I was a surprise. Five months after the birth of my brother Jason, my mother found herself pregnant with me. I came into this world a screaming, bald child at Baptist Hospital of Miami in the fall of 1981. Prior to my arrival, my oldest brother Isaac had told my mom if she had a girl he would run away because "girls are nothing but trouble." What can one expect? He was only six.
Shortly after my birth, my family picked up and moved to Puerto Rico where my mother is from. The stay was short, and two years later a strong wind picked us up and dropped us on the west coast of Florida, in the small farmland town of Port Charlotte.
Port Charlotte was my home. My childhood days were spent running around the streets with my brothers and the nieghborhood kids. We built forts in the woods, climbed trees, and when we felt daring, we would ghost ride our bikes down the street. It was a great place for that strong wind to drop my family. It was a place far different from the world I was born into in Miami.
But trust me, my life may seem picture perfect, but there's a reason why I chose to make this site all about me and not do a family tree. I'll give you an example. Until very recently in February 2002, I liked to joke about how it would be impossible to make a family tree on account of my Uncle on my father's side.
Drama is the word that best describes the life of my uncle. With five divorces under his belt, four kids living in three different states, and a pregnant ex-wife who recently picked up with my youngest cousin and moved to Ohio with her boyfriend who is the brother of the ex-convict father of her baby, I thought he had enough to worry about. Apparently not. Now I have a new aunt. I don't know her name. All I know is that he met her in Costa Rica where he lives part time, and that he calls my mother every now and then to translate something for him.
But enough about him. This is supposed to be all about me, so we'll fast foward to the present.
I've gotten good at recognizing the looks of astonishment when I tell people that my mother is Puerto Rican, and even better at admitting that I can't speak spanish. But I'm working on that.
When I left Port Charlotte for Gainesville that scorching August morning to start my new life at the University of Florida I had no idea what I was getting myself into. In many ways it's different, and in many ways it's the same. I've often thought to myself, "If you took out the college and the 40,000 students you'd have Port Charlotte." And it's true because all there would be left is a few main roads, a lot of farmland, a lot of elderly, and a bunch of bored kids that can't find anything to do.
I've been at UF for three years now. It took me almost two years to decide that public relations is the field I most enjoy. I've met a lot of great people and I've formed friendships that will last a lifetime. There's nothing greater that inspiration, and that is what I find at UF everyday.
So yes, I probably am the palest Puerto Rican that boy in my high school had ever seen, but I'm okay with that, because it makes for a good laugh.