Yani Canetti
   
I Am
I Write
I Have

I Think
I Say
The Say
I Do
I Confess
I Share
You Share
       
  My Family
My Sons
My Friends
My Teachers
My Editors
My Country
Mi País

I do not have a country. I was born in Cuba, but my family came from a very distant and different place. My family came from Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and everywhere else imaginable... probably even Timbuktu.
One of my great-great grandfathers was born in Florence, Italy, and emigrated to Brissago, Switzerland. My great grandfather was born in Brissago, Switzerland, and emigrated to Madrid, Spain. My grandfather was born in Madrid, Spain, and emigrated to Brissago, Switzerland, then to Geneva, then to Bern, and finally to Havana.

I was born in Havana, but I moved to California, then later to Massachusetts. My sons were born in Massachusetts, but it wouldn’t surprise me if one day they leave for some other part of the planet.
My country of birth does not exist. I have returned to the place where it was supposed to be, but neither the house nor the neighborhood friends are there. Nothing is how I left it. I find fragments that get my hopes up, but too many pieces are missing. I know that everything is the same, but at the same time, it’s not.

My country is the country of memories. I travel with it. It travels with me. It is made of all the lands that my ancestors spent part of their lives in, and which they described again and again to their children and their grandchilden so that no one would forget what that place was like.
I do the same thing. I tell my children about a country where there was a distribution warehouse on the corner, a bread line, black beans, the cannon being fired at nine, Russian dolls, puppets, sporadic toys, the mythical overaccomplishments, the Calabacita and the slogans, and the clear and warm ocean. But I also tell them about the country I heard my grandparents talk about. With the passing of the years, I mix trips and landscapes, reinventing that country where I want to live forever; the country of happy memories. 

 

 
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