A Meaningful Gift

gift3Happy Friday (and snow day for a lot of us)! Today I want to share with you a special gift I received for Christmas this year. It represents a story that’s incredibly close to my heart — one that holds responsibility in shaping me into who I am today.

If I were to explain to you a list of my top values, family would undoubtedly be at the top. I am incredibly fortunate to have such a giving, loving, involved family whose work ethic and behavior I look up to with great adoration and pride.

When I was gifted this coordinates bracelet by my aunt, uncle, and cousins, I immediately teared up. On September 1, 1961, my grandparents escaped Cuba with three little ones and nothing but a handful of items. Fidel Castro had come to power, and they’d slowly recognized how dangerous of a place Havana was to live. Freedoms were taken away — speech, religion, opinion — things my grandparents couldn’t bear to have taken away from them or their children. When my mother was just shy of 2, my grandmother (a science professor) and my grandfather (an orthodontist) started a new life in New York with very little. It was the most difficult time in their lives — not knowing if they’d successfully escape, and then starting a new life with almost nothing. Fortunately, family was always there. Over the years, most of my relatives were able to escape. I can only imagine what family love and support would have gotten them through (both emotionally and physically) during those times. One example (one of many), is what my grandfather accomplished. He was an orthodontist in Cuba, but his degree wasn’t accepted in the U.S. With three children and very little, he proceeded to attend dental school for a second time so he’d be able to continue his career in orthodontics here. There are so many similar stories with other family members whose hard work and determination and “can’t give up” attitude is what not only made them successful, but the attitude has been passed down through my generation because we have such brilliant role models to look up to. Fast forward to today, and my family is in NY, NC, Florida, California, Louisiana, Illinois, etc. There are doctors, engineers, accountants, bankers, teachers, marketers, and so much more.

This coordinates bracelet is not only representative of the day my family left, but the new life they left for, their unwavering fight, the love and support of family, and most importantly to me, how much they reside in my heart. These values are values I look forward to passing down to my children — the value of hard work, the importance of family support, love, and the confidence that you’re capable of anything you set your mind to.

x Sarah

P.S. Fun fact — when my family escaped, it just so happened that my aunt’s family was aboard the same plane. Little did they know that, years later, their paths would cross again, and they would fall in love.

 

gift1{the date my family came to the U.S.}

gift2 gift4{the coordinates of Havana, Cuba}

18 thoughts on “A Meaningful Gift

  1. This story touched my heart so much. I can’t imagine what the struggle must have been like for your grandparents to start over. How inspiring of your grandfather to attend dental school for a second time to make sure he could provide for his family and also continue to do what he loves. What a beautiful sentiment to have that represented in such a pretty bracelet. I love it!

  2. Beautiful story! I didn’t know you were
    cuban! My parents had a similar experience coming to the U.S. My dad was a medical doctor in Colombia but came to America with nothing and wasn’t even allowed to keep his name as a doctor. For Christmas my finace got me a coordinates necklace to my childhood home, my parents first home in the U.S!

    HashtagFabLife

  3. Wow this is definitely such a meaningful gift. I loved reading about your heritage. I had no idea your family was Cuban. I am from Nicaragua and my family experienced a very similar story and i am so proud of of them for all their accomplishments.
    Marly
    http://www.GirlyLove.org

  4. this is such a beautiful bracelet and the meaning behind it is makes it even more special! DEFINITELY a special story to share whenever someone asks about the details on it.

    xoxo
    Amy | pastelnpink.blogspot.com

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