Spain, A Letter That Has Changed My Life

This was hand written through out five days. It expresses my feelings, emotions and my brokenness through out my encounter in Madrid. It is written in chronological order and some of it will not make sense to you but it will for me. I will try to be as clear as can be.

Day One-

At this point in time I’m some where over the Atlantic Ocean. I got to New York earlier than expected, so I changed my flight to Madrid to an earlier flight, ensuring me that I would get to Madrid earlier. I called the Hotel and changed my reservations. As I was checking in for my flight to madrid I was bumped into First class, which is a nice bonus.

Now, I’m trying to reflect on the events of my life that have brought me here. I’m in a haze of emotion trying to figure out what will come next. My mind is scattered and it seems like I’m on autopilot; all the things I do are thing I have to do, I have to go to school, I have to see this person or that person.

So much has changed in my life recently, family, friends, me. Sometimes, I look at myself in the mirror and don’t recognize who I am. I’m a totally different person. Sometimes I wonder, if I where to disappear, would anyone notice?

I have contemplated the notion for some time now, just go somewhere where no one know your name. Where your forced to see yourself in the mirror and get to know yourself.

Death affect all of us, some more than others. For me, I wasn’t close to my uncle; I met him once when I was ten. I was young then, didn’t understand much. It just seems weird that he would leave me something in his will, but then again, I am the next male in the family and by tradition I would be next in line for the ‘Sanchez Estate’ (this includes family heirlooms, real estate, capital, and personal mementos). If this where the case, I have already talked to a lawyer about my situation, the entire estate will be given to the rightful owner, my mom, by signing to receive the estate and then transferring ownership to her. In this legal form, it is expressed that I am not to know what the estate entails, therefore not clouding my judgement. I should get some rest before I land.

Day Two-

Late Morning-

It’s about 11:30 am here, so it should be around 2:30 am back home, I’m tired and jet lagged. Everything here seems very different. I’ve been in Europe before, but it just seems very different this time around. I have been wondering around the city, seeing that I arrived at 10:10, a bit earlier than my 3 pm check- in for my hotel reservations. The more I look around the more it seems that I am really misplaced; I am descendant of a Spaniard, but I have no cultural knowledge, other of the wine tasting and the ability to have late dinners. Other than that I’m in no way a Spaniard. I see the way people interact, how they speak. I feel left out, a feeling of emptiness. I’m just so drained from school and the flight that I barely know where I am. I know that I have to check in my hotel at 3 pm after that I know that I have a meeting with Eduardo for a job in late summer. What I will do in between is anyones’ guess.

I’m not scared of what is to come, I’m just not sure he chose the right person. Let me give you a bit of a back story on my family. My uncle was the first son of my grandmother, then she had my aunt, left her husband for about three years, then had my mother, out of wedlock and what not. My mother’s father was a international business man in Europe. My mother never got to met him. My grandmother when back to her 1st husband and the rest is history. She had more kids but every one just went their own way. My uncle joined the church to become a priest. He has always had a soft spot for my mother even though they are only half siblings. Spanish tradition states that the next in line to get any estate would be ones offsprings, but seeing that he has none, it goes to the one next generation in line which would be my older cousin, but he has been ‘missing’ ever since I was five. Therefore I’m the one to receive this estate. It just seems that I’m receiving this because of all the problems in my family. I hate that Spanish tradition oversees the women of my family. I mean my mother could have gotten this seeing as she is the oldest living sibling. Heck he could have split the estate with all his siblings. Why give it to me? I don’t want to deal will this. I need to take a sedative…..

Late night-

Everything seems to have quite down around here; maybe that has to do that it’s 2 am. There really isn’t much to write about, I checked in and my room is awesome, I went out to check out the hot spots here and its very pretty. After that I came back to my hotel room and slept until an hour before my meeting with Eduardo. The meeting went well, we met a very upscale Euro club, called ‘la boca del diablo’ needless to say I had some drinks while talking business. in the middle of our informal interview I was ask to show my talents, I say it was ok with me. Eduardo informs me that the studio is only a couple blocks away.

We get there a bit slowly seeing that we had very good vodka, but I’m not drunk just a bit tipsy. He shows me his ‘Studio C.’ I all have to say is that if that is their studio c then I will wet myself if I see studio A. Then after is turned on I start mix on some raw material they had recorded a few days back. After about half an hour, he turns to me and tell me that, I have a very distinct mixing style. “You mix like a Brit with the grooves of a New Yorker and the kick of a LA kid.” I turned and told him, “I’m originally from LA, moved to New York and studied under a Brit.” Needless to say he was a tad impressed, and he like the way I spoke spanish. After about 15 minutes I finished the mix and I was told to expect a call in the next few days.

