I am a first generation Cuban-American; both of my parents were born in Habana, Cuba. They saw America as the land of opportunity. They fervently worked to give me the educational opportunity they never had, and a chance at deciding my own future. My mother immigrated to Miami when she was 15. She struggled with the English language as she fought to finish high school. My father grew up in boarding schools. He finished high school in Habana, but when he tried to enroll in college, he was denied the career path he wanted. I am my parents’ only child. They enrolled me in school, glad that I would at least be guaranteed an education. From the moment I could hold a pencil I was drawing everyone and everything around me. Sketchbooks would fill up as my mother shook her head at the alarming rate at which I would draw: a career as an artist would only lead to poverty. My mother wanted me to study law. My grandmother wanted me to study medicine. My father, having been denied a career path of his choice, wanted me to study whatever made me happy. I chose to be a painter.