Pivoting Moments

First of all I would like to thank you girls for asking me to share with you some of the most pivotal moments that have shaped my life. 

Whenever I have been faced with a pivotal moment in my life, I have looked at it with optimism. I like the term you girls have chosen:  “pivoting moments”, as I used to play basketball and pivoting defines the action of not being able to dribble but instead with both feet on the court having to make a rapid decision of what action and outcome will follow the move all in a matter of seconds. When it comes to sports I am very competitive, when I had the ball, I had to make the decision to turn, rotate and move into a new direction. A direction where I had to make a decision to either pass or score all in the best interest of my team.

I have had moments in my life, when my life fell into a routine. The pivoting moments that I will share with you have added some adrenaline and adventure in my life, a twist which led me to face unforeseen challenges. 

One of my first pivoting moments was when I decided to get married. I have a vivid memory of the time of day; when I was in my bedroom, wearing my wedding dress and I scanned  360 degrees looking at my room. My room was my comfort zone, and this day marked a moment of personal growth, where I had to leave the comfort of my household and family.  I had mixed emotions and I immediately thought that it was the best for me, for my future. This pivotal moment was definitely the best for me as it brought a life full of adventures, and I have loved it.

A second pivotal moment in my life was when I decided to get pregnant and start a family. I say “I” because my husband wanted to plan the perfect timing, but I wanted to be young when having my children. We were both Post Graduate University students, so thinking about the right timing….was too difficult. And so I thought: “If there are other students studying while raising a family, I can do it too”…so it happened. I had to present my dissertation thesis very pregnant, and it probably helped me filter some of the tough questions from the “jury”. Hahaha.   

After my first child, two years later came my second, another blessing. My kids have blessed my life, and those moments are SO unique, that you think for a moment: “I am now a parent, and definitely have to be responsible”. I can say that I definitely try my best when it comes to being responsible, I like living “The Now” and take certain risks in my life that I sometimes forget about my age. 

Metals can be molded, are malleable and can take many different shapes. Like a metal, I experienced an unfortunate time that marked my life forever. In 1996, I was held hostage in the Japanese Embassy in Peru, 8 ½ months pregnant, of my lovely daughter Diana. The lessons learned that night and the decisions both my husband and I took to stay alive, analyzing our moves and being smart, have definitely made a turn in my life. I am fearless. I am courageous. I value my life and see life with a positive attitude. We had a second chance!

The last pivotal moment I would like to share is one that has made me grow culturally and intellectually. It has made me appreciative of our environment, aware of poverty, and being compassionate and understanding for people in need. The year 2000, was the year I had to leave my parents behind in Lima, that I loved immensely, and welcome a new life away from home. In the year 2000 we all moved to Madagascar; Ernesto (13), Eduardo (11), Diana (3 ½). My husband was offered an opportunity to work in developing countries, and we left many things behind: family, friends, comfortable routine lives, and great jobs. I moved from having 25 students in my class to a school that had only 105 kids from PreK to Grade 12!!! This was really a pivotal moment that shaped my family in many meaningful ways.

I am immensely thankful to have lived many special moments with family. We lived 15 years abroad, and spent time in 3 different countries in Africa and in Guatemala. When I lived in Malawi, our last African place after living in Ethiopia, I had the pleasure of opening the door of my house, taking a deep breath of fresh air and thinking to myself: “I am still in Africa”!! This was amazing and surreal. I am grateful as every country welcomed us, and professionally I was offered jobs in each school my kids attended. Like basketball, this new journey required me to adapt to new circumstances, evaluate  the environment, and move forwards, making a leap into new pivoting directions. Why not take these opportunities that life brought to us?  Raising my family abroad has been a gift for all of us and has definitely shaped the way I am.

As I reflect on my pivoting moments, I can assure you that your life will present opportunities that you cannot even think of right now. It is during these moments when you pause, reflect on your goals, evaluate your possibilities and take action towards your dreams and aspirations. It has been worth it for us, as a family, to have had so many turning points in our lives even if they were unforeseen. Stay positive, be thankful, and live your life with passion liking what you do.

Ana Teresa Carrillo

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