I grew up in Bogotá, Colombia. I came here to live in 2000. I finished my career in Bogotá and I wanted to do an MBA. My dad said to come here and he would help me with getting into a school but I couldn’t get the loan. I think because I grew up in multiple cultures I am open to being in different places. One thing I love is the weather here in Tucson. Bogota is very rainy, and where we were in the mountains it is especially cold. When I arrived in Tucson, it made me happy because the sky was so blue and the weather was nice. In Columbia, we used to get together each weekend for anything, it didn’t matter for what. That I do miss a little bit. My grandmother raised me actually, because my mom was working a lot after she and my father got divorced. So my grandma was like my mom. When she passed away, we delayed the wedding. She was the first person I needed approval from to get married.
I can trace my roots back to 1635. There was a family member in Jamestown and one of my early ancestors was a big landowner. So, we’re originally from England and Scotland, but they’ve been in this country for a very long time. Most of them were Southerners so they were on the wrong side of the Civil War. That dispersed all their property, and I think society was changing into a company-controlled society.
I am a photographer now. I have always loved Latin culture. It’s so full of life. There’s so much that I’ve always loved. I love the food, the music, there’s a richness to it that American cultures used to have in the past but really has kind of been separated from. American culture is independent, it emphasizes the lone wolf – your parents want you out of the house when you’re eighteen. I remember as a kid we had a lot more interaction with cousins but as the years go by there’s less and less, and they’re almost more strangers than family members. You’re closer with your friends than your relatives. It’s hard to figure where that comes from, but it’s that idea that you take care of yourself and you don’t need anyone else. I like the richness of the other culture, the family and friends, it’s kind of like a big party when everyone gets together.
The first time I went to Colombia it was great. Bogotá is impressive. It makes New York look like a little background city. Columbia has a little bit of a stigma with the FARC and the terrorists and everything else, but there are places in Los Angeles I would rather not be than anywhere I saw in Colombia. The people are warm. In rural areas, I would see guys in Armani suits waiting for a bus, dressed to the nines. So it is a real interesting shock. And then you go into Bogota, it’s like L.A. in the 1940’s or 50’s. Everybody is immaculately dressed. Even the taxi drivers are in suits. It’s a culture that is very proud of its appearance and education, so you get a sense of that. It’s very impressive