“All of the young people are leaving. You have to say ‘goodbye,’ over and over again. One of my best friends went to Chile. Another went to Spain. Another went to Argentina to earn money for her mother’s cancer treatment. My brother left five years ago. And now I’m gone too. Before I came to New York, I went to pick up some paperwork at my university. We used to have ten classrooms full of people. Now half of them are empty. There are some people who choose to stay. I have a cousin that swears he’ll never leave. He says that there’s a chance things will work out. But that’s very rare for someone our age. The grown-ups stay because they have their whole lives in Venezuela: maybe not their jobs anymore, but their houses and their cars. But the young people want opportunities. I want to be a designer. But since there aren’t any design jobs, I’d have to be a freelancer. But that’s also silly. Because nobody has money for art or design. Everyone needs their money for necessities. So I’d be forced to take a job outside my career. Anything I could get. And that’s why I left. Either you stay in Venezuela and make the decisions you have to. Or you leave and make the decisions you want to.”

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