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Maria Camila Palacio

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Maria Camila Palacio was born in 1992 in Bogota Columbia. In 2015 she moved to Chicago, Illinois to attend Loyola University and work towards her master's degree

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0:03:09

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Please contact Immigration History Research Center staff for permissions not covered by this Creative Commons license.

Transcription

I have always liked family stories, they have just the right amount of truth and fiction. As Hector Abad Faciolince, a Colombian author once wrote: "When one comes from a big family fiction is almost unnecessary: in a big family everything has occurred at least once." I, like many other Colombians, grew up in a big family full of wonderful stories, but the most amazing ones are their traveling stories. Both my mom and my dad's fathers were travelers in their own way. My grandfather Alfonso Chivivi traveled all around the world, but one of his most interesting stories is when he lived in Buenos Aires as a personal guest of president Juan Domingo Peron. He didn't know Peron when he traveled to Argentina, but he was invited to one of Peron's state dinners as the representative of the jeweler unions in Colombia. To prepare for his journey he bought some very cheap emeralds to try to sell them in Buenos Aires for a greater price. However, he could not sell them around the city because they did not have the greatest quality. Thus, during the state dinner, he decided to give them as a personal present to Evita, Peron's wife. Just like that, and thanks to a bunch of cheap emeralds, he became a personal guest of the Peron family and lived in Buenos Aires for six moths at the government's expenses. On the other hand and around the same time, Eduardo Palacio, my other grandfather/parent, was living a less luxurious but just as beautiful traveling story. He grew up in Ituango, a very small town in the middle of the Antioquia's mountains. When he was 14 years old he traveled to Medellin, the capital of the department of Antioquia and one of Colombia's main cities. He had to travel by mule in a four-day journey, because, at that time, there was no road connecting Ituango with Medellin. Once he arrived in Medellin, he was dazzled by the greatness of that city. He had never seen a car before and was amazed and intrigued by how cars turned around in the corners. For him, car's functioning was almost miraculous. In Medellin, he earned a scholarship to finish High school and then got another scholarship to study at a university in Bogota where he eventually met and marry my grandmother. In 2015 it was my time to live in another city and have my own traveling stories. That year I moved to Chicago to start my Master's degree at Loyola University. Living in Chicago has greatly affected my life. I have learned to be more independent and, at least, fake it as an adult. But the most important part is that I have met people from all the corners of the world who have filled my life with new amazing stories. I call them my international family. I have friends from Georgia, Kosovo, Laos, Angola and China, and they have all shared with me bits of their life story and the history of their countries. I will return home in the near future and will take back plenty of travel stories to tell the future generations of my family.