About Me

I was born in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico on November 30, 1981. Throughout my childhood I was fortunate enough to gain a deep sense of self through belonging to a large extended family stemming from my grandmother’s 13 siblings and their offspring. Six years after I was born, my brother was born. In Puerto Rican culture, chubby kids are considered to be representative of good health. I can recall the many occasions in which one of my grandmother’s all-knowing siblings told my “American” mother that she was not feeding her kids enough meat because they were too thin. At the age of seven, I asked my grandmother what meat was, and I can only assume that after she saw the horror in my face she made sure to tell me that animals did not have nervous systems and they did not feel pain like humans did. The concept of eating animals did not seem right to me then, but I figured that if there was no pain involved, meat was not so bad.

My years in kindergarten through fifth grade were spent at Colegio San Agustin, a small Catholic school. (It wasn't so scary looking when I attended.) I was always the preferred student of the English teachers because I was usually the only child in class who already spoke English. When my parents realized that I was not being challenged in school, they enrolled me in the American Military Academy. I was tested and accepted into the “green,” or advanced, sixth grade group. The military school presented a welcome academic challenge; every class was taught in English and the schoolwork was significantly harder. Within months of my start at the military school, my father was offered the opportunity to relocate to Miami. He eagerly accepted.

On January 3, 1993, my parents, my brother and I moved to Miami. I had never lived outside of Puerto Rico and I knew that things would be different, but nothing could have prepared me for the change in culture that I was about to experience. I went from always being accepted by kids whom I had known for many years in the Catholic school or sharing the common bond of speaking English in the military school to being the new kid in the sixth grade at Hammocks Middle School. I could not understand why certain girls chose to criticize the clothes that I wore, the way that I spoke or any other aspect that entitled them to not like me. I desperately missed my extended family and my friends, yet the thought of moving back to Puerto Rico never entered my mind. After a few weeks, I began to make friends. During the seventh grade, I joined the school orchestra and I learned to play the cello. I completed my initially traumatic middle school journey by being named “Best-Looking Female” at the eighth grade dance.

My overall high school experience at Miami Sunset Senior High School was painless. I spent most of the time focusing on my social life, taking honors classes and keeping a B+ average. I continued to play the cello in the school orchestra and I saw my cello playing as a hobby that I did not plan to pursue past high school. My brother signed up for orchestra while he was in the second grade. At the time, I was annoyed by the perception that he was copying me; however, my brother became a greater cellist than I ever was—he eventually enrolled in very selective music programs during both middle and high school, and earned a full scholarship to the University of Miami. By the time I became a senior in high school, I had earned an academic scholarship to any public university in Florida and I knew that I was not ready to leave my home. I always imagined that I would major in business and, because it had a well-known business school, I decided to enroll at Florida International University.

I spent the first two years of college trying to figure out what my major would be and in essence fighting with the thought that that a single decision would irreversibly define who I would become. During my sophomore year, I got a job as a receptionist at Complete Conference Management (CCM), a small company specializing in managing medical conferences. My boss was a true mentor and I shortly realized that I would be able to move up within the company, which would fulfill my desire to be involved in a career in business. I decided to major in theatre because I knew that if I did not address my desire to get involved with it, I would always wonder “what if,” or perhaps even leave a steady career in pursuit of the art.

Around the same time that I began working at CCM, I rescued a stray dog who was on the verge of starvation. The strong bond that I developed with my newfound “baby” rekindled the awkward feelings that I had about eating animals as a child. I began researching factory farming practices in the United States and I determined that I had to become a vegetarian from then on.

I am now a graduate student at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. I’ve pursued a master’s degree in public relations since August 2005 and should be graduating during Spring or Summer 2007. I cannot say that I would want to relive any particular period of my past, but I certainly cannot wait to experience how my life will develop in the future.