I’ve continued to bring closure to my atypical life down here, slowly, but surely, wrapping up my affairs small and large alike, because soon, if all goes well — and God willing — I will be starting a new chapter of my life, and while I know it won’t be easy, it’s very much a necessity if I’m to finally heal and start achieving my dreams.
I’m not going to lie, the wait is killing me, so to speak, and I’m still only at the halfway point of the ETA that I was given before I can continue onto the next steps. You have no idea how much I want to leave all of the past years of my life behind, and be ready to fight my way towards building something good and lasting for my brother and myself.
There is one item on my checklist of things that I have to do before I leave that, while not having any legal weight whatsoever, it is of great importance to me, and that is preserving what photos still remain of our past memories.
There are large gaps of my life that either weren’t preserved through photos, and some have been lost one way or another. There is still, however, bulks of photos from specific moments of our lives, some of which I cherish deeply, such as photos of the last months of our live in Maracaibo, before we moved to Caracas in 1999 — a crucial turning point of no return in my life full of what ifs that I need to get over with.
There used to be many photos of my early years, and photos of the early years of my parents’ married life that stayed in the possession of my father. That was always a heated point of discussion between my parents following their divorce, as my dad never complied with my mom’s requests pertaining to those pictures.
Still, I do have this one picture of 4-5 year old me alongside a handful others of that time
It is, after all, the best picture there is of me, nothing will ever surpass it.
After finally sorting through my mom’s stuff I went in and collected all of the photo albums she had stored, as well as some miscellaneous photos that were kept in some very old containers. There aren’t many pictures of us from the early 00s, but there’s a good handful, many of which are worth preserving as a foundational basis for my own heirlooms for the future.
Paradoxically, as we moved away from traditional photography and into the convenience of the Smartphone era, many of the pictures taken during the late 00s are gone. Neither my mom nor I really had a culture of backup and file preservation back then, nor did we had (or relied on) the power of The Cloud™ like many do nowadays. Furthermore, I wasn’t fond of getting pictures of me during my angsty and aimless teenage years — I still don’t because in all honesty, I hate how I look.
Thankfully, I had some foresight and was able to make backups of the pictures in my mom’s old phones during the course of the 2010s, which I managed to rescue one by one out of dead or faulty laptops. So now I count with a scattered amount of pictures of my brother and I that go all the way back to 2008, and some work pictures of my mom from 2006 and onwards.
I say thankfully because none of her phones work right now.
I was able to recover the last photo the three of us took together: a slightly out of focus selfie taken on our last New Years eve where I’m barely in the frame, the picture was taken with a 2010 smartphone’s front camera. The phone’s display stopped working in 2019 but its touch screen still worked, so I was able to do a full recovery.
There’s also some framed pictures in our living room, including what I believe is the oldest existing picture of my brother and I together.
This is the oldest picture I have of me with my brother, I was 7 at the time.— Kaleb (@KalebPrime) July 9, 2022
You can be damn sure I'm taking this with me when we leave. pic.twitter.com/HQLaaXuSn9
There’s also some very treasured pictures of my mom, grandmother, uncle, and aunt that I keep on top of an old table next to a picture of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, where I often light a candle in prayer — I’ll most certainly take those with me.
Yet, one thing is certain: I can’t bring all of the existing physical photos with me.
I’m estimating that, excluding hand luggage (which is where I’ll be bringing this old laptop and some important documents), I can only bring about 23 kilograms of stuff with me on my luggage, that’s it, everything else stays behind.
So naturally, the solution to the nonproblem is the power of TECHNOLOGY. I’ll be bringing all of those pictures with me in digital form, a process I’ve slowly been tackling in small bursts of 600dpi scans through our old and trusty scanner. Since I don’t have the space in my tuna can sized bedroom (which is also my ‘office’) for this, I’ve reserved most of our dining table for this task until it’s done.
Since I do need to get an external hard drive to backup my project files, I’ll throw a copy there, and perhaps keep a copy somewhere in The Cloud™ just in case because you never know.
I must confess that these pictures are bittersweet to me, because many remind me of better times, and they kinda hurt me in a way because they act as a reminder of the fact that, had I gotten my shit together as a teenager, I would’ve lived a different life perhaps — the same could be say about moving to Caracas in 1999, it really had a lot of negative effects on my social skills and whatnot, alas, it is what it is, and we moved because our economic situation at the time demanded it so.
As I worked to recover and consolidate all of the pictures I could get out of her old laptops and phone backups, I came to a rather sad realization.
My brother has told me several times that he barely remembers things from his past — especially stuff before his brain surgery in the early 2010s. That means that there’s God knows how many good memories between him and my mom that are now gone, unpreserved by memory or photography, especially if you consider that I worked abroad for three years, so there was a period of time when it was just the two of them.
That’s why these pictures are so important to me, even if there’s large gaps in our timeline that are not preserved by them.
I want to preserve the pictures of those past good times and bring them with me because they serve as a reminder that everything I’ve done so far and everything I will do over the next years of my life is so that I can build better times for my brother, where we can both live happy like we used to in 1998.
I also want to preserve as many photos of my mom as possible because I want to remember her how she was back then rather than the final years of her life, after cancer progressively took her health away. Thankfully, I was able to find many pictures of her among her old devices that show her just how I want to remember her: healthy, happy, and doing the thing he loved doing, being a doctor.
Scanning and organizing these pictures is bittersweet, I can tell you that much. It reminds me that I never really healed from everything I’ve been through, and that I simply just bottled it all up, which is why I’ve been so off balance (creatively speaking) as of late.
One day perhaps, one day I’ll get to address all of that and move on, once I’m no longer in this country.
Until the next one,