In a world where most people are disgusted or sad, some for good reason and others by choice, meeting someone with a jovial temper does not happen very often. Our interviewee is a young woman who was born in Ecuador, in Macas city, which is the capital of the province of Morona Santiago. Her name is Gerica Priscila Rivadeniera Campoverde. She has two names and two surnames as is customary in Latin American countries, due to Spanish influence.
Tell me a little about your family. She replied: “Well, I come from a very, very large family. I have sixteen siblings, ten from my mother’s side and six from my father’s, so I never felt alone and I always had the support of my siblings. Let’s say that when you have so many siblings you learn the importance of sharing, tolerating and learning. Patience is like brown sugar. Everything becomes much easier.”
Was it very hard to leave your family in Ecuador? She quickly answered: “My mother is in Ecuador. Some of my siblings, like me, also decided to make their living outside of Ecuador, some in Spain and others in different U.S. cities. I definitely miss my mother. There is nothing in life more beautiful than the affection of our mother. No matter if we are children or adults, we always need our parents. However, I was very much in love and it was illogical to ask my husband-to-be to move to Ecuador. He has a small daughter and he is a very responsible father who is very attached to her. That’s why I moved. He also told me that in this country, one does not need a university degree to find work. Here, I could see that it was true. The most important thing is to know a trade and to put a lot of effort into what you do so you can be successful.”
What has been your best experience in this country? She explained: “To be honest, I do not stop to think about negative things. I always think positively, so for me, everything I’ve been through since I came two years ago has been good. People waste their time thinking about bad things because what you think is bad, sooner or later, will bring something good. This is why I do not stop, even on days when I am extremely exhausted after spending up to 10 hours standing at work. But I come home with the satisfaction of knowing that every customer was well attended, that my supervisor praised me and that with the money earned, I will buy my dream house. I currently have two jobs and also study at night.
What are you studying? She replied: “I am studying English. I do not want to be in a country without speaking its language. It is extremely enjoyable for me to share with immigrants who, like me, want to adapt, overcome and eventually, feel identified with the place that is now our home. This is a great country and I hope no policy changes that. In my two jobs, I share with foreigners and Americans alike, and in the end, there is no difference because we are all children of God in search of a place in the world that welcomes us. Some are fortunate to never have to immigrate, but others have to do so and then we must accept, understand and abide by the rules and customs of the new country.
What would be your final message be? “Regardless of what size our problem is, we will always find a solution. Let us be patient, grateful and let us not forget that a smile also opens small and large doors. So the first step to being happy is to smile.”
María Danniella Gutiérrez-Salem practiced law in Venezuela before going after her own American Dream and becoming a writer in the United States. Mdgutier@gmail.com.