This city is was so monumental for me. These streets very literally raised me, and let me tell you something if you know anything about being from Miami it is that very few people move away. Everything I know about conducting myself professionally and personally I learned from being,working, studying and networking in Miami. New York may be where you go to make it, but Miami is where you go to find out what you are made of. In traditional “basic” Miami girl fashion, you are to be married by 25 with a stable 9-5 job to make mom and dad proud, degree under your belt and your partying days behind you. At 23 years old, I found myself at quite the cross road I had accomplished what many first generation children struggle with. I had a stable career, a degree and was enjoying the luxuries of living in an urban city and I had come to terms with my Colombian-American roots.
Honestly, I did not have the best of circumstances growing up and as long as I could remember I was in the “struggle” for a better life. The luxury to have dreams, a career, a future were all very foreign to me. In other words, the divine pleasure of having a say in your future was something I always struggled with. There were several emotional and logistical obstacles I am proud to have overcome to arrive to my current destination. There was a pivotal moment once I graduated and started to analyze what I wanted to do with my life and I realized my life had stopped having obstacles and begun having options.
I am not sure why I kept my Peace Corps Service a secret for so long, deep down inside I felt like I would be letting a lot of people I knew down. Deep down inside, I thought I would never be nominated! I decided to keep everything pretty hush until I received my invitation in the mail. I was especially terrified to tell my Colombian mother who, although very proud of my accomplishments, never really understood why I would choose to work for “free” after practically killing myself to become a business professional. Im about 6 months into my service as I write this post, and she still urges me to come home once a month or so. It is a reality I am still coming to terms with, Miami very much made me realize what I am made of. It also made me realize my time with her was up, and it was time to find new obstacles to overcome.
Another side to this story is that a lot of the pain I had in my heart growing up from a troubled youth is that my service continues to help me come to term with the idea that sometimes people are just at the right place at the right time. Sometimes you’re in the right place and time to be born in the United States and get to have the luxury of experimenting with your life. Others the right place and time to hope that your family wont be massacred on the drive to the city to get supplies for your new born baby. Very different “right place and right times” but both the same basic human right of wanting a better future.