It's hard not to begin this blog talking about my country, Venezuela, but I'm glad that I can write every week, that I can say whatever I want and express my feelings and thoughts.
This has been a very difficult week for me. I thought I was only going to have to worry about what to get Camila for her birthday and what decorations to get for her Frozen party. However, the students in Venezuela decided to take to the streets to march for peace and ended up clashing violently with police. Seeing my country suffer and only being able to help by posting videos and comments on social media makes me very sad, but there is nothing else I can do right now. I feel helpless.
Back to Miami, what I now call my hometown ...
I was anticipating this trip because it's really time for me to start making crucial decisions about moving forward. I needed to figure out not only which women I would have to send home, but also which families I wanted to meet. Although that was weighing on my mind, I was the most excited about seeing mi bebe (my baby) and my family. Seeing Camila, my parents and my cousin, Rodolfo, was great. I talk to Rodolfo everyday and we had so much to talk about after six weeks away.
Courtesy Juan Pablo Galavis
Yacht Time with SharleenWith two one-on-one dates and a group date, I definitely wanted to clear my doubts about Sharleen. During all of the conversations that we've had, (sorry you guys didn't get to see 90 percent of them) I knew she was having a very hard time in this process.
I gave Sharleen the first one-on-one, a yacht ride where we had plenty of time to talk and to figure out where my feelings were towards her and vice versa. During the day, we paddle boarded from the yacht to a small island, but I'm glad you didn't get to see that! My paddle boarding skills are terrible! It was my first time doing it and as I am a heavy gordito (fatty). I fell off my board in the first 20 seconds. Sharleen was a pro. My whole date with her was very smooth so I didn't have many concerns, because when we were together, everything seemed perfect.
Surprise for NikkiFor my second date I needed to bring somebody who I felt a strong connection with and who would appreciate my surprise of meeting Camila. The reason I decided to take Nikki was because she has been making me feel more and more comfortable since Vietnam.
We met each other down at the beach and spent an hour talking alongside the boardwalk. It was so hot that I'm glad you didn't see us sweating our butts off. After we talked, I took Nikki to cool off at a flower shop where we got to spend some quality time and pick flowers for Camila. I gave Nikki a sunflower, the flower I like to give the most (another thing you didn't see!).
The reaction when I told her we were going to the recital was priceless. She was excited and a little bit nervous. Mi bebe dancing and singing killed me. My favorite part was when she pointed at me. I'm going to post the video that I recorded soon so you see her face.
Nikki got to meet Camila for a few minutes as well as my dad, mom, aunt and Carla. After the recital, I took her to eat Venezuelan food, which I always do after a dance recital. We said goodbye to the family and just the two of us went to eat. She loved tequeños (my favorite bite) and the arepa with carne mechada (shredded beef).
During the ride from the flower store to the recital, she told me she used to play softball when she was younger. She also told me that she liked a Venezuelan hat that I gave to one of the producers during my time on The Bachelorette. To me, all of that was such a coincidence because I was going to take her to Marlins Park and I had a hat for her.
Marlins Park is what I call my office in Miami, because I work for the Venezuelan Museum of Baseball and Hall of Fame. My job is to go to all the MLB stadiums and to talk to and collect articles from all the Venezuelan players in the big leagues and those Americans that played in Venezuela.
We had the stadium to ourselves and it was so quiet and relaxing. We had an absolute blast. While in New Zealand I pulled a muscle in my leg while I was working out and forgot about it when I was at the stadium because I was so excited to be there. While we were there I decided to steal second base. I ran to the base and kind of felt the pain again. We had two gloves, a few balls and a bat – and, well, guess what, I have always wanted to hit a ball on a MLB baseball field. That night I was going to get that off my bucket list. Nikki pitched and I swung the bat pretty hard. I don't remember how far the ball went, because my leg killed me. This time the muscle was really pulled. The nurse tried taking care of me but I needed to go get an ultrasound for sure. We relaxed after that and ended a great date with Nikki the nurse.
Courtesy Juan Pablo Galavis
Sharleen Says GoodbyeLate that night, someone knocked on my door and it was Sharleen. When I saw her at the door my first thought was "she is gone" and I was right. It was very hard for her to talk to me and she felt terrible telling me that she didn't think I was the man of her life. She has all my respect. She has been the most honest, realistic and mature of all the women. She was struggling and she let me know every time we talked about how hard it was for her. I loved listening to the words she used and we had a great time talking about anything and everything. Unfortunately you were only able to see a little bit of Sharleen and I understand the way people might judge her. But remember – you judge by what you see on TV and not everything makes it to the screen.
I was very sad but I was prepared because of her struggles over the weeks. She was going to have a hometown date and things maybe would of changed after that. In this situation, a single word can change my way of seeing or thinking about someone and that's the reason I took everybody and everything they say so seriously. I'm glad she put her life on hold to come see if we could have a future together, because I met a great woman. Like I said – I'd rather not be appreciated and be honest, than be appreciated and not being honest.
My last date in Miami was a fun one. I enjoyed spending time with Renee, Clare, Andi and Chelsie. The plane ride was fabulous. All of the girls enjoyed it but Andi was very scared. We landed at a private beach and since I had one rose to give, I wanted to spend quality time with the women. I had a blast with Chelsie. Her family sent her like 25 letters to read throughout the adventure and sadly you only got to see two of them. They were so great. I laughed listening to all those letters. Chelsie has such a loving and fun family.
When I was talking to Andi, she was very nervous about everything and how she is always in control and in this situation she feels lost. She broke down and I tried to make her feel comfortable. Since week two, Andi has been one of my favorites and that's the reason I gave her the rose. It was a hard decision, but I knew she needed that extra confidence boost. It was hard to see the girls leave halfway through the date.
Another SurpriseThat night, Andi and I walked around South Beach, ate some Latin food and waited for a long time in CVS while my surprise was getting ready. That surprise was also for me, because I had no idea who was playing the concert. I was very surprised with the choice of Romeo Santos, one of the biggest singer/songwriters in the Latin industry right now.
Dancing with Andi was so funny! She told me she was a horrible dancer but she picked it up pretty quickly. Andi was a little stiff, but she had the will to learn. Seeing her so happy made me smile all night.
The rose ceremony was terrible. Sending Chelsie home broke my heart because she is fantastic and full of life and good vibes. Our connection faded over the weeks. I know she will be a great friend for years.
Hometowns are coming next week. I can't wait to go and visit Sacramento, Sarasota, Kansas City and Atlanta. I love meeting people and this will be even more special because of where I will be meeting the families of four amazing woman.
For everyone who makes comments on my social media, I really appreciate your honesty. For the positive ones, thanks for always supporting and seeing the best. For the negative ones, thanks for giving me a different point of view, which I respect. For both points of view, I want to thank you for being there at all times and having opinions about someone that you watch every Monday night. In the past three weeks, I felt exactly like when I played soccer – everyone on the stands had their opinions while the ones sweating and playing the game were loved or hated. The only answer I always had for them was the same one: here are my cleats, let me know if you want to borrow them for a bit so I can see you play from the stands.
It feels great letting you know my thoughts, concerns and why I make my decisions. I'm going to make sure, by writing this blog every week, all of you will get to know me a little bit better. The situation right now in Venezuela – where not everyone can express themselves freely – makes me glad I have this blog to vent about my thoughts and feelings.
Hope you enjoy knowing me a little bit more and see you guys next week.