From Bogota to Liberty

Twenty five years ago, I was in the fourth grade at a school named Colegio De La Salle in Bogota, Colombia. My favorite subject was math, taught by my favorite teacher Rachel. My least favorite was Spanish. My passion was soccer. My favorite player was the Frenchman Michel Platini. This was the year of the Mexico ’86 World Cup. Argentina won. It was the golden year of Maradona when he scored the infamous “Hand of God” goal against England.

This was a year of changes for me and my family. My dad had just started a new business after his previous one had collapsed. He worked long hours, and we rarely would see him during the week. Some weekends my sisters and I would go work with him. All the hard work paid off – he is still running that business today.

That same year we also moved to a small farm just outside the city. I really enjoyed living outside the big city for a change. I spent most of my time playing outside, and when it was rainy, I would spend some time playing my favorite video games, Chopper Command and Combat, on my Atari 2600. My older sister was so good at Pac Man, it was annoying.

I remember exactly where I was when I heard of the news that the Space Shuttle Challenger had exploded right after launch on January 28, 1986. I was at a cousin’s house still on vacation from school. It was sad news even for a kid living in South America who had no idea eventually he would end up living, working and becoming a proud citizen of this great country, which is still as full of opportunity as it was back in 1986.

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