By Elimar Delgado  |   From : Puerto Rico  |   School : Everglades High School

My name is Elimar Delgado and my story is about the importance of family

When I was 15, my mom told me we’d be going to Puerto Rico for the summer. She also told me I’d be spending most of the trip with my dad’s side of the family. I was really scared and nervous. The last time I had been to Puerto Rico, I was 3 years old. Since I was born in the United States, I worried they would think I was too Americanized. I never really had contact with my family on the island. The only person I would talk to was my grandma and only on special occasions.

I wasn’t sure how I would greet them or how I would talk to them. I didn’t know them at all and they didn’t know me. I didn’t want it to be awkward and when I finally came face to face with them, it was the complete opposite. Little did I know, they had been wanting and waiting to see me this whole time. Being honest with myself, I never really felt like I was missing anything because I was always with my mom’s side of the family since most of them live in the Unites States, but I definitely didn’t feel like that by the time I left.

The short time I was with my family, there was an instant connection. I felt comfortable the moment I walked into my grandma’s home. We made amazing memories and shared great stories. Spending time with them made me realize how much family and love I was missing out on. The moment that made me recognize that the most was seeing my great grandma. My great grandma was 103 years old when I finally saw her. She was frail and could no longer speak, eat, or sit up. When she saw me and my brother, somehow, she found the strength to sit up and speak to us. That was a miracle to the family because that was something she hadn’t done in a long time.

I’m 18 years old now and I can say that I am so happy I went on that trip. I am no longer overlooking the family I didn’t know I needed.

At this moment, I see a world full of racism. I see meaningless violence. I see lots of disrespect. I see so much ungratefulness. I see pollution. I see the destruction of animals. Besides the negative, I see the opportunity to grow. I see diversity. I see the chance to voice your opinion.

I want to see unity. I want to see people get along and try to understand each other. I want to see people care a little more about the environment and how they live. I want to see people stop harming animals for selfish reasons. I want the violence to end. I want to see more acceptance and even more diversity. I want the world to become a better place.

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