Right now, I’m trying not to think to hard about tomorrow. I need to focus on the task on hand, I need to go to the bank and then catch the train to Zamora, there I will do the rest of my business.

Day three-

I woke this morning to some light rain, I didn’t give it much thought seeing that it is winter and what not. I was nervous. I had anxiety but my meeting with the lawyer wasn’t until later of the day so I took another sedative, trying to calm my nerves. I got ready and when to the bank to see that all my finances are in order. This is the first time anyone in that bank sees me, it’s the first time I have ever been in that bank. To say the least I was a tad shocked when I went in and saw that this was not ordinary bank. This bank is a very upscale bank which only cater to the few and privileged, something I am not. I have an account due to the caring nature and high standing of my deceased uncle. This is the same bank where my trust is. But I cannot see what that trust is until I’m 21. It took me about 15 minute to get through security and then I had to show that I was who I say I am. They do not take a US ID at all, they say it too easy to fake. Therefore, I had to show my Spaniard Passport. It was just very weird, the bank teller and I had to turn keys to open the box where my transactions are stored. But everything seems to be in line with records.

After that I went out for some lunch, before I headed to Zamora for my meeting. As I caught the train, it hit me. What the hell am I doing? I could take this estate is given to me, drop out of school and just write my ticket in the US or even here in Europe. Then, questioned I myself. why I thought that.

The train trip was short, Zamora is about 150 kms ( about 75 miles) out side of Madrid. I got there and I did what I had originally planed, I gave them the letter from my lawyer saying that I didn’t want to know what the estate entailed, I would sign to validate the transfer of ownership, and I, in turn, would transfer ownership to my mother. What surprised me was that his lawyer knew that I was going to that. I was a bit shock to say the least. The estate will be in my mother name and she could do whatever she wants with it. But I was not called to Spain for the transfer of an estate. In his will, he clearly stated that I, Kenneth Roland Rodriguez (Spainish Passport, “Rolando Rodriguez”) will have his personal journals and a letter that will be given to me personally in this place.

Journals and a letter? I know most people might the wondering why? I don’t know. What I do know is that the letter was written the day before he died. It talk about how he admires my determination, and my strong will to break tradition to follow my dreams. He goes to explain that he knew he was dying but didn’t tell anyone, he didn’t want peoples pity. He ends with a heed of warning (translated in to english from spanish) “Live life without regrets, live your life and not the one your parents want for you. Sometimes you have to break tradition, disobey parents and just run away from everything to be truly happy.” As I read the letter, I could not stop the tears flowing from my eyes. This was a man I barely knew, but was saying exactly what I need to hear. I now regret not spending the time to know this great person. Maybe this is so ironically that I don’t understand; this person had to die for I to take and interest in his life, so my life can change.

I haven’t started reading the journals yet, and these aren’t any normal journals, these are those big leather bonded ones.

After all of this I headed to my aunts house and met my family once more, after ten years of absence.

Two of my cousin, Carolina and Veronica, where there so we went back to Madrid and , hit up a few of the colleges and crashed parties. Oh, did I mention that this is during Carnival? Hey its going to be the only night I will be able to get hammered, but I really know how to hold my liquor so I’m not that hammered.

Day Four –

Today was my last day in Spain. I really didn’t do much other than figuring out why my uncle wanted me to have his journals. I went back to Zamora to leave my cousin back at home and say good bye to my family here. Recapping on the whole experience I would had liked to visit without a reason, other than to see them. I enjoyed spending time with my cousins, Carolina and Veronica. I can’t believe I went party crashing with them.

As I read the most intimate thoughts of my uncle, I notice that he did not want to go into the church. The church was his only way out. According to him, he wanted to become a musician, but his parent disapproved of his aspirations of going into music instead of business. He went into the church as a way to still be involved in music as a priest that would be direct a choir or something like that.

Hopefully as I read more and more about his life I will come to understand how me and him are closer than I originally thought. As I go through my life, I now know that there are people that support my decision with breaking traditions, and cutting off parts of my family to ultimately being happy with my life’s work.

Hopefully when I get back to the States I will no longer be the person that blends-in in a crowd. I hope that I will be able to live my life without regrets and be able to go for the things I wouldn’t normally do.

I have learned much from my uncle…. May his soul be in peace. Uncle, I don’t know where you are, but all I can say is I miss you, even though I never really knew you.