For a long time I wanted to share some travel literature, about the topics that I enjoy the most in life and who better than Clara Oligado for this.
Clara is a writer who was born in Buenos Aires, a political exile and has lived in Madrid since 1976.
In her book “A home away from home” (foreign writing), she shares her experience as a political exile, a book full of analogies, memories, and what it is to take root in the air.
Immigration is one of the issues that touches us the most for all of us who have decided to leave our countries to create “A home away from home”.
Throughout the book, Clara Obligado tells us how painful it is to name what is happening, when you arrive alone in a place where you don’t know anyone. “Feeling locked out.”
A “broken life”, knowing that the return is far away, and being completely sure that where you arrive, you will not find a familiar face.
Clara tells what hurts.
“From summer to winter, from the oblique light of Buenos Aires to the flat blue of Madrid, from the huge avenues to the narrow old streets, from the smell of roast meat to the smell of oil, from the familiar to the unknown, from the affections close to the nothing.
No home, no friends, no job.
In this book we talk about an “outdoor wound”. The hostility that is lived in a strange country, the loss.
I am sharing this with you because a couple of years ago, I arrived in a country that is not mine, I live a life abroad. Almost all places are new to me. The language, the people, the streets, the houses.
Every day I live it starting from scratch.
And I feel like my life can only move forward if it mixes.
“You are not born a foreigner, it is a condition that sticks to you, like a second skin, like a scab, foreign is always the other, in itself the noun implies negation. Stranger, metic, alien, stranger, exclusive etymologies, none of these words sound right. Being defined by not belonging”
The infinite movement of our feet in the world. Is your life like this too?
Clara also talks about what happens with life when you are between two languages.
“Speaking two languages at the same time, superimposing them and weaving secret codes. Add. Pool, pool, pool. I have developed an intimate miscegenation, a collision of languages that perhaps only I understand. To have an unstable language forever”
I write this remembering Jorge Drexler, with his song “Movimiento” where he says that we don’t have belongings but luggage. And between Jorge Drexler and Clara Obligado, I find myself.
And I can understand what happens with my life. A life of pure movement, embracing what is born when one moves towards the constant exploration of life.
“The time has come when we don’t know what it is to go, what it is to return. Among so many lost things, we have lost common speech.”
I hope that this book can accompany you in that foreign life, that you find Clara Obligado’s company as much as I have found it in recent years.