Ever since I had my first job here, I would say “I have to make it to where I do something that makes me feel good”. Because it is not the same when you work because you need the money, as when you work because you love what you are doing.
My name is Alvaro Felix, I am thirty years old, I am Dominican, from a city called La Vega. I worked there as a teacher for a long time. I was doing well, I was comfortable and liked what I was doing. I worked with a lot of children and I felt comfortable.
I really did not take on board that I was going to the US. I was coming with my wife, we were going to be together. But it wasn’t until I got here that I realised that I was missing things and I knew that what I had there [DR], I no longer had here, as life is so different here[USA].
Some of the things that surprised me the most when I first got here was how organized and different it was.. For instance, in my country, we have a lot of power outages, but here, you never run out of electricity; you also have hot running water here; you know, those sorts of things.
Learning English was the hardest thing. I would have to call my wife and send her a picture of a form I had to fill out and ask her “what to do?” I began to feel that I was annoying her, so I said to myself, you have to learn, so I did. I started learning and speaking confidently because our biggest fear, when learning English, is pronunciation. I forgot about that fear and told myself; you have to learn. I am by no means an expert, yet I can say that I am confident enough with the language now.
My company, Avery Little Shop, which is my daughter’s name, is where it all started. We make custom signs for birthdays, for children's rooms. The name of the company? My daughter’s name is Avery, so my wife said one day: what if we call it Avery Little Shop? I said, I like it. She then broke the name down and then she said ‘a-very little’, so it is like a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and I said ‘oh, I get it now!’ and a lot of people called it that. So that is where the name came from.
I think the American dream consists of the opportunities that this country gives. In the countries where we come from, opportunities don't come quickly. Perhaps I would have had a car in my country, but not in five years or four, like I have been able to do here, it would have probably taken me five years more.
The American dream is opportunity. Opportunity to do what you want if you set your mind to it. How am I fulfilling my American dream? By taking advantage of these opportunities. It is not just about money, it is about living a comfortably, about having things that I did not have before, about being able to provide a home for my daughter so she can have a space to grow up and a good school to attend. That I can travel with my wife. You know, make the best of these opportunities and working towards that, especially now that I have the tools to hand. That is not a job but more of a hobby, where I go to my workshop to play, that is how I feel. This is an opportunity for me to make my dreams come true so for me, that is the American dream.