Katacha Díaz is a Peruvian American writer. Wanderlust and love of travel have taken her all over the world to gather material for her stories. Her writing appears or is forthcoming with Muddy River Poetry Review, Poppy Road Review, Pika Journal, Taj Mahal Review, Barely South Review, Westview, The Pangolin Review, Anak Sastra, Poetry Pacific, The Galway Review, Ethos Literary Journal, and elsewhere. She lives and writes in a quaint little town at the mouth of the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest, USA.
By Katacha Díaz
“The future rests with whether we have taught our young men and women the importance of being noble, the power of the noble deed. If we have taught them well, they will understand the importance of honesty and integrity, two qualities that will define their legacy in life.”
— William H. McRaven, retired US Navy admiral
Reading Admiral McRaven’s words gave me a deja-vu moment. I was immediately transported back to my childhood days at my paternal grandparents’ house in Miraflores, Peru. The family had gathered at Sunday luncheon to celebrate our grandparents’ return home from Paris. Papapa had served four years as the Peruvian Ambassador to France.
My grandfather was well acquainted with France. After graduating first in his class at the Peruvian Naval Academy in 1906, he was awarded a scholarship to continue his studies at the École Navale, French Naval Academy, in Brest, France. In 1913 he was invited by the French government to train in the use of wireless telegraphy and astronomic observations for surveying national boundaries. However, Papapa’s training was cut short due to World War I and he returned to Peru.
When it was time for a toast, as our family’s first born grandchild, I proudly stood at the head of the table next to my eloquent grandfather and listened attentively as he spoke. In his special and unforgettable toast to the grandchildren, I remember my dear Papapa’s loving words of wisdom: You need to always live your life with honesty and integrity and give back to the community and help others, regardless of their station in life. Sadly, a few months after the celebratory family luncheon, my dear Papapa unexpectedly passed away at home.
As I reflect on my wonderful and privileged life — my early childhood and formative years growing up in Miraflores and moving to the USA as a teenager — I am filled with gratitude.
I am well-educated, independent, and financially self-reliant. My journey through life has taught me to make my own marriage and career choices. Even though it took a long time for me to feel as if I belonged in my new country, the United States gave me the opportunity to follow my dream.