An Open ‘Ciao for Now’ Letter to my Parents

Dear Mom & Dad,

I don’t know how to break this to you but…Sorry, uhh, you started it.

Yeah, I said it.

You started it when you decided to leave Brazil for the States so that our family could have better opportunities, so that I could have a better education, and all that sweet jazz. And now look at me! Typing this to you in English. Cool, huh?

You started it when you signed me up for dance classes, even when times were tough, after you’d hear Vovô call me his little “movie star,” and me — in my 3 year old Portuguese — say I wanted to be a ballerina. You started it when you encouraged me to read and study and create and keep chasing the things important to me. Yep, all that discipline and responsibility I learned from dance, education, and art? All you.

It was you who buckled me up and took me along road trips and flights when Dad had to work in far away lands, like peachy Atlanta, beyond frozen solid Minneapolis, and super-boring-for-a-9-year-old-but-still-cool-I-guess Las Vegas. It was you who plopped me on a plane to Brazil and back a couple of times, first with you and then ~alone~ at the bite sized age of 13. Because of that, technically, it was you who taught me how to travel and how to travel smartly, which all came in handy when you gave me the “Ok, pode ir, mas presta atenção!” when I started those trips by myself into NYC and Philly early on in high school, eventually taking those trips farther across rivers and oceans. Remember all this? Well, I developed a pretty darn strong sense of independence and intelligence all because of you.

So, yeah, I am really sorry for leaving again, but I mean, it’s kinda your fault for being so incredibly supportive, encouraging, and trusting, and for truly teaching me to believe that anywhere can be reached and that anything can be achieved if I really go after it.

You created this monster Millennial. Agora aguenta.

Dad once said that “luck” is just preparation meeting opportunity, but that theory doesn’t really explain how I am so lucky to have you two as parents. I must have done some serious preparation in my previous life to have struck gold with this opportunity, or maybe sometimes, luck can just be luck.

Either way, thank you infinitely for spoiling me with a foundation of passion, independence, and a work ethic so strong that I’ve been able to take my dreams and manifest them into realities sometimes that seem too good to be true.

You’ve done your job and I think you’ve done it well. I’ve done my preparations and now opportunity’s calling. It’s calling transatlantically — again — but I was taught that when it calls and we’re prepared, we listen. And I should know, I think at this point, I’m an expert at luck.

I love you both to infinity and beyond, and again: this is all because of you. Thank you.

Yours always — regardless of the miles, mountains, and oceans between us,

Your little Mililica,

Isabela Cristina Arena Secanechia

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Yep, I’m a lucky girl… Thank you. May 2017

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