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The Andreas

My name is Andrea. My name was bestowed upon me in honor of my father’s mother, who died before I was born, who’s legacy I carry with me everyday. My name has meant a great many things to me, but it has always served to remind me of the importance of family. Recently I met another Andrea, who’s kindness and warm smile melted my heart. When I discovered we shared a nombre, I smiled and said gently that we were hermanas, hoping that I had not overstepped. Andrea clapped her hands enthusiastically and said, “Si! Si!” Then, she enveloped me into her arms for a loving and genuine hug, and many kisses on the cheek. With great appreciation I thanked her for her generosity, for preparing the delicious dinner I was about to enjoy, but especially I expressed how her warmth made me feel at home and safe. Having just left home for the first time, it was a welcomed feeling. I told her that I missed my momma and that I was sad that I wouldn’t see my family, or those that I loved, for three months. Grabbing my hands softly, she looked at me kindly and thanked me for my words and said, “I will be your mother too now, eres mija.” We laughed and smiled at one another and proceeded to joke, throughout the day, about the, “dos Andreas.” But in truth, there are “tres Andreas,” because, in just the same way that my family’s legacy was passed on to me, Andrea had passed her legacy on to one of her six daughters. Andrea explained to her daughter that I too was named Andrea, and that because of this I was now also her daughter. The young beautiful woman, only a few years older than myself, smiled shyly and humorously welcomed me to the family. “Bienvenidos,” she said, welcome. Niko, a fellow Dragon from Holland, shared that her mother’s name was also Andrea. Now there were four. Andrea number two was tickled by this and immediately, as she had done with me, adopted Niko as a new daughter and welcomed her into the family. Proudly, she shared her legacy. Andrea wished health and happiness for both of our families, especially our madres. Andrea had known both of us for one day. In those few hours, she deemed us both worthy of joining her family, based off of nothing else than a name and our obvious need for love. This sincerity is even more miraculous when you consider all of the trials Andrea has faced and lived through, many of them as a result of my country’s interference. “What did I do to deserve this kindness?” I wondered. Some would say nothing, but I think that’s the point. People should not have to do anything, nor have to prove themselves, in order to receive love or respect. Instead of our default being separation and doubt, we should embrace one another with open arms, as Andrea did with me. Andrea gives me hope for the world, hope for humanity. Because if we all had the capacity to look passed our differences, forgive, and offer love and kindness to all those in need, we’d be a lot closer to finding the solutions we seek. Simply offering a hug or kiss and a kind word, is a good place to start. It’s true that we could all use a little more Andrea in our lives, and I’m fortunate enough to carry her with me everyday.