Before he left the United States for Colombia in June, Jorge Gonzalez Coa wrote this piece about his life, how he defines family, how he learned to take risks and what he hopes to accomplish after he returns to home. Jorge studied business at Pierce College on the Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) in 20014-15.
My name is Jorge Luis Gonzalez Coa. I would like to share a little bit about me, my family and about one of the greatest moments in my whole life.
I was born in October 1993, in a small town called Chigorodo, I am the fifth born out of 10 children. Before my parents got married, my mother had three children. After that, I was their first born and the only black boy, because after me, all my siblings were born with white skin. It sounds weird, but it is true. I grew up in Carepa-Antioquia where I have spent practically all my life with my family and friends from high school and childhood.
Eleven years ago I got sick, my mother took me to the doctor and then I was subject to have a biopsy surgery. The night before of that surgery, I experienced the worst pain I have ever felt, I can even say that I could see the light at the end of the hall, and that God brought me back to life; He gave me the chance to make big changes in my life, the changes started with me, because after that situation, I realized I was not a respectful child. My family considered me as “La Oveja Negra” (The Black Sheep). Having the near death experience inspired me to change that and start making better choices about how I live my life.
I never thought about how big my family was, I always believed that my family was my parents and my eight siblings, and that was it. So, I was wrong, I have such a wonderful family from all over the world; being here in Lakewood WA, so far from my home town, I have met wonderful people that opened their hearts to me, people from South Africa, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, India, Indonesia, Turkey, Pakistan, and even Colombia, plus other from Latin American countries, and of course, the United States which is our host home.
During my nine months here, I have felt joy, sorrow, happiness, and love, I figured out that family is not just the ones who share the same DNA, but it includes also those who are willing to help you with whatever they can. It also includes those who will give up their time to listen to you, those that see you crying and cry with you, spend time with you talking even when you do not speak the same language. Family can pass over any barrier to communicate with each other and let everyone know that he or she is a vital part of it.
Prior to this experience, I used to be afraid of taking risks, and believed I was not strong enough. I was always pretending within the group, trying to please everyone and make them happy with my actions. I always put others ahead of myself. I needed a break in my life, I needed to stop thinking of others and starting to think of myself. Well, the break finally came, a break of 10 months of living independently in the USA, where people believe in real freedom. Here everyone has shown me that I was born not to fit in, but to stand out. I figured out I can do more than what I can imagine. I have overcome most of my fears, I feel more confidence, and I have grown emotionally and spiritually, my relationship with God has become something very important in my life.
I am about to go home. I am going with great memories, experiences, advice, and critical thinking. I see things in my life differently. I can’t deny things back home will be different when I get home and, I know that reestablishing relationships might be a challenge. But I consider that is what will make me see how strong I am and how useful my time here in America was. I cannot say I have grown, I am more confident and I have overcome my fears, and then go home and let things put me down. This is where I will prove to myself if I did well here or not. We have to be realistic in life and know that we all go through a process, maybe for some it is easier than for others. I do not know what tomorrow holds for me, but I do know that somehow I will overcome it. I am more than a conqueror.
My father once said to me. “Son, I believe you will do well in life” and then said to my mom. “Rafaela, leave Jorge alone, you will see one day the change in his life” and here I am now, and I believe this is just the beginning.
Remember always these words by Calvin Coolidge. “All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.”
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The opinions expressed in this blog by writers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Northwest Community College Initiative program, Edmonds Community College, Whatcom Community College, Pierce College, the United States Department of State or any employee thereof. NWCCI and Edmonds Community College are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied by student bloggers.