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I was born and raised in Colombia. I used to stay with my grandmother, in her farm in Boyaca, Colombia during summer. I enjoyed everything at the time. It was so enjoyable playing with my brother, dog and cats. I also enjoyed chasing butterflies and watching rolling planes of miles of cone. I also liked night because we made fire outside. It was so nice despite the place not having electricity, therefore candles were widely used. The place was remote but I found it to be exciting my grandmother owned a supermarket that sold bread that we made in stone oven. It smelled as great as the bread baked. The sweet smell is nostalgic in my head as it reminds me childhood memories.
I enjoyed living in Bogotá. It is the capital city of Colombia though it is a city with very many contrasts; colonial churches stand next to high-rise modern buildings. It has a mixture of Indian, English and Spanish influences. It was during my childhood that I enrolled for ballet and piano classes. I enjoyed ballet classes because it was a performance dance that was mostly performed being accompanied by classical music. I also liked playing piano because it gave me a greater understanding of music even without realising it. I met most of my friends in the park. We played together childhood games like: follow the leader, I spy, kiss chase, all this served to increases our bonding as friends.
Despite all that happiness though, there are things that kept me bothered though. The idea of growing up without a figure father kept hurting me because e my dad had moved to USA when I was just 5. This was the time I needed him most for my upbringing. I lacked the close attachment and love from him. What made it worse was the poor relationship that existed between me and my mother who was closer to my brother than I. I hate to remember this because it makes me feel so bitter. I was also bullied when I was in 5th grade by Monica and Marcela who used to show me cruelty maybe because the y knew that none of my parents was close enough to me to protect me.
At the age of 11 I travelled to Newyork to meet my dad and be blessed with my first communion. The United States really fascinated me. As opposed to Bogotá, Newyork looked so modern with electricity everywhere. There were wide roads here, very tall buildings. At night Newyork looked like paradise. I liked everything about the place .I convinced my father to stay with him in newyork but he refused and insisted that I should first complete high school.
From 6-10th grade, I was enrolled in a catholic high school. I won’t forget this period because I found the nuns to be so mean always insisting on going to church everyday at 6 am. I hated this but did not have a choice because the policy prevailed in all catholic schools. I got fed up due to the sudden change in the study environment. For sweet sixteen, I travelled to Madrid, Spain. I found Spain to be a very amazing country with great traditional architecture. Spanish people were very friendly and beautiful. Howe ever I encountered culture shock upon arrival in Madrid. Here I realised that families had better bonding in terms of relationship because it was not hard to come by several generations of the same family living in the same building. It really amazed me because it gave me the feeling of belonging and love that I had really not experienced in life. Madrid was fantastic place with very courteous people. I got to learn Spanish, though I just learn a little, adolescence then takes full charge of my teenage. My concentration in class reduced making me fail drastically.
My life was taking a different turn which I could not control. Peer influence from bad friends like Suzanne drives me to start taking drugs. I got hooked onto alcohol, smoking and partying. Every weekend meant going to night clubs and dancing the whole weekend. Life seemed better when I moved to a public school where we majored in area like: liberal arts, painting, sculpture and philosophy. 11th grade was the last of my high school and I began experiencing some happiness. I derived happiness from painting and offering community service. In palmer J parker’s book, let your, life speak, pg 2, “let the highest truths and values guide you’’, I realised that, I should let truths and values guide me. (Palmer 2000)
After knowing the truths and values I had in life, I was greatly encouraged as I took charge of my life once again.
Hard work as a value made me come up with the idea of starting a business with another friend of mine. We made crafts cards and purses and sold them. The business however did not pick up well and we therefore decide to close it. All is not lost as everything I do seem to be unsuccessful. I went ahead to help my mom in the textile store she owned by doing her accounting job like payroll, balancing the ledger for the month. Self determination seems to come back at this stage.
My biggest challenge was learning new language and making new friends because I really valued friendship. I moved to the United States where I stayed with my dad for one year before moving to New Jersey to live with my aunt and cousins. I enrolled in a college but I dropped out after first year. However, though the experience of meeting new people was so nice. I like the different cultures of Africans, Asians, Britons, and Russians as it gave me an insight of how people lived outside America. I then decided to live an independent life by moving away from family and living in Florida. While in Florida, I established a business called Amway that involved a lot of travelling, hardwork and sacrifice. It did not pick up well so, I decide to close it down. Everything in life seemed not to be working out for me. I then began working with two different employers so that I could get sufficient money to send to my mom for her upkeep and medical bills.
According to Parker Palmers, Let Your Life Speak, pg 3, “before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. Before you tell your life what values and truths you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent”. I derived a lot of meaning from it. It gave me an insight on how I should set my goals and objectives in life in line with my values and truths. As a manager pf my life Parker Palmers, Let Your Life Speak, pg 4 has to guide me. “Vocation does not come from wilfulness. It comes from listening.” I am ready to listen in order to make better decisions. Being the manager of my life means vocation not meaning a goal that I pursue but a calling that I hear.
Darkness years (age 30- present)
I worked for a financial service corporate, for six years. I was happy till I was laid off due to economic collapse. I had never fallen in love till I met my ex boyfriend who taught me to view life in different ways like stopping and smelling the roses. After four years we decided to split. Both job and love had made my life terrible till I remembered Parker Palmers, Let Your Life Speak, pg7 “I have no idea how I would have learnt the truth about myself and my calling without the mistakes I have made”. I then came to realize that the mistakes that I have made had a purpose of making me learn the truth about myself. Because I could not find a job, I pack my stuff and store them in a store and go to Newyork hoping to have a better opportunmity. Life there became miserable living with my dad and brother. After one year, I move back to Florida. With the help of my friends, I found a great job and ready to start college to pursue my career in business
My life has been eventful. I have never experienced parental love and whatever I have gone through in life seems not to be adding any value to my life. After reading Parker Palmers, Let Your Life Speak, pg6 “but if am to let my life speak of things I want to hear , things I would gladly tell others”, I must also let it speak things that I would not want to hear and would never tell anyone else pg 29. “We must withdraw the negative projections we make on people and situations- projects that serve mainly to mask our fear about ourselves- and acknowledge and embrace our own liabilities and limits”. Things that happen in ones life serve to enlighten ones truth and values hence whatever the mistakes learn to always make corrections because the future is bright.