Even if you are from the same neighborhood as someone else, you might still be coming from different places. Where you are from is a complicated question and it elicits complicated, but interesting and thought-provoking responses. We’ve shared some of those responses below.

Caoimhe Dalton | Visual Artist & Printmaker

I am from Ireland. I was born in Dublin, the capital, though I spent a lot of my childhood in the countryside in south-west Kerry. I find myself back in the wilds of Kerry now. On a moonless night like tonight it is pitch black. Every strange noise is the banshee and every inexplicable flicker, a fairy light. Here me and my siblings would sit for hours on end at waters edge looking for merrows and shine up copper coins to lure in the wee folk. We crawled through abandoned houses convincing each other we had seen ghosts and Púca’s. It is a beautiful and wild part of the world, a place where it is hard to imagine these tales aren’t anything but absolute truth. I still love Irish folklore to this day and it influences most of the work that I make. Lately, with the world growing ever more obsessed with illness by the day, I have become obsessed with folk-medicine specifically. It is said one way to get ‘The Cure’ is to marry a man with the same surname. Another is to be the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter. I’ve heard that if you hand a new born baby a worm and it crushes it that child will grow to have the Cure for ringworm. Read more>>

Samah Abukhodeir | Lawyer & Entrepreneur

My family is from Jerusalem and I’m Palestinian-American. I was born and raised in Lake Wales, Florida which is a small town in central Florida that is not very well known. We were the only Arab-American family in our town. My parents came from Jerusalem to the United States in 1987 with nothing to their names. My father, who is a German-educated physician, attempted to renew his license in the United States however due to the difficulties with the new language and new born baby (me), was not able to achieve his life long dream of practicing medicine in the United States. He instead sought employment anywhere that would hire him to provide for his growing family. My mother, who was only 20 years old when arriving with my father also immediately began the process of learning English and working odd jobs to help provide with my father. They both put their dreams on hold to make sure me and my sisters were taken care of and were afforded every educational opportunity to become successful young women. Now, 30 years later, me and my sisters share 2 Masters degrees and a doctorate between the 3 of us, and 2 of us are university professors. Read more>>

Massiel Navedo | Makeup and Lash Artisit

I was born in Managua , Nicaragua and migrated to Miami Florida with my family at the age of 2. I grew up in Miami until the age of 8, then moved to The south Miami town of Cutler Bay, when I lived there it was known as Cutler Ridge and it will forever be my home . I’m the 4th out of 5 children. My Mother and Step-Father worked tirelessly to provide everything we needed . We were not rich in material things but we had each other . Seeing my parents work so hard , my mom with 2 jobs and eventually opening up her own business Flower shop, and keeping her shop open during all seasons no matter the obstacles, made me realize that we are all capable of anything we truly want. It just takes a little courage , consistency and lots of sacrificing . I learned at a young age that failure was not an option because my parents worked too hard to see me fail. They worked day and night to make sure we finished school and got reward jobs. After finishing my Bachelors in Finance and pursing a career in finance for 10 years, deciding to leave the corporate world was the most difficult battle for me. Read more>>

Marck Gutt | Don Viajes | Photographer, Travel Writer and Blogger.

I was born and raised in Mexico City and I identify myself as a gay, heretic Jew, Mexican man. Altogether, a combination of labels not often found happily mingling. I’ve always considered myself an out-of-the-box thinker and it’s no coincidence. While growing up, not a single box was diverse enough for me to fit in without having to give up a significant part of my identity. Today, I don’t feel like I have to sacrifice who I am nor sugarcoat my interests in order to have a voice. On the contrary, I make a living out sharing stories and expressing opinions on an eclectic array of topics. I run a Spanish speaking sustainable travel blog where lush tropical destinations and remote national parks are amazing opportunities to discuss cultural appropriation, migrant crisis and climate change. Read more>>

Laura Cepeda | Certified Tea Sommelier

I am from the Caribbean island, Grenada. I was raised by a village. From my mother and father, to aunts and uncles, whose years of wisdom contributes so much guidance to my everyday life. Both my parents and grandparents were men and women of faith. We ate every meal, together, at the table. We spent a lot of time watching movies, as a family. My parents and grandparents held strong family and individual values. Discipline, love, self respect and respect for elders were enforced in our home. I was taught from an early age about having self-confidence. An attorney and Certified Accountant, with his own practice, my father taught me a lot. Through his own triumphs and hardships, he taught me a lot about life, relationships, career and personal. This kind of cultural backdrop shaped my ideals for life and, in more ways than one, it prepared me to live in NYC. I was taught the power of self-love at an early age. Because of my upbringing, I am able to bypass the lonely place, NYC can be. Read more>>

Kelsey Zamoyski | Founder of Defy Therapy & Wellness

I grew up in Buffalo, NY, known not only for our chicken wings and winter blizzards, but as the “city of good neighbors.” Buffalo is a place wherever you walk you’ll be greeted by hellos, how are you, and exceptional customer service. A city where hard-work and integrity are valued and community is essential. Growing up these values were instilled in me. My family always said if I could dream it, I could do, nothing was impossible. These values have been essential in my success and impacted my business decision. I am committed to upholding these values and instilling these principles in my life both personally and professionally. Read more>>

