I leave for my grandparents' house again, not knowing what may happen next, and what events I may witness. Every holiday, or sometimes maybe even just to hang out, me and my entire family including my aunts, cousins, siblings etcetera go to my grandparents' house so we can all enjoy each other's company. This house has meant a lot to me for almost my entire life, because it's like a second home to me. It takes about twenty minutes to get there from my house. It is a small house, white paint, and a green trim, in a small neighborhood called Arcadia Square. The rest of the houses there are fairly small, but about the same size as my grandparents' house. The inside smells in a way like a lot of air fresheners. The inside is very neat and tidy, with everything very clean, and nothing seems to be misplaced. They also have a dog, Coby. He has black fur that is fairly short. He is also fairly skittish, and loves to run around. He is a very friendly dog.
My grandparents cook. Mostly hotdogs and hamburgers because my grandpa likes to use his old charred grill whenever we cook. The food smells like it was very charred and grilled, and has sort of a tangy smell at the same time. My parents, aunts and uncles occasionally help, and me and my cousins usually go outside and play, or tell jokes around the table while we wait for our food to be served. Sometimes me and my cousins would have sleepovers there and even slumber parties and watch tv. But there was one catch, we had to do chores...a lot of chores. Like, doing the dishes, cleaning the bathrooms, cleaning the backyard, and trimming the bushes.
My cousins and I would also play a lot of sports, because there was a park about one minute away from my grandparent’s house, and we would go there and play soccer a lot. I would usually win because I could dribble past my cousins, Isaiah and Mathias, most of the time. Most of our family hangouts were at the neighborhood pool, which we would walk to, or drive (if we got lazy).
My grandparents babysat me a lot when I was little, so I spent a lot of time hanging out at their house. I think another big reason that this house means so much to me is because I've spent so much time there. I’ve learned to enjoy it like a second home because of all these events and celebrations that I've stayed there for, and witnessed.
This house may not be fancy or expensive or not even big, but it's the memories that it holds that makes it so special. I have done so many things with my cousins, and other members of my family in this home. For example, I have spent Christmas here, Thanksgiving, and many of my family members birthday parties. On Christmas, me and my family would all get each other presents, and play Secret Santa around the Christmas tree. When I'm here I feel really cozy, relaxed and chill, and my mind moves slowly as well, sometimes not really processing what others are saying. It is a sanctuary where I can just rest, because it's a place where I can relax or run around, and be true to how I feel.
My grandparents bought this house around eight years ago, which is practically ¾ of my lifetime. For me, it's places like this that help me see the world better in so many different ways. I go there maybe 100 times a year if it's a good year, and if they invite me that is. My cousins Isaiah and Mathias also live in this house with my grandparents, so whenever I stay there for a sleepover or just to hang out, they are there, which makes it a lot more fun to stay there. My cousins also have a PS4 that we use a lot whenever I go there.
Another thing we do is we often go to the neighborhood park, to play sports, or get sprayed by the cold sprinklers that go off and run around with wet clothes around the park. The sprinklers are very refreshing, but at the same time they are very wet and sort of drafty. And sometimes sort of gross, because it is reclaimed water.
Like all families, mine is very important to me. I think another one of the big reasons why I cherish and love this house so much is because my family spends so much time there, and so do I. I have seven cousins that visit this house with me every so often: Isaiah, Mathias, Bianca, Valeria, Fernando, Joaquin, and Ximena. I am hoping to spend a lot more time here, and learn even more about this house, and the secrets it may hold.
Sebastian Ojeda is a soccer fanatic who enjoys hanging out with friends, eating sushi and playing video games. He wishes he could breathe underwater. He also enjoys playing any sport that may seem relevant at the moment.
Voices from Paolo Freire features essays from middle school students at the Paolo Freire Freedom School in Tucson, AZ. These essays were written during a series of workshops with classroom teacher Adrian Provenzano and Writing the Community teaching artist Raquel Gutiérrez.