Monday, April 2, 2012

A Colombian-American in Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay, Downtown View
It's been three years, five months so far and probably 8 days. I stop counting a while ago, it's probably a little bit more but I don't mind, I stop counting a while ago when I realize how lucky I am to have the chance to grow up and live in two different places that have one thing in common, the views of the Caribbean and the winds that go North to South are the same ones that washed my tears when I was younger.

I am from Cartagena, then I am from Colombia, also I am from Brandon, Florida; and, also I am from the United States. I am in between, the best way I can describe it, but overall I like to say I am a guy, with a sexy accent who has no nationalities but two places that he can call home. I am a Colombian, an American living in Tampa Bay but overall I am Gustavo, Gus or Gus-Gus for short, I am who I am.

Starting over with you life it ain't easy, specially being a foreigner, living outside where you grew up can be challenging; language is another factor as well certain attitudes of people toward individuals who don't share certain traits; names, a long non American can be a problem toward finding a job if you don't have the right credentials, it's a process that no one is really prepared for, it's a hell in the best way possible, but things get better, they get better eventually if you work hard. You know dear reader, the American Dream is not dead, it's probably dead in the heart of the people who gave up, but not in the hearts of the people who go outside and fight for their dreams and to see their communities better, that's the American Dream, to go out and fight for your beliefs.

Culturally, there are different factor as well basic differences, such one between Colombia and the States, people do respect more public spaces and you can walk on more space as driving is far more safer than driving in any street of Cartagena. How you deal with people it's another aspect; in Colombia is far more easy, people are more informal but use more honorific while in the States people are less informal but you have to be careful with personal space as well with vocabulary. Those small differences can be problematic if you are not careful or know the cultural ethic codes which they vary from region to region.

It's been quite a process, do I regret living it? No, I don't, even in the worse moments of my beginnings I realize how much wonderful the process was because I was learning and I'm still. 3 years ago I have to be honest, I barely spoke the language, or knew anything about being independent, but between tears and not tiaras, I learned how to become the man I always wanted to be before moving my from my grandparents house.

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