Introduction

My name is Valentina Stantic Rojas. I was born in Arica, Chile in the year 1950 to mother Anna Stantic Rojas and father Adam Stantic Rojas. It is now 1968 and I just turned 18 a few weeks ago and have been reflecting much on my past 18 years. My grandmother on my mother side game me a journal to record my thoughts, good recipes, words of wisdom, and important memories. She told me on my 18th birthday that she has been keeping a journal since she was 18 and will let me read them when I turn 21, if I as well write down my thoughts. I asked my mother if she had kept a journal and my mother shook her head, explaining that she didn’t like writing things down and that she had always been to tired at the end of the day. But I want to read my grandmothers journals and see hoe she viewed the world when she was my age so I am determined to record my thoughts and memories here. So here it goes.

As you may already notice my father does not originate from Chile, he is indeed from Croatia and immigrated here in his late twenties with his two brothers in search for work and better opportunities. When my father was young, many of his friend’s families made the move to Chile as Croatians have done for many years, but his family wanted to stay in Croatia, especially his mother did not want to leave her homeland for a far and distant country. After my father had finished secondary school, he searched for work but found none that satisfied him. He decided with his brothers to try their luck in Chile where mining industries offered good jobs and there was already a sturdy base of Croatian immigrants. For my father the decision to leave was, as he always tells me the best he had ever, made. The three brothers first moved to Punta Arenas, in the far south but after a year of work my father decided to travel through Chile and find better work, as he found the overwhelming amount of Croatian immigrants in the city to stifling. He wanted to see and explore this new country and improve his Spanish. He left alone. His brothers stayed but returned a year later and are now living again in Croatia. My father found his luck in the far north of Chile in a port town called Arica, close to the border of Peru, as a port worker. When I was younger he told my of his adventures traveling from the far south to the north, stories that always excited and fascinated me and made me want to travel as well. This is of course where he met my mother, Anna, who was born and raised in Arica. My grandmother was seamstress and taught daughter her daughters, Anna and my aunt Silvia, the trade as well. I have two younger brothers, Vicente and Tomas, ages 13 and 16. They are very different than me but we do all get along well for the most part. My aunt from my mother’s side, Silvia, lives close to us and works together with my mother, both seamstresses as my grandmother. My grandparents live on the other side of town, but we get to see them every Sunday after church and my grandmother often stops by after school with some fresh fruit or fish from the market for us three. My aunt Silvia had three children as well 2 girls, Catalina (age 20) and Natalia (age 17) and 1 boy, Pablo (age 15). Catalina and I get along and have similar friends but I am closed to Pablo. He is smart, witty and creative, and is always willing to adventure with me. Natalia is a sweet but quiet girl who spends most of her time reading.

Since my fathers family all are still in Croatia I have never met any of them but only know of them from the stories and pictures that my father shows us. I hope that one day I can meet his mother as she sounds so sweet and kind (and she apparently makes the most delicious cakes!). Maybe one day I will be able to make the long journey to see them and see my father homeland, a goal that I have in my lifetime. Though he doesn’t say it, I think he misses his home and his family and wishes as well that he could return some day, just to visit. He writes many letters and I sometimes write notes or make him sent photographs so that they know whom I am. Anyway, I must go to sleep otherwise I will not be able to wake up for school tomorrow. Good Night!

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Introduction

  1. ssvolk says:

    Hello, Valentina. What a treat to read about your family. Although it must be hard to have some of your grandparents in Croatia, you are also lucky to have so many good family members close by you. And your grandmother was so wise to get you to write in a journal! Tell me about your brothers and what you like to study in school. What is it like living in Arica? Are you in the middle of a desert?

  2. valentinastanticrojas says:

    Sorry for the late response- Arica had a mild desert climate, we see a range of extreme temperatures, and as far as rainfall, we are one of the driest cities. Yet, near our city many valleys are fruitful. One of them, Azapa Valley, grows the delicious Azapa olives that are then transported elsewhere via the ports- where my father works. My father always reminds me in the heat of the summer when my brothers and I complain about the lack of rain that we should be happy we live in Arica as it is economically very important for Chile- without our valleys and ports Chile could not trade so well.

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