In our freshmen year of college Horacio and I became fast friends in the unlikely setting of a calculus class. Horacio has a way of making friends with everyone. His warm, humble personality and quick laugh have made him universally liked by peers, family, and faculty. I have been lucky in that I have seen a side of Horacio that few are familiar with.

Unlike many of the friends you make in college, I have been able to meet Horacio’s entire extended family. During the summer of 2011 I traveled with Horacio and his younger brother, Felix, to Ecuador for 6 weeks. We stayed with his relatives in Chone, Guayaquil, Pedernales, Rocafuerte and Quito. Three of those weeks we worked at his uncle’s shrimp lab and roamed around his farm, La Larva Azul. Most mornings we would go to the lab and in the afternoons swim in sea. We visited his uncle’s farm occasionally and “observed” things going on but more often than not found ourselves picking pineapples and chasing chickens instead.

In the fall of 2011 I had Thanksgiving at his home in Ossining, NY. His mother “prepared” a beautiful meal and friends and family alike filled their small, New England home. While all the guests spoke Spanish fluently, I found myself mainly speaking with children because of my limited Spanish. The summer of 2012 his mother and I planned his 20th birthday-which turned out to be a week long event.

While there are many aspects of Horacio that make him who he is, his connection to Ecuador and his migration to the United States have helped to shape him into the person he is today. Horacio is both a friend and a brother to me and I am honored to help share his story.

2013Click Here To Watch: An Introduction