12 Years and counting

September 2nd is always a special day for me: it marks the anniversary of my arrival to the United States. 12 Years.

On the one hand, 12 years are only a moment in time; on the other, they’re a lifetime of experiences — joyful, sad, challenging, and utmost rewarding experiences. A date like this puts those experiences, and my life, into perspective.

As I recall that faithful night in 2004, pulling two suitcases behind me, my heart racing, I entered through the dimmed gates at the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago … a 17-year-old with $376 in my pockets and a dream in my heart… burning with a desire for a better life and for a measure of authentic freedom, happiness, and love.

I’ve come a long way since then.

And every time, as September rolls around, I remember all of it and I count my blessings. If the blessings could be counted in stars, my proverbial sky would shine with 50 exceptionally bright ones — they’re the American stars. But they’re also all of the experiences, and all of the people — all of you — who have made this journey so special. Thank you.

Here’s to many more!

Love always,