A dream deferred: Barcelona, April 3


My dad first showed me La Sagrada Familia church in a world architecture book years ago. From then, I became a fan of all of Antoni Gaudi’s work – the man was an architectural genius. I remember promising myself that one day I would come to Barcelona and visit the church…for me, but mostly for my dad.

I toured three of Gaudi’s works so far: Park Güell, Casa Batllo and Sagrada Familia. But needless to say, the latter is the reason I came here.

SagradaFamiliaIf your eyes don’t well up with tears while standing beneath Sagrada Familia’s towering columns that resemble groves of trees leading to a ceiling of giant blossoms, I would worry you have no soul.

Just kidding…not really.

It looks nothing like the pictures in the books my dad and I used to marvel at. It’s beyond spectacular.

And then, all of a sudden, I had a moment. I really wished my dad could be here. When I first got to Barcelona, I called him and could hear the excitement in his voice as he asked,

“So did you see it yet, mija?”

I’ve always felt the pressure to live out my parents’ dreams for them. My parents are happy and comfortable in the life they have – they go to work, come home, watch their favorite shows, maybe go out to brunch at Denny’s…they have their routine. And as much as they say they would love to travel the world like me, I know they probably never will. It’s not their path.

This isn’t a sad story by any means. If they hadn’t made the sacrifices they made, working 7 days a week at times, yet still finding time to practice math and writing with me after school so that I could excel, I wouldn’t be where I am today.


Casa Batllo imitates nature with hallways like caves, curved windows revealing a stained-glass underwater kingdom, narrow arched hallways that make you feel like you’re in the ribcage of a giant fish, and chimneys like dragons.

So in a sense, this journey is for them and my grandparents. To show them the sacrifices they made, the years they worked to immigrate to the United States to provide a better life for their children, was not in vain. Because someday their children would see the world for them, and take the risks they could never afford to take.


We get to live out the dreams they had to put aside to raise us. And because of it, we would not have to struggle like they did.

Wow. I’m really here.

Papi, I’m appreciating this moment for you. For all of the cities in that book you haven’t gotten to see. For every dream you both put on hold. For the way your eyes light up when you look at these places in books, or when you ask me a hundred questions about each new city I visit. I’m happy to be the one you live vicariously through.

Right now, I’m thankful.


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