In early 2010 it had been over a year that I was not doing well but I didn’t like to complain about it. And then it got to its worst—I wasn’t able to digest any foods. My mom noticed how rapidly I was loosing weight and insisted taking me to the hospital. I got checked by many doctors, confirming allergies to gluten and a terrible stage of IBS. Going through this new phase made me realize how something so insignificant like food can affect someone’s self-esteem. I felt sick all the time and it made me really sad and depressed. I tried many different medicines, therapy, different diets, but nothing seemed to help. I knew I had to seek for my own health. I realized that I was surrounded by not the best energy and there were things I had to change in my life. Meanwhile, I got an offer to work in NYC that summer, for sustainable design and architecture program, which I am really passionate about. I was nervous but very excited. “Some opportunities only come once… seize them”. I remember there were some that didn’t want me to go, but I decided to follow my dream. I thought it would help to take the risk, NYC being a place that would force me to change my lifestyle and hopefully get better. I left Guatemala City, on May 27th 2010, probably on the last flight to NYC for weeks due to a volcano eruption that same night, a storm and a few other devastating events. There I was, in a city of millions working on something that was passionate to me, where I knew just a few. And later, by chance, I happen to land at the Holstee House and met amazing people—lifelong friends I hope. I felt very fortunate to have met them, the kind of people that I love being surrounded by: caring and giving. They opened their heart to me and became part of my life, like a family, in such a way that it’s hard to forget. At that time was when I first read the Manifesto, I immediately felt identified with it. I remember I took a picture and texted it to my brother, my best friend, who with his wise words gave me so much courage when I was in my worst times. The Manifesto became a reminder of many of the things that mattered to me. It reminded me that, it is a good thing to decide on what I am passionate about and I had to to those things often - “This is your LIFE, start doing things you love and do them often”. “If you don’t like something, change it” - I believe anyone has the power to change itself, and at that moment it was a lifestyle, living with less, trying to get better, sometimes it takes time. And to get better, I had to force myself to cook; starting with simple foods- “life is simple” - those little steps can make a change. Slowly, I learned to handle IBS and started to have a real appreciation for food more than ever - “when you eat, appreciate every last bite”. It wasn’t the worst problem anyone could have, but I understand how something so little can impact ones lives and that by sharing this, it might give hope to others. “Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself” -. Getting out of your comfort zone, in moments like those is when you learn what life is really made of and what really matters. “Life is short, live your dream and share your passion”—its amazing how those that do so end up somehow connected. These are the people that I usually love creating things with - “life is about the people you meet and the things you create together”. And, “if you are looking for the love of your life, STOP, they will be waiting for you until you start doing the things you love”. For some, this is not something immediate, we may have many dreams that take some time-building. For many like me, this is an optimistic Manifesto, but life is precious and I believe it rewards. There’s an unexplainable energy that when you start “following” or “building” your dreams, without expectations… the universe will revolve in a surprising way that it will cure; it will reward.

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