Pablo Calonge — Everything changed with a click

It was sad. Every goodbye is sad. I remember the night before I left perfectly, I was partying with my friends. Then I went home to say goodbye to my parents, tears and hugs…I asked them not to come to the airport to say goodbye. I didn’t want to cry anymore…

I still remember the the sound of the click of the precise moment, when I buckled my seatbelt on the airplane. It was in that moment that I realized that I was leaving my country.

I left in 1995 and it was not like it is today, where we have the internet, or we can text with our smartphones or have videoconferences. It was a different time in which calling internationally was expensive. It was not something you could do every day, so when you said goodbye to your country, it was for a long time.

My first job in the United States was as a Creative Director at a multinational advertising company in Miami. I was so lucky to be able to live in Miami and from there to travel to practically every country in Latin America. It has been very enriching and has enhanced the way I speak Spanish.

The Fifth Element has been my life’s dream. It means enjoying a freedom I never had in my time in corporate America. Here, I am the one making decisions.

At the end of the day, you work more hours, but your level of satisfaction is higher, because you are independent and that’s something no one can take away from you.

The worst thing that has happened to me was when my sister passed away. I was living in Miami. It was one of the biggest sorrows of my life. We were very close. She was my only sister. I traveled back to Spain to grieve with my parents and family, sharing the sorrow that my sister was no longer with us.

I will retire in Spain, and I think I will also take trips to the United States and Mexico because these are the countries that have shaped me into who I am today. I am very happy in this country, the United States has been generous to me. I found great opportunities, I’ve had unique experiences, and it has welcomed me with open arms.

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