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I wake up occasionally to the sound of a rooster crowing. I live in Hartford, the only real city in Connecticut and I wake to the sound of a rooster crowing. I am alone when I wake up and there is sunlight pouring into the room. I know when I go downstairs I will be greeted by many of my favorite people. I scurry down and my grandmother (Mama), my grandfather (Papi), Mom, and my aunt (Titi) are all downstairs doing one thing or another. It smells like coffee and melted butter, and Papi’s crying Spanish music is playing lightly in the background, as always. This is my childhood home. It is living in this house that that helped instill the strong sense of family and culture that I have today. I have always known that when no one else is there for me my family will still be there to support me.
Mom and I moved out when I was around five years old, into our own house. It was a three family home and we lived on the second floor. We lived here until I was in the fourth grade at Saint Augustine School. I remember starting kindergarten late because my mom refused to send me to a Hartford public school. I always expected the best, because my mom only accepted the best for me. Although we didn’t have much my mom would bend over backwards to make me happy, and that selflessness is something I’m still learning from her today.
In the fourth grade I moved to Glastonbury with Mom into my Dad’s house. We lived there for a year and then they got married. A few months after that, he adopted me, making me forever a Phillips. And shortly thereafter, my little sister Brianna was born. I transferred from St. Augustine to a public school in Glastonbury. Here I had some difficulty getting used to things. At my old school there were maybe five Caucasian students in a class of twenty, and now I was among three minorities in my new class. I had always had such a strong sense of diversity, and it was almost culture shock to move into these completely different surroundings.
We spent the next six years in the same house in Glastonbury where my new best friend was a two-minute walk from my house, I had by now had a few seasons of baseball, soccer, and basketball under my belt and, I also discovered that I have a knack for running. I was nearing my sophomore year of high school. By this time I have become completely accustomed to all things Glastonbury. Still, weekly visits to Mama’s house and having my cousins from the city come over my house for shorts stays have helped me to stay true to my roots and my heritage.
I found myself shifted into severely different settings, yet each has taught me many valuable lessons. It wasn’t until I moved to Glastonbury that I realized how special my culture is and how I should value it greatly. I have remained very close to the friend I mentioned above as well as my closest friends from St. Augustine. Staying in touch with the people you’re close to after moving away can be difficult, but it teaches great loyalty. Moving to Glastonbury from Hartford has intensified my pride in my culture and my ability to think with an open mind.
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