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October 19, 2012 Denver, CO – For some people the American Dream is the ultimate goal, but for others like Catterin Cortes, after experiencing this lifestyle, she yearns for something different. Cortes, 23 and a student at the Community College of Denver, has been living here for the past 4 years, but every day she misses her native Colombia more and more. Growing up in Colombia she did not have any luxuries. She worked two jobs, one during the week at a bank call center and during the weekends she worked selling cell phones, plans and accessories at the El Dorado International Airport in Bogota, Colombia. At the same time, she was going to college taking night classes for Airline Administration, with hopes of becoming a flight attendant. Even though her schedule was tight, she still says that she enjoyed her life and felt very content. Yes, she did have worries, mostly financial, but she describes how her life was full in comparison to what is in now here in this country. Being given the opportunity to move to the United States, she and her mom left everything behind to start a new life. Everyone in Colombia, just like in many other countries, they constantly hear about the American dream and the vast pool of opportunities this country has to offer. Like everyone else, they wanted to explore this and see if they too could come out of poverty and succeed. They have succeeded. They have a house in Parker, CO, have a new family, have good jobs and are both going to school. The American Dream, at least in terms of financial stability, they have achieved it. But what does Catterin yearn for and why does she miss Colombia so much? Happiness.


After being enrolled in CCD for 3 years, she says nothing has really changed. She has a semester left before she gets her Associate’s in Graphic Design, but she still has not made many friends. She says, “Everyone is so preoccupied with school, work, and their responsibilities, that people come to school but it is like they are really not here, their minds are elsewhere.� She still feels left out because of the language barrier, even though she is now fluent in English, she says that because of her accent people prefer not to talk to her because they cannot understand her. She is not complaining and will never complain, especially after being given such an amazing opportunity, one that she is really thankful for. But she does say that if she would have known, she would have stayed in Colombia, being full of joy while her wallet was empty, instead of coming here to feel secluded and alone in exchange for monetary gains. She says that she now understands that money truly does not buy happiness.


C.Cortes Interview