Can you believe that 2022 is over? I can scarcely believe it.

From starting January tired and amidst one of my lowest points to ending December even more tired but actually having won for once and full of hope towards the future, 2022 sure wasn’t a smooth year, but it winds down as a turning point towards the start of my future and a new era of my life.

Here’s some personal ramblings about how things went for me during these past twelve months of my life:

The gambit

I started 2022 basically defeated and demoralized after everything I had been working for between 2020 and 2021 crumbled in the span of a few hours during mid-November 2021. Had things gone better, all of that would’ve been a very important breakthrough for me — suffice to say, the outcome of that week threw me into a depressive spiral that spilled over to January 2022.

Defeated and depressed as I was, though, I did not stop taking care of my brother, not even for a single moment. I basically went through the first half of January in a sort of autopilot mode, just focusing on taking care of my brother and nothing else. My 34th birthday came and went, and it was hard to be cheerful on that day after my monumental defeat 2 months prior.

Still, just as I was in one of my lowest points in life, two surges of hope came to me when I needed them most.

One of them presented me with a very possible path towards moving to Spain with my brother and requesting political asylum there. Spain is one of the few remaining countries that are receptive of Venezuelans (within reason) and do not have visa requirements for Venezuelan passport holders.

The other ray of hope came in the form of a friend, who, a couple days after my birthday, encouraged me to try again at obtaining Italian citizenship for my brother and myself, even though at that moment in time I did not have a single piece of documentation that could help me in that regard.

Both options were gambles of their own, neither of which had a guaranteed 100% success rate at a happy ending. The two paths are incompatible with one another, so going one route would essentially lock me out of the other, and vice versa.

I gotta confess that I was getting ready to go with the first one and was starting to get prepared towards making a desperate blind jump towards Spain and let fate take care of the rest — however, I really sat down with myself and began to think things through, as in the end, my actions not only dictate my future, but my brother’s as well, so no pressure or anything, right?

Ultimately, I decided to give the whole Italian citizenship one third and final attempt, as, based on publicly available information, this was something that I absolutely needed to do while still residing in Caracas, as attempting to do it in a third country would’ve made all of this even more difficult than it was.

It was still a gamble with zero guarantees that I would get it, and I had to basically sacrifice the remaining time on my current Venezuelan passport in order to achieve it, thus basically sacrificing the means to travel to Spain in the process.

And that’s how I locked in the next ten eleven months of my life.

The 2022 Jus sanguinis arc

At that that point I had nothing to lose except time, money, and what’s left of my sanity, as I had exhausted every single option at obtaining a pair of visas as Venezuelans, and my best options at that particular point in time were either seek asylum in Spain (which I was very close to start doing), or do the dangerous journey of illegally entering the United States, which everyone justifiably advised me against.

And so, after sticking a bargain with my dad in January in exchange for the one photocopy of the most crucial document that allowed me to do all of this (which he gave me in February), I started the long grind of obtaining every single oher piece of documentation required to:

1) Solve 30+ years of bureaucratic neglect stemmed from my dad’s lack of due diligence at the right times, which I now had to solve on my own — twice because of my brother.

2) Request Italian citizenship via right of jus sanguinis.

3) Request Italian passports, which I could only do if and only if I was successful at the previous 2 goals.

I documented every step of this journey on this website, every progress, obstacle, setback, and its ultimate triumphant resolution to the best of my ability because I originally said that I wanted to share this journey with you all no matter the outcome.

I’ll confess that I started this journey towards Italian citizenship with zero hopes that it’d work out in the end, as I’ve tried twice during 2015-2016 and during 2019, both times ending in failure.

Third time’s the charm I guess.

I also spent a rather hefty amount of time money to get everything required/legalized/apostille/translated, but it was way more than worth it, as I now hold in my hands the means to travel around with my brother.

How do you do, fellow Europeans?

I still believe that I was only able to pull this off because of the continued support, wishes, and prayers of everyone that lended their strength to me during that journey, without all that I would have certainly failed.

It’s one of those things that I’ll always be grateful for.

There’s one more step to go before we can leave the country, and that is renewing our Venezuelan passports. This is something I’ll be dealing with between January and February.

This is mandatory because as of July our Venezuelan passports are under the international six months rule, which makes it rather useless for travel — also, being a dual citizen means nothing here, as Venezuelan law states that if you hold Venezuelan nationality you must exclusively abide by it while in Venezuelan borders above any other nationality that you may hold, and that includes leaving through an airport, for which you’d need a valid Venezuelan passport.

This is only a matter of time (1-2 months) and money ($215 each), no extra convoluted documents or anything.

My health throughout 2022

This is one of the most convoluted aspects for me during 2022. While I thankfully had no urgent or major health complications, I overall spent the year being sick in and out like a rollercoaster, which obviously slowed me down more often than I’d like to admit.

