Our interviewee today is an educated, enterprising and very honest young man named Julián Pacheco. He was born in Bridgeport, CT, but his parents are originally from Luquillo, Puerto Rico, which is why he considers himself Boricuan.
Tell me about your family. With a very soft tone of voice, he replied, “Well, my family is very big. I have five brothers and I am the youngest. My father came to the United States with the same desire that everyone has when coming from the island: to look for better opportunities for him and for us 25 years ago. He is a hardworking man who knows a little bit of everything, although his profession is being a mechanic, specifically in tinwork. My parents are very good and hardworking people, which is why I started to work as a teenager, first in construction and then helping my father in his workshop. Unfortunately, because of modernization and huge workshops, small workshops have been affected and my father has not escaped this economic reality.”
What do you currently do? With the same calm, he replied: “I work in an office and my job is to follow up on records related to real estate that the company administers. It can be very interesting because one has to be creative as well as persistent to get what is needed and I am a very focused person. I sometimes think that I am overly calm but then I realize that in a world with so much violence, it may not hurt to have people like me. I prefer to do things slowly but well done, as opposed to doing them fast but with mediocre results.”
What moment of your life do you think marked you? With a nostalgic tone, he said: “For me, it was very hard when my parents separated while I was in seventh grade, as I was a student. With the divorce, everything changed. I emotionally got out of control. My mother is a woman with a golden heart and she is very strong but our personalities are very different and maybe that is why I felt more identified with my dad and his absence made me very sad. Now things have changed and I am an adult; I understand that I must continue my own life. That is why I will get my certification and money to open a workshop.”
If you could give advice to someone, what would it be? “Well, my philosophy in life is really simple. If you get up early, you can achieve everything; if you get up late, the day will not be long enough. I am also one of those people who thinks that someone who dreams of being a millionaire has two options: to buy many lottery tickets or to work in a trade where he earns much more than a minimum wage.”
What do you think of the country’s current state of affairs? “Today, people are being labeled in a country that claims to be free. I do not think that prejudices are good. Besides, this is a society that was born diverse, developed diverse and emerged as a world power because diversity allowed it.”
What would your final message be? “We must value life with its good moments and also the bad ones. God gives us thousands of tools, not meant to be kept in a box. Let’s use our intelligence, temperament, enthusiasm and strength to achieve our goals and reach out to others.”
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.