In Minnesota like in Venezuela.
I really must thank life for giving me the gift of having been born in a very special time and place, Venezuela in the 70´s, living and experiencing the changes of the 80´s, 90´s and recently years. I couldn´t imagine growing up, living and studying in other place or time, I´m happy and proud of it, even the current Venezuela with all the today´s problems and inconveniences, that they aren´t more than challenges for those well prepared and genuine lovers of the country.
I only have words of thank to God for giving me a great and wonderful family, the best friends any person may have during the childhood and adolescence; in the school and university as student, as a professional; the magnificent girls that I´ve met and shared important moments; the opportunity of being able to travel within the country and abroad, and as a consequence of those travels and experiences, enhancing the care and love for Venezuela and the will to work and study harder everyday to achieve the country we deserve, where the respect, happiness and prosperity of all the habitants with no exception will be the main goal to pursuit.
Many thoughts, feelings and ideas I could tell and describe here, lots of memories, experiences and anecdotes to tell, and many people that I could mention and being thankful to, but now, near to end 2015, I want to direct my words of recognition and respect to two special and loving persons who contributed to my personal growth as an adult having them always in mind as role model, specially their family values, important influence received by then even we only share one year long time ago and very far from my home town Caracas, taking me into their home and family as another own child, they are Patricia and Anthony Slowinski.
It was august 1989, and as exchange student in Minnesota (no one knows the reason why the pronunciation in English of Minnesota and Venezuela sound alike, either way I consider myself being from Venezuela and Minnesota), I was picked up at the airport by this two great persons, with lovely smiles, always willing to teach and to listen all the things about my country.
There is no doubt that there are difficult times in the way of adolescents to become adults, and the idea of living abroad being 16th, 17th or 18th years old, require a lot of trust and confidence of the parents who let their children go, and a great responsibility by the who will received the students at home, from another country, another cultures, language, taste, and many other aspects, and the environment, relationships and experiences lived during those complicated ages may influence the character in the future, for bad or for good, in my case I had the best exchange parents someone may have.
I still remember the first days without knowing the language, going to the high school, learning the Midwest customs, the farming, talks with war veterans (Tony served in the US Navy during WWI), talks concerning political issues, riding tractors, the delicious apple and cherry pies, the pork chops, but most important, the important concept Pat and Tony have about family, the direct contact with their kids, all the tales told about raising the family, about living in Lyle and Austin, explaining the language, new words and expressions, showing the places an explaining their history, the love for the country, always with a smile and the best good attitude.
I want to finish my words of gratitude for the great experience lived in Lyle and Austin, and all the care received by extending my feelings to all the members of the family, those that I met in 1989 and their kids I’ve had the chance to know in 2011, thanks to all of you.
Miss and love you guys,