The latest American Elections were indeed ground-breaking and even heart-breaking to some – like the world was embracing a whole new chapter that was turning life upside down. However, the fact is that the future is in our hands – the beauty of difference is diversity.
My father is American and my mother is Spanish. I was born in Ecuador, grew up and went to school in Spain for ten years and then we moved to China for eight years where I studied the language, finished high-school and finally, completed university in the UK for another two.
I have also had the chance to do my Master’s placement in Germany during the summer of 2016, traveled around South East Asia to Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam and now I am currently working in Cairo, Egypt.
Throughout all these trips and adventures I have had the pleasure to meet hundreds of people who are way more international than the previous sentence I just throw up there. Kids that spoke at least five languages, that were less than 15 years-old and had already visited or lived in over 10 countries.
Needless to say how blessed and lucky they all are, including me, to have had the chance to explore the world from a very young age. However, it hasn’t always been just fun and happiness of course. One of the questions I am most afraid of, is when people ask me: “where are you from?”
The answer will never come up clear in my mind – if I say “Spain” people will most likely reply: “but you don’t look Spanish at all”, “but your English is very good”, “you are too white to be Spanish”.
If the answer involves explaining my whole life: where I was born, where I grew up… people would just say “wow, that’s incredible” and the conversation would be over, probably because I sounded like a show-off.
When I was in China people thought I was Russian. When I was in the UK people thought I was Polish and whenever I was back home in Spain local people would ask me “where is that accent coming from?”, “how long have you been studying Spanish?”.
This situation has been going on for over 10 years. I’m 23 now and it doesn’t bother me that much because when it comes to applying for jobs, it has always played out to my advantage.
But when I was a teenager, it always made me feel insecure – the more we traveled, the more I got asked the same questions and the more I felt I did not really belong anywhere.
I used to envy my friends, thinking their life was sweetly simple. They knew where their parents were from, where they belonged to and where their kids will belong to because it was all laid down very clearly.
Today, I know that I should cherish being different. It is always a battle, not everyone thinks the same of course. But I know that being different is the chance to have a better tomorrow.
Last summer of 2016, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said that “the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people around the world has topped 65 million.”
So even if some people don’t want to acknowledge facts, the world is becoming a Long Island cocktail and it doesn’t make sense anymore to classify things according to labels, borders, countries and passports.
Changes and differences often cause fear and insecurities among people. To not know what to expect and not know how to prepare for the unknown is frightful. However, the worst way to deal with change is with hate and ignorance, because we condemn each other to a never-ending circle of failure and to never be able to progress and evolve into something far better.
However, the worst way to deal with change is with hate and ignorance, because we condemn each other to a never-ending circle of failure and to never be able to progress and evolve into something far better.