Childhood in Argentina

Alejandra as a child

Alejandra as a child

I was always a very unconventional individual.  You could say that I was kind of a tomboy during my childhood. I loved riding my bike… always too fast! I rode my bike like a lunatic. My friends from the neighborhood would meet up with me so we could ride bikes together. We often played outside, and we enjoyed that time very much. My main goal was to be able to ride my bike on the curb. I don’t know why I wanted to do that, but I fell so many times before I achieved that goal. My knees were completely destroyed but that was my goal and I was determined.  I was always a rebel!

While I was a curious child, there was also a part of me that wanted to be accepted.  Because of this, I wanted to be like everyone else when I was a little kid.  This seems to be characteristic of that stage of development, girlbikesince most children don’t have an identity at a young age.  I was the only child and I received a lot of affection.  I remember it was very difficult to leave for school.  The bus would came to pick me up and I cried the whole ride to school because I didn’t want to leave my mom. My attachment to my mother is one of the many positive memories from my childhood.  I had a strong relationship with my mom, although she’s completely different from me. She’s very feminine, not as self-spoken, and not as much of a worrier as I am.

The main characteristic of my childhood was the desire to feel like I belonged. That is something that commonly happens to kids and teenagers. It was very important to me to feel like I belonged. Thankfully, I have a great family which played a large role in fulfilling and developing my sense of belonging and place.  I have great parents, a wonderful grandmother, and an aunt I care for.  This aunt, who was single, made all my clothes by hand; she was a Haute Couture dressmaker.  While I was studying in school, everyone always complimented me on my clothes.

Alejandra at her 15th birthday party

Alejandra at her 15th birthday party with cousin Juan Carlos Gonzalez Zocca, 35 at the time

In addition, my grandmother cooks. I grew up in a great environment of loving, caring, and nurturing individuals. In addition to many strong relationships with family members, I had many friends.  In fact, I became very attached to my friends.  I would get very emotional if they rejected me. Now I don’t give a sh!t but, you know, back then… haha!

Click to hear about Alejandra and her friends 

I loved making friends so I surrounded myself with people and was always very friendly.  Part of the reason I loved making friends is that I was always interested in learning what was going on outside my world.

Trip to Bariloche, Argentina in 1978, Alejandra's (back row farthest left) last year of high school

Trip to Bariloche, Argentina in 1978, Alejandra’s (back row farthest left) last year of high school

While I was attached to my family and friends, I was also inquisitive and driven.  I liked to study, learn other languages, and communicate with people. I was very curious and always wanted to learn about anything that was outside my world. I always loved music.  I learned piano and I learned guitar by ear. I taught myself guitar! I think the main characteristic of my personality is that I was very independent. I wanted to learn about everyone around me and the world around at large.

I started catholic school when I was five years old and continued there until I was teenager. Since it was the same school for grade school and highschool, the people were all the same and we became very close.  I remember when I was learning piano I had a nun for a teacher, a very old nun. I went for lessons once or twice a week. One day, maybe after 3-4 months of piano lessons, she died. My friend teaseed that, “after [the nun] listened to you play the piano, she died” haha! I thought that was funny.  Anyways, I was always involved, willing to help, and very active in school. Since I went to a catholic school, we had church and they always needed someone to play the guitar for mass. I would be there always playing, trying to help.

Love of animals
My love for animals started to develop when I was a kid. We always had un canario, a canary. It’s very common in Italy and I think they brought that custom to Argentina. We had 2 or 3 canaries until the last one died. We didn’t buy new ones because we moved to an apartment so we couldn’t have animals then.

Alejandra's dogs, Lilly & Sparky

Alejandra’s dogs, Lilly & Sparky

I think it was later in life that I developed my love for animals, though.  I would say the last decade I realized and started to pay attention. I have 2 dogs. When I got my dog, a yellow Labrador in 2004, my son Maximiliano named him Sparky, I developed a special relationship with him so I started paying more attention. I developed more compassion and realized the cruelty animals experience all over the world. They can’t defend themselves. It’s my personality to feel compelled to help people who are powerless or don’t have any way to defend themselves. I see children and animals especially like that.

 Next Section: Leaving Argentina and Establishing a Career in Chicago