Sergio Mejia, with his older brother and parents.

Last week, I sat down with Sergio Mejia, to get a small glimpse into the unique experiences he has experienced in his life with his family.  He sat down with me, turned his Arizona hat forward, and began telling me about his own history.

Mejia was born in Colombia, the second son to his mother and father.  The four lived together for the earlier parts of his childhood, in close proximity to the rest of his extended family, a popular occurrence in the country.  According to Mejia, everything about Colombia is family-oriented.  “You live near all of your family, you’re not only close with your parents and brothers and sisters, but also with your grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  We used to have 3-hour lunches just so we could go home from school and eat with our families.  My dad would come home for lunch, and wouldn’t leave until 2 or 3,” Mejia said.

Regardless of the closeness he experienced with his family, his mother ultimately made the decision to leave the country because of how dangerous it had become.  “In the last few years, things started to get very dangerous because of Pablo Escobar, and everything that came from it.  Shortly before we moved, Escobar had been shot, and the country started to get out of hand,” Mejia said.  The country got so unsafe, Mejia remembers not being able to cross the street to visit family, or a friend, without having to get permission from his parents, and be led across the street by a body guard.

The family left Colombia, and settled in Tucson, in the Catalina Foothills.  Mejia remembers how quiet it always was in the foothills when he first arrived, and how it reminded him of the serenity of Colombia before the country started to fall apart.  A few years later, he enrolled at the University of Arizona, a few miles south of his home.  In his first semester in the Fall of 2009, he went through rush and joined Beta Theta Pi.  “It seemed like the place I fit in most.  I wanted to branch out from my friends I had in high school, and find a new core group of friends that I would be close with for the rest of my life,” Mejia said.

It’s been a year and a half since Mejia joined Beta, and he was quick to convey he does not regret his decision in any way.  In fact, he maintained it was one of the best decisions he has ever made.  “I used to have two brothers, now I have 120 behind me at all times.  It makes you more comfortable about everything you do, because you’re not only doing it for yourself, you’re doing it for your family.”

Mejia still manages to get back to Colombia every summer to visit his father and other family who stayed behind.  However, when he is back in the United States, he has family surrounding him every day within Beta Theta Pi.

(For more on Sergio Mejia, view a story written on Borderbeat.net)

Advertisements