This past weekend started off beautifully as I took a five hour drive to North Carolina. Although driving through West Virginia is more treacherous than I would like, it is absolutely stunning. Around every curve of the road is a painting-like landscape of mountains, made even more breathtaking by the fall colors on the trees. Several times I considered stopping and taking a picture, as many people my age would do, to put it on Instagram with the proudest of hashtags: #nofilter.
But with the five-plus hours of opportunity I had to photograph my trip, every time I chose not to. Not just because I’m a George Castanza and love making “good time,” but also because I realized that that’s not how I remember things.
The purpose of my North Carolina visit was to see one of my favorite families in the world. We became extremely close to a family from Colombia who did an exchange while I was in 4th grade, and have kept in touch for over 11 years. Being with my friend and her parents, there was constant reminiscing about 4th grade memories (not always painting me in the best light). But I realized while listening to them, that I had forgotten so much of my experience with them. True, I was only 10 years old, but it still made me sad that I could not remember every single detail.
It was then that I realized why I fell in love with writing. It has always had one purpose for me: to remember. When my grandpa was diagnosed with dementia, my biggest fear became that of forgetting. It was terrifying when it came to the point where my grandfather did not know my name. And that solidified why I write–so that I can always go back and remember. For me, looking at a picture only brings back so much.
So I will write about my visit to remember some of the purest and kindest people in my life. Although my friend and I mostly communicate through Twitter and Instagram, her family feels like my family. Her dad, still shaky in speaking English, told us that love is the universal language. I don’t think anything is more true. I write to remember how, although we speak different languages at times, I still feel like I am at home with family. There are very few other people I have met in my life who are as genuine.
Though I don’t have to write it all down to remember how loved I felt this past weekend, I still write. So that when I am 82 in a nursing home, I will look back and feel just as loved.