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Occupation: I work at Mexicali Rose in Newtown. It’s my family’s restaurant that has been in town for 21 years. We specialize in traditional Mexican food like tamales and enchiladas. For the past five years, I’ve been working as a waitress and managing the cash register.
Family: I live in Newtown with my parents, Minerva and Marklin, and my older brother, Michael. My mother is from Oaxaca, Mexico, and she and my father work in the kitchen at Mexicali Rose.
Pets: We have two small dogs: a Chihuahua named Max and a Chihuahua-poodle mix named Lucky. We also have a black cat named Luno, a turtle named Shelly that we call Conchita, and a green-cheeked conure parrot named Leo. He loves to talk, and since we are bilingual at home, he is as well.
How long have you lived in Newtown? We’ve been in Newtown for 20 years and moved here from New Milford when I was 3 years old. Initially, we moved to the house right next to Carminuccio’s to be close to the business, but have moved since within Newtown.
What do you like to do in your free time? I like to read and do yoga. I also spend a lot of time with my boyfriend, John, and we go on hikes, camping trips, and motorcycle rides. Another hobby of mine is doing special effects makeup. Last year, I turned my boyfriend into the character Deadpool for Halloween, and it turned out really well.
Do you have a favorite book or author? I really love the science fiction/fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss and his Kingkiller Chronicle series. Also, Ernest Hemingway’s book, For Whom the Bell Tolls, is both an important book in literary history and one of my favorite books that I’ve ever read. One of my favorite recent books is The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman. It’s such a unique, extremely well-written book about what the world might look like in the future.
What is your favorite travel destination? I’ve never seen the views like I’ve seen in New Hampshire. I like anywhere with wide open green fields and mountains.
What is the best part about Newtown? Besides all the beautiful outdoor opportunities — you can spend your whole lifetime just walking throughout the trees here — I’d choose my family’s restaurant, Mexicali Rose. While it’s been a huge part of my life, especially growing up, learning important life skills and helping me get through/over my social anxiety, it is also one of the most unique, hole-in-the-wall, bright, culturally different gathering places in Newtown. It has helped bring together so many different people, helping cultivate an environment of joy and nurturing. It has really created a sense community, companionship, and compassion within our four walls.
What has been the greatest influence in your life? Balance and time. Suffering with anxiety has taught me both the importance of taking the necessary time to better ourselves, as well as how to find, create, and appreciate the balance of light and dark within ourselves and our world.
If you could spend the day with one person, who would you choose and why? My Uncle Francisco. He was my mom’s oldest brother who passed away before I was born. My mom has always talked about how he was such an incredible human being and was so loving, smart, and would have gone so far in life had he not died so young. Family is so important in our culture, so I’d want to connect with him and ask him how he thinks I’m doing.
What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever been given? My grandmother, who passed away last October, was a kind, big-hearted woman and who would say — in Spanish — if you believe in something, stick to it like crazy.
What is your proudest accomplishment? Conquering depression and self-harm. I used to be really afraid of people finding out about my depression or seeing the just barely visible scars on my arms. Now, if people want to ask me about them, I don’t mind telling my story. It’s my way of trying to eliminate the huge societal stigma around them. It’s been four years since I’ve harmed myself, and it’s a huge deal because I didn’t think I could get to that number.