Joining MyHeritage's team as a Community Manager for the Spanish speaking countries was a nice opportunity, as my job gave me the ability to get in touch with and discover the history of my own family. This was something I took the opportunity to explore when I recently visited my home town, Buenos Aires, Argentina, after two years of living in London.
It turned out to be a trip full of emotion and happiness, as I got the chance to see my loved ones after such a long time. I didn't have a free second left as I met family and more family, and friends and more friends.
Luckily, one of my cousins was getting married, so I had the chance to meet all my relatives at once. Some of them I wouldn't have met if it wasn't for that event, because part of my family lives in Rosario, the third largest city in the country.
My family has had a farm near Rosario for almost 100 years. It all begun with an Italian settler, my great-great-grandfather. A few years ago we celebrated the 100th anniversary of his wedding. To honor the event, a band played Italian music, and the wedding dress and a giant picture of the wedding were on display. We all gathered together, eating a big "Asado", an Argentine BBQ dish.
Of course, I ate as much Asado as I could when I visited this time. Even if you don't want to, it's difficult to avoid eating meat in my country as it's the core of the national diet.
Especially since I am working for MyHeritage, I developed a strong curiosity for some events and people in my family, and I transmitted this enthusiasm to some of my relatives. For example, one of the family reunions we had involved some of my cousins. We didn't get to see each other very often since we live so far apart, but the relationship was reinvigorated when we starting using MyHeritage, and when we started sharing memories through our Family Site. From that point on, we decided to meet, and the outcome was great: we caught up with our lives and refreshed our relationship, which we will try to keep up from now on.
During my stay, I also took the opportunity to talk to my parents, asking them about people in the family and stories which could give me more information about my ancestry.
I always knew that one of my grandfathers played the "Bandoneon" (an instrument similar to the accordion) in tango orchestras at cinemas, putting music to silent movies. His wife, my grandmother, also claimed that she once met Carlos Gardel, the most worshiped tango singer in history. Although he has been dead for more than 70 years, there is still a popular saying that goes, "He sings better as days go by."
Tango is embedded in the culture of Buenos Aires and its people, who are called "Portenios," meaning "people from the port." Not only is a sensual kind of music and dance but its lyrics are very emotional and poetic. As Tango was shaped by immigration in the early 20th century, words are full of nostalgia, longing for things left behind or broken dreams.
My other grandfather was linked to motor racing in Argentina, in the early days of the sport. He was a race car builder, along with one of his brothers, while another brother was a driver. One of their brothers-in-law, Clemar Bucci, even raced in Formula One in the 1950s. He later used to tell us the most amazing stories about his racing days in Europe. Nowadays, car racing is a passion that still runs in the family, a tradition carried on by one of my cousins.
Some details of these stories and other family events I wanted to know more about were left unheard - there were so many stories that there wasn't enough time to hear them all! But clearly, my visit to my home country was a moving one, which among other things, helped me think about myself in a different light. I discovered the history of my family is also my own.