CHASING THE AMERICAN DREAM
Who I am words from Daniela
My favorite time of the year has arrived. Although my family was never the largest, there was always a lot of excitement at Christmas. It all started with me, being the first daughter, granddaughter and niece on my mother’s side of the family came with many privileges and the title ‘life of the party’. I grew up in a humble family in the northern area of Puerto Rico and I am the eldest of three sisters. I was always the outstanding student, the exemplary daughter and the one who dreamed of finding the perfect love. For me, Christmas came as an opportunity to obtain my wishes, which is why I looked forward to it.
Over the years my creative side has evolved by playing and singing music, designing jewelry, writing my first novel at 15, painting pictures, becoming a stylist, makeup artist, graphic artist, social media content creator, photographer and magazine editor. Each of these evolutions have been key factors in pursuing my American dream.
How were little Daniela’s Christmas?
They were always very busy but above all fun, it was a ritual Christmas Eve at home and Christmas at grandma’s house. My mom enrolled me in the Church’s children’s choir when I still didn’t read, imagine a little version of me with a paper in hand pretending to read. My grandmother always said that before I spoke I already sang. Oh God! I remember that when I played a presentation on the stage and had to sing, tears came out I was so nervous. I thank my Mom and my Choir Director for believing in me. I treasure in my heart each of the songs that I sang.
For me, a perfect Christmas cannot be missing rice with pigeon peas, pork, cakes with potato salad and coquito with my loved ones. Since moving to Lakeland my Christmases have been a little different from my perfect Christmas. We arrived on a cold night on December 14 two years ago, it hurt a lot to say goodbye, because it would be our first Christmas in a place that did not feel like home because there was no house to go to. But Chris and I were certain that a better future was ahead and that sacrifices were necessary. So we packed everything we could into a backpack.
“There are no big or small dreams because dreams don’t have sizes.” - Daniela
A year has passed since my American dream began and I can give thanks for a Christmas that is painted red again. My Christmas wish for my first Christmas in Lakeland is coming true little by little. After some tears, sacrifices and sleepless nights. I can say that these festivities don’t feel so cold, thanks to Chazón. I learned that there are no big or small dreams because dreams don’t have sizes. All dreams are the essence of a desire, which are goals and are necessary for our evolution.
Christmas is perfect to give thanks for the dreams already fulfilled, see our evolution and create new wishes.