One amazing thing about Hispanic culture is the never-ending resilience that pushes us up the ladder to better ourselves. The phrase “El sueño Americano” – the American Dream—was made for us. More importantly, we make it up that ladder on our own; we are an incredibly intelligent and painfully prideful people who do not accept help of any kind. In my campaign work for Governor Romney, I was fortunate to meet a gentleman who opened up to me about the trajectory of his life in this country. Leaving Colombia as a teenager, he came with absolutely no monetary backing to survive in the United States and was forced to make painful sacrifices to his health by barely feeding himself. Adding to that, he was working 7 days a week as a construction worker to pay for a tiny shared living space and transportation to work. Slowly he learned about the mechanics of the construction business and today he owns his own company. The most important lesson that I took away from his story is that “de su propio sudor salio adelante” translated with his own sweat, he succeeded.
It is with this fervor, this passion to succeed in life that we have engrained in our brains at such a young age, that we are capable of making something of ourselves- even when coming from nothing. If the job at hand will take me to a better place in life, I will do it. The mentality of a job being beneath our standards is non-existent; together we are raised this way and recognize this characteristic in each other. Because of this, we are such a strong community that leans on each other to offer support, even if we can never bring ourselves to ask for it.
In my own life I have been very fortunate. At a very young age I was determined to study politics at American University. I would drive past the campus with my parents and tell them how much I could not wait to be studying there. After many financial struggles—working a full time week job, part-time local job on weekends, and studying at night throughout most of my college career—I graduated from my dream school with a degree in Foreign Policy. More importantly, maybe one of the few of my class that graduated with a full-time job, in my case with the DC RepublicaCommittee. As election season came to a close and my time with the DCRC was ending, I considered what my next step in life would be. For months I thought of more jobs in the political field, but in the back of my mind I wanted to participate in my father’s business. After a trip to visit my brother in Texas, I came to the conclusion that opening a new corporation, under my father’s, was that next step I was searching for. I do not think my brother realizes that he is the one who gave me the final kick I needed to gain the courage to do this while we were sitting on a sidewalk waiting for our pizza. When he said, “Cata, you’re 22 years old right now and you have nothing to lose if you fail. A few years from now you will have the responsibilities of owning a house and maybe raising a family, and they will come first. Go for it.” Three short months later I have my own business that will be ready to launch in the next month— ¡Si Dios lo quiere! (God Willing)
It is through my own story and many others that I meet in the Hispanic community, that I continue to learn how amazing a culture I was raised. My intention with what I post from here on is for people to see this hard-working and fun-loving side of Latinos through my own eyes and experiences. As a young business woman in this struggling economy, I am guaranteed to go through many hardships and moments of success that I wish to share with you all. With that, I leave you with the first of hopefully more posts to come!
Follow her on Twitter @catasanabria for more insightful venting about all things Latino, what it’s like to be a Latin Conservative, a Latina business owner, and making it through life.