Cuevano ~ Jorge Aranda

Neither here nor there

You may have heard that Toronto elected a new mayor this week, a man about whom the best I can say is that he has a pretty potent voice. I was dreading his election for a while before we moved to Victoria, since I started reading more and more angry comments in online news articles on Miller, the previous mayor, and seeing fellows with “Rob Ford” buttons on the subway. On election night I was glued to my computer, exasperated with the results, reading anything I could find on the topic, and wondering how will the new political situation play out.

A couple of days later, after reading some article on Ford to Val over dinner, I realized there was something incongruent going on with me: though I cared very much about what would happen to Toronto under him, I didn’t even know the name of the mayor of Victoria, the city in which we actually live, much less his policies or initiatives. It was as if my mind was still living in Toronto and I refused (or didn’t care) to grow roots in my new town.

And I noticed this had happened to me before, when we moved from León to Toronto. I would be reading Mexican news intensely, while I barely cared about local Canadian politics. Back then we thought we’d only be in Toronto for a couple of years—in parallel to our current situation—, which perhaps made me feel uncommitted to my new environment. But eventually I started to care more about Toronto, to feel an inner warmth whenever I returned from a trip, and to get informed and involved in my community. I kept interested in Mexican affairs, of course, but differently: from afar, not from an artificial within. My interest or lack of interest for local politics was a symptom of my degree of adaptation to my new home. I can see it happening again today.

So now my life is split in three places: the one I first knew, and that grows slightly more foreign every time I visit; the one I just left, to which my unconscious still takes me in my dreams and worries; and the one where I am and should be, still rather unknown and strange, until I gradually decide to truly turn to look and discover it.