Perhaps it was all the accumulated stress paying its toll on my body, but I really took some nosedives, and I barely just started to recover as of a few weeks ago, although I still feel anemic very oftenly.

Mentally wise, yeah, depression is a bitch, but now I have hope, and just need to keep going because I’m almost at the start of a new chapter of my life.

I’m now days away from turning 35, that’s more or less half of my life gone if either the history of sarcomas in my mom’s family and cardiac problems in my father’s family have their way with me. I need to honestly learn how to take care of myself and actually give a damn about my health and weight, because I can’t keep going like this if I’m to achieve my goals next year. Gotta get healthier, in shape, and I suppose start working on my personal appearance, even though I never care about it that much.

Time to cut off on bread and carbs, and exercise for real.

Swords, Sinners, and Content

This was a most improductive year when it comes to content creation, which has me bummed and disappointed at myself.

In order to achieve my goals at the Italian Consulate I essentially had to put most of my personal interests on hold, including hobbies, entertainment, content creation, and many more, but most importantly, my lifelong passion project, The Vaifen Saga.

I haven’t given up on it, I simply had to put it aside in order to deal with the most absurd bureaucracy labyrinth in my life. My original intention was to resume work on it during the waiting time period between having filed everything for citizenship and the moment we’d get approved, but I had stuff going on in my life that prevented me from doing so in a proper manner. I also kinda focused on bringing closure to some personal stuff during those months as well.

When it comes to Sword, I’m in the same roadblock as I was back in January: Currently, I have a complete draft that needs to be edited before I can publish it, I also need to hire an artist for the cover art.

I’ve abstain myself from spending our escape funds resources on Sword because let’s be real, getting outta here is more important, and if in the near future I find myself in a position where I’d have to request help via crowdfunding for travel purposes or for getting Sword published, I’d pick the former.

As such, I’ve decided that once I’m settled abroad I’ll resume work on it and get it published, that was my original plan all along anyways. The same goes for Sins, I hope to start resuming work on it soon as well.

In the meantime, I’ll be planning to do a soft-relaunch of everything Vaifen related in this website, including the lore previews (which I’ll be adding more), and finally go public with the new name for the series, which I knew had to happen before I could launch it anyways.

The same can be said for this website, I want to revamp it and finally go into making more varied content for it, including fun stuff, more memes like before, and maybe some video content.

On Venezuela

Same old tale of inflation, public utilities woes, and no real solution to our political crisis in the near future. Everyone’s forecasting the return of hyperinflation next year and I kinda believe it, since everything almost doubled in price this year alone and I find myself spending so much more on the same groceries lately…

That’s about it. Maybe there’ll be a rigged election in 2023, maybe it’ll happen in 2024, it’s all the same, really.

On my future

I don’t know what 2023 will bring for me, but let’s be real, things are royally messed up everywhere, there’s no sugar coating that fact.

Be that as it may, my advice as a fat lonely Venezuelan that barely knows anything is to keep going, I guess. There are things you will never be in control of, just focus on what positive changes you can do, even at a local community level, over time, things should work out for the better, that I believe.

That’s more or less what I plan to do in the future once I start a new life. I have no real desire of politics or power, all I hope to do is to is build things that allow me to give my brother a better life and that I can leave to my children in the future, and obtain the means to help others and pay my debts to the world by helping others, that’s about it.

I honestly think I’m too mentally scarred by everything that happened over the past years that I still have trouble processing the fact that things are indeed finally going my way and that I’m months away from leaving this country.

It’s like, I still can’t believe that I actually pulled off the Italian passport thing after failing twice in the past. It’s one of those ‘why would something good happen to me?’ kinda scenarios, you know?

Like I said, I’m days away from turning 35 and from starting a new chapter of my life, eventually I will have to find my own happiness in life as well. For once, I want to finally live and feel alive.

In terms of the next steps towards leaving Venezuela now that I have the means to leave with my brother with me, what I need to do over the next months is figure out where we can arrive at in terms of finding work / housing & food costs and that kinda stuff.

Whether it’s on an European country, the United States (if I can get a work visa or something like that), Canada (ditto), or somewhere else, I really wanna travel to the United States first for a few weeks as a sort of vacation (first one since 1999) and to meet friends — also because flights from the U.S. to whatever place we’ll end up at are substantially cheaper than traveling from Venezuela and its very limited flights, so there’s that.

There are some pending affairs here that I’ll see if I can manage to solve over the next few months. If I can solve them then great, if not then whatever, I’m not stopping because of them, it is what it is.

Happy New Year everyone, and thanks for sticking by and reading through this mess. Here’s to a brighter 2023 for all of us, where, despite everything that’s happening, we find our own happiness in life.

See you in 2023,