go onto suffering alongside the rest of Venezuela.
Then again, I would not be the man I am today if it wasn’t for all that, for better or worse. Who knows, had we remained in Maracaibo, I could’ve ended up being a normie, or a doctor perhaps.
I honestly didn’t plan for that coincidence, as I was intending to leave around October-November, it’s just that the holiday season’s flight ticket price hikes is not something I could afford. Waiting until January 22 meant that I could snatch tickets at a third of what their price was at that time.
Starting tomorrow, I have exactly one month to secure a place to rent, get our national ID cards, other documents, and figure out some work details so that I can sustain and take care of my brother in the long run, so it’s not like I’m arriving and instantly going on a vacation, that’d be a most irresponsible use of our savings.
The stress that comes with all of this responsibility is perhaps why I feel so numb right now.
Once that’s all sorted out, though, I want to finally begin moving on, leaving all the bad stuff that I went through behind, and finally start healing so that I can live the rest of my life in peace. I want to be able to regain much of my lost “groove” and be able to finally get my passion project rolling, edited, and published, something I’ve been trying to do for years on the sidelines of trying to leave Venezuela.
Living in the same apartment where I’ve lived in 2001, where you had to see your mom rapidly wither away by cancer, and then continue living here after her death did no favors to me.
I also need to start paying forward all the help and kindness I’ve received for the past 8-9 years or so. I have a massive debt to life and to the world because of this, which I fully intend to repair, with interest.
Who knows, I may visit this country again in the future, nothing really stops me from doing it — besides, I do need to sell the apartment once my cousin finishes her studies, but that’s only if she decides to leave the country, otherwise she can stay here for as long as she wants. It’s my way to not just help her, but to pay my uncle for being such a great man in life.
I’m leaving pretty much everything behind. I don’t care about my bed, television, or any of that material stuff. The only thing that I care for is a bunch of family photos and memorabilia, all of which I packed in a plastic container until I figure out a way to get it shipped. And sure, some of my weeb stuff, which I packed in another container.
My 12-year old desktop computer will remain shutdown and covered in a blanket. It contains a backup of everything, from my novel’s drafts, to memes, and other book projects that I had been working on during the pandemic (the ones that didn’t materialize but could’ve resulted in visas). I already instructed my cousin how to retrieve these files and send then to me should my very old laptop that’s living on borrowed time dies, explodes, or the backup drive that’s in my luggage gets damaged.
I do not know what awaits us in Italy, but come what may, I want us to start a new life without ever forgetting why I am there in the first place. I want my brother to have a future where he can live in peace, where we both find our own happiness.
But first things first. Right now I have a plane to catch.
See you on the other side,