Orlando Burgos Carrillo

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When I was an eight-year old boy living in Carolina, Puerto Rico, my parents gave my sister and me the news we were moving to Mexico at the beginning of summer. I had to say goodbye to everything I knew.  Even though I didn’t want to leave, on June 23 of 1999, my nine-year-old self arrived at Tampico, Tamaulipas Mexico.  To my surprise, I did not arrive to a desert with people riding donkeys and houses made out of adobe. Instead, I found myself in a busy city with lagoons and beaches surrounding it. Although it was difficult to get used to the different food and way of speaking, with time and patience I was able to discover the amazing life that awaited me in this foreign country. Eventually, I learned to love Mexico and regard it as my home.

To create this memoir, I had to ask my mother, Mirza, to scan pictures from our last years in Puerto Rico and the first ones in Mexico. She also helped me remember some of the details of our first few months in Mexico.

A part of me has always felt like an outsider when it comes to my culture. In Mexico I am regarded as the Puerto Rican, and in Puerto Rico, I am the Mexican. But I’ve learned to embrace the fact I am neither because I am both. It was hard to express in such a short video how hard it was to get used to living so far away from my family in such a different country. Also, I hope it shows how much I ended up loving Mexico with the passing of time. I hope I managed to communicate some of that.

Orlando Burgos Carrillo is a 22-year-old, fourth year Chemical Engineering student from Carolina, Puerto Rico studying at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez where he is trying to discover what his greater purpose in life is – so that he can persue it.

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