Dr. Malissa Sanon | Author and Speaker

Malissa Sanon was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (Broward County), to two Haitian immigrants. She is the youngest and the only daughter of 4 children. She is an alumna of Westwood Heights Elementary, Parkway Middle, and South Plantation High School. After high school, Malissa enrolled at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) where she majored in psychology and minored in sociology. In 2012, Malissa was inducted into the Hall of Fame at FGCU. As a psychology major and sociology minor, Malissa learned the importance of mental health and wanted to learn more. Malissa decided that she wanted to study mental health counseling and continued her education. She received her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from FGCU in 2015. After complete her master’s degree, In the fall of 2015, she started her doctoral degree at Florida Atlantic University. Within two years of starting within the Ph.D. program, Malissa received another master’s degree in Higher Education in December of 2017. To Malissa, the field of study higher education was new and the coursework was tedious. Read more>>

Marlena Ivory | Digital Creator

I was born and raised in Miami, FL in a single parent home. Growing up we didn’t have what we wanted but my mother definitely ensured we had what we needed. My mother has always been the driving force of who I am today. She taught perseverance, how to strive for excellence, and responsibility. Every extra-curricular activity, dance practice, JROTC, Delta Sigma Theta Debutante Meetings/Trips, SGA, etc., my mother made it her duty to be there. She always told me that nothing in this world would be given to me and I had to work for what I wanted. My mother constantly set the bar. Living on a college campus can get pretty expensive, however, in order to support me financially my mother took up a second job cleaning houses all while going to school to get her bachelors! So while supporting me in college, my mother managed to get her Bachelors and Masters! Whew! My mom is definitely a superhero. Currently, she still gives me moral support and is always there when I need her. Anytime I set a goal for myself, she lets me know that nothing can hinder me from obtaining it except me. Throughout my life, I have carried her tenacity , independency, and her ability to always excel. Without my mother, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. Read more>>

Diana Benedetti | Artist

I am from Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. The “Heroic City”, as it is commonly called, declared by Unesco as “Patrimony of Humanity,” has always been a city bursting with history and legend. Cartagena became a melting pot of cultures all fused together with the same religion: Catholicism. It was a city where fables, history and legends intertwined in a way, which made Cartagena exceptional. Gradually, this coastal city on the northern part of Colombia, acquired a unique community, which was a mixture of aristocracy, bourgeoisie, and rigid catholic and African traditions. I was raised in this mythical city with a turbulent past and metropolitan present, influencing not only my personality but also my distinctive style. Read more>>

Angela Page | Founder of Love Your Rebellion

I think the two things from my background and upbringing that have the most impact on who I am today are being a first-generation Italian-American, and being raised by a gay parent. Being the child to immigrant parents gave me a particular perspective on the world, and more specifically, the U.S. I often saw the U.S. through my parents eyes. Those views were often hopeful, but they also included things like watching my father trying to get rid of his Italian accent because he wanted to “sound more professional.” When I was 13, my father came out. It would be impossible to try and innumerate the ways in which this event from my teens shaped me. I can only really identify how my experience of family life differs from that of others when it’s brought up in conversation. I can say that both of these parts of my upbringing and background have made me interested in the unique struggles of individuals. Read more>>

Yailyn Felipe | Food Blogger & Influencer

I am Cuban American. I was born and raised in Broward county Florida. My background and upbringing has impacted who I am today because of the people around me. I am surrounded by culture and diversity which is why I love to meet new people and try foods from all around the world. Read more>>

Danielle Tasso | Hypnotist, Life Coach, Trauma Healing

I grew up and live on Long Island, NY. I lost both my parents to cancer when I was a teenager, one right after the other so by the time I was an adult, at 21, I was an orphan. I spent most of my 20’s in and out of therapist office but nothing seemed to help. I later went to a hypnotist and felt I was able to release addictions, weight loss, feel better about myself from just a few sessions, it was amazing! At the time, I was in school for Psychology , so I could help others, but after being introduced to Hypnosis, that is where I felt my calling was. Read more>>

Charmaine Borda | Mother. Author. Professor. Doctor of Philosophy and Licensed Practitioner of the Healing Arts

A little about where I came from and how I started to become Charmaine Borda. Online E-Zine: Borda, C. S. (2017). Culture Shock: Her Name Was Rene. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Florida Storytelling Association: Inside Story. November/December 2017, (pp. 21-23).https://flstory.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/InSideStory-NovDec2017.pdf. Read more>>

Amira Hadla | Vegan Cook

I was born in Venezuela, daughter of a polish woman and a lebanese man. I think growing up surrounded by three different cultures made me develop my big passion for food and cooking. Having to share with them separately, help them cook, trying different type of dishes, tastes, spices and combinations, definitely made me have no limits of taste. I feel so lucky for having experienced venezuelan food for my everyday life with a bunch of pluses coming from the middle eastern influence of my father and the polish flavors from my mother. Read more>>

Jessica Kelly Silverio | Licensed Esthetician & Entrepreneur

I was born in Boston, Massachusetts by amazing Brasilian parents who sacrificed a lot for me to be where I am today. Being a first generation American, I most definitely had to figure most things out on my own at an early age. Although I felt a different weight of responsibility to ensure their sacrifices paid off, I am eternally grateful that the weight I have carried has truly made me stronger. I am more independent, which has given me the strength to take more risks and take initiative towards things with no regrets. In addition, I am fluent in multiple languages and have cross cultural experiences that have shaped my hunger for success at a whole different level. I truly credit my upbringing, experiences and more due to my diverse cultural exposure since birth. Read more>>