Chelsea's Personal

You were the one who waited for me outside when the bus came in your little fold up lounge chair that we brought to Madi’s soccer games. The one who would actually spray me with water in the morning to get me up for school when all else failed. You were the one who taught me just about every card game in the world, and never let me win. But most importantly, you are the one that I can till this day, go to about anything and everything. Gwenda, who would’ve known that the two of us would’ve ever crossed paths. You being from Belize, at least 2000 or so miles away, it truly is amazing that we even got to know each other let alone how close we have become. I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful I am that you decided to move to the US and that you ended up at my door. You became a part of the D’Ambrosio family in 1997 when Madi was born. Alone, I was already enough for Mom to handle so when Madi came along, she knew she couldn’t do it alone. I’m not quite sure if you knew exactly what you were getting yourself into, but from the very beginning we connected. I really can’t say I remember what my childhood was like before you, granted you had been with our family since I was two years old, but I really couldn’t imagine what my life would’ve been like if you weren’t in it. I don’t want to imagine it. 

As I grew older this bond only grew stronger. We began to have more deep and important conversations about things that matter, given that my life became about more than things like coloring and tying my shoes. I couldn’t wait to come home from school to tell you about what went on that day so you could tell me how proud of me you were, which you always did. I now think about how proud I am of you. You built yourself from the ground up and are one of the most supportive people I have ever met. All your friends and family that surround you would say the same. No matter who it is, what the circumstance, you are always the first to lend a hand to someone in trouble. You are an amazing listener and would always remain attentive despite how boring or uninteresting any of my stories were. Although something may not interest you, you care because you know I care, and very few people are that willing to go at such lengths for someone else. Gwenda these are all things about you that I strive and work towards people seeing in myself one day. You are one of the most important people in my life when it comes to my origins because you have shaped me into the person I am today. One of the most amazing things I remember you always told me was that life isn’t fair when Madi had something I had or vice versa. Of course this was something worthless like an extra doll or stuffed animal, but I remember thinking you were crazy, how could something not be fair? Everything had to be fair! Had you not said that to me so long ago I would’ve been in for quite a wake up call as I got older. It was comments like that and your little words of wisdom, so to speak, that I think about on a daily basis. I only wish there was something great enough I could do for you, that could express how thankful I am for all that you have given me over the years. 

I decided to put my personal in this section of Where are we going? because I know our friendship is far from over. Even though I am much older now, and I don’t wake up to you yanking me out of bed every morning or come home to you yelling at me to take an afternoon nap, we have the rest of our lives ahead of us. You would always joke with me and say “one day you’ll be a big girl and won’t need me anymore.” I dreaded the day that you wouldn’t be just a walk up stairs away or a phone call when I was too lazy. I love how we have remained so close despite the fact that you're no longer down the hall. I may be a big girl now given that I am 16 years old, but I know I will always need you, maybe not as a babysitter but as a role model, a teacher, and a best friend.

Daniela's Personal

In researching about how we got here and our origins, I began to evaluate my own life and my own family’s history. I realized that it wouldn’t be fair to survey others about their origins and how they have shaped them if I didn’t even know that answer myself. Being the first-generation American in my family, it is difficult for me to completely identify with one distinct origin, as I am sure it is for many. Usually once a year, my parents, brother, and I visit Argentina. I won’t argue the fact that we are beyond fortunate in that we have that privilege, considering some people don’t ever get to see their family. However, it makes me wonder what the true meaning of family is. After an exhausting, eleven-hour plane ride, my parents, brother, and I arrive at the airport with a welcoming committee of relatives. Of course, during the first couple of hours there are moments of awkwardness—someone forgets an obvious detail about another’s life. But after the first three days, I feel like a native. My cousins and I get along tremendously well, catching each other up on what has been going on in our different hemispheres. My aunts and uncles bombard my brother and I with questions regarding the ‘fabulous American education’ and the ‘ideal American life’. And, most importantly, my grandparents shower us with expensive, unnecessary gifts. 

Watching my family interact from a distance, it would be obvious that we all get along fine, enjoy each other’s company, and look forward to seeing each other. That is 100% true. However, does that necessarily make us a family? Just because we are blood related, does that make my cousin and I, 5289.81 miles apart, closer than my best friend from home? In the Merriam Webster Dictionary, family is defined as, “people related by blood or by marriage… treated with special loyalty… a group of objects united by a significant shared characteristic…” Following that definition, my cousin, no matter how far she lives, would be considered a closer part of my family than my best friend. Could this be true? Are the two even comparable? When I reached this point in my debate, I decided to create a new definition of family—one that fits better in my case, and I’m sure in many of yours as well: “Family is an important part of life. It is one of the only relationships that we are born with, and one that virtually everyone is a part of. It isn’t measured by the distance, but by the memories you form and relationship you build.” Although my cousins and I sometimes lack communication because of the distance, my love for them stands as silent communication, which will last forever. And although I can’t take my family with me to the United States, the memories we have formed are always with me.

My life is a reflection of my Argentinian background. I’m not a die-hard Boca fan, nor an all-star tango dancer. I can’t completely navigate my way around the city of Buenos Aires, and my American accent is evident with every word of Spanish that I speak. But in my heart, I know that I am Argentinian, because that is where my family is from—and family is home.