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American Dream Series, News


By Maria Danniella Gutiérrez- Salem

Who dreams of a job where you are paid for doing what you love? I believe absolutely everyone dreams of this! Our interviewee is one of those lucky people. She was born and lived in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil, until 2004, when she decided to come to the United States looking for a better future. She told me that she considered herself blessed by her family, friends and work.

What motivated you to come to America? With a big smile, Graziela replied: “My brother. He came to the United States in 1998 and he would not stop talking about the wonders of this country. I had heard from others that this was the land of opportunity. This piqued my curiosity so I decided to come to see for myself if everything they had said was true. Once I was here, I fell in love with this country because, for the first time, I felt independent. In Brazil, I lived with my parents, always protected and pampered by them. My family is very close and loving, but I must admit that I did not feel strong or independent. For example, I never had any type of financial responsibility. However, I had a good life and graduated as an accountant. I wanted to find my own way, write my own story, with failures and successes, making it completely mine.”

Do you have good friends? She answered with conviction: “When you live in another country, your closest friends become your family. They are here to support you but you should also do the same with them. The blessing of having good people around you becomes your responsibility. Every day of my life, I try to give the best of me. I can accomplish this only if I use the talents God gave me. Here in the U.S., I have learned Spanish and English. Almost daily, I become an interpreter anywhere I go. This does not bother me because my reward is in knowing I’m doing the right thing. I am currently living with a couple of friends who have a child. They are very special to me and their child is like a niece to me, who manages to make me smile with some game when I am tired.”

Tell me why you think that you are paid for doing what you love? She quickly explained: “Since l arrived in the United States, my goal was to succeed and have a decent life. I worked cleaning houses, as a nanny and in a food store, among other things. However, I then decided to study and obtained a certificate in business from Western State. After that, I met the owner of the company for which I currently work as a driving instructor. It is a job that brings many rewards and makes me feel good as a human being. I have the opportunity of dealing daily with immigrants who, like me, came to this country in search of better lives. Here, there are great opportunities for people who work hard. I help them to learn to drive, in some cases making them familiar with driving rules that are different from those in their country. Every customer is a new challenge for me as I try to adapt to their needs. But in the end it is always comforting to know that their lives will change and that, one way or another, I have helped them with it. A driver’s license in this country is synonymous with independence.

Finally, what would your message be? Her final words were: “For me, life is in every action, thought or moment. We can use it to succeed or simply sit and complain, watching those who succeed because they are not afraid to try.”

Danniella Maria Gutierrez-Salem practiced law in Venezuela before pursuing her own American dream of becoming a writer in the United States.


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July 25, 2016

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