I was born in Miami and raised in Kuwait until I was about fifteen. My mom’s family is Colombian and my father is from Kuwait. We still go back and forth every year. We live between Kuwait and Miami.
Our family values are strong, for us it’s so important that family comes first above all else. When I moved here at fifteen I really didn’t appreciate the way that I was raised in Kuwait. When I got here, I realized that the kids I met were involved in a lot of stuff that I hadn’t even heard of. It made me realize how lucky I was to be raised with the morals that I was raised with. It gave me the opportunity to take what I wanted from what I was raised with and become my own person through it, and a lot of it did turn out to be an appreciation and an understanding that at the end of the day, family is everything. Also an appreciation for all of the things my parents did do for us in order to be able to have the life that I have today.
Our value for education is really strong. I think a lot of kids don’t care about school, myself included, until they get older. I didn’t realize how important it was to have an education. My family really instilled that in me. I come from a really educated family. I went back to school and ended up graduating later in life.
My father is from Israel and my mother is the first generation in her family to be born in America. Her family is from Ireland. We were raised with tradition. I’m sure Hana can probably relate, even though we have very different cultures. The way people view the Middle East here is very different than how it actually is. It is true that family is very important; in Israel everyone is very family-oriented even if they’re not your actual blood – everyone embraces community and wants to help each other out.
In Miami, we’re a big melting pot – we have all different kinds of cultures and it’s wonderful. I like to celebrate my culture by helping whoever needs help. You can knock on anybody’s door and get fed or have shelter where I come from. The community and the need for security is everywhere. I’ve always felt very proud of my culture. I love my country, I want everybody to get along and let go of their need of power and the need to be right. That is my dream for the world.