Where were you born, and why did you choose to move to the US?
I was born in Bogota Colombia where I went to school and also did my Bachelors in Business Administration. When I started dating my now husband, I knew that someday, if things continue well and I wanted to marry him, I would have to move to the United States. He was in Medical school and wanted to continue his specialty in the US.
What part of the US did you first arrive in?
As soon as we got married we moved to New York on the first week of March 1998. I arrived with a student visa to study English while I tried to understand what I need to do to get into the Hospitality School at NYU.
What was your first day like? Can you share any specific instances that you still remember?
It was still very cold and snowy. On my very first day I needed to buy a better coat. So there I was, a Colombian newlywed going alone from Brooklyn to Manhattan on the subway to find a Burlington Coat Factory. It was an interesting trip starting at the Italian/Jewish neighborhood, passing through some Asian ones, to finally arrive in the lower side of Manhattan. Little that I knew, as soon as I came out the subway station I was in the middle of the St Patrick’s Day Parade. I knew right there that I had arrive to a true melting pot. Everything was green and gold.
How did all of this make you feel?
I was excited and also nervous about my new life. I knew I wanted to keep studying but didn’t know if my English was going to be good enough in this overwhelming new city. I felt a little lost because everything was so new to me. A little homesick but I somehow knew it was going to be OK.