by Gerardo Rafael Cantu
(Kailua - Oahu, Hawaii)
A family of fisherment - Veracruz, Mexico
I've been traveling since I was a little kid. I was 2 the first time my mom took me to Mexico city. I remember a moment when she put me in a shopping cart and went looking for stuff. There was another little boy in a shopping cart close to mine. We started gazing at each other and did some funky mind meld where we weren't talking but both decided to get closer to each other...it was my first little gay romance!!! We were able to reach each others' hands and started pulling until we both fell over - carts and all!! Next thing I remember, my mother was getting ice from the fish market and I was looking at the fresh octopi with their ink sacks. I was hooked! Mom took my sisters and me to Mexico every summer until my grandparents moved to the border.
In college I had the amazing opportunity of doing a semester in Rome, Italy. I took an intensive Italian course and dressed so much like them that they would stop and ask me for directions in Italian all the time! I literally had culture shock and a mini-nervous break down coming back to the US!!! Because I loved how people lived day to day over there and what was important, was their relationships and not that their toilet paper was soft and ultra absorbent!
I was a flight attendant in the early 90's and was able to travel to all the capital cities in Central America. But I guess my favorite trip so far was when I went to Cambodia to visit Angkor Wat and the children that live on the Tonle Sap river. The light in these children's eyes touched me so deeply. It was like their hearts were looking directly at me through their eyes with an unconditional positive regard that was so palpable.
I love understanding my world. The more I see of it, the more I get a better panoramic view of it. I get to experience similarities that underlie our humanity and the differences that allow me to realize just how unique we are as individuals. The more I see of my world, the more I love it. I feel compassion in parts of it and celebrate unabashedly in others. The more I learn about my world, the more I learn about myself.
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