The story behind the title

I recognize that my blog title is unusually long, and for those of you non-Spanish speakers, totally meaningless. Well, here's the story behind the title "lo único que te impide sos vos", which translated, means "the only thing stopping you is you."

In April 2007, after spending my first year-plus in Brazil on a Fulbright grant, I returned to the US and elbowed my way into a job as a research assistant/consultant at the World Bank in Washington, DC. I was certain that the job would leverage me to my next decided goal-- a PhD in Economics at a very specific, top-ranked program.

I quickly learned that when one enters the Bank as a research assistant, one of two paths is taken: either the person becomes enthralled by data analysis and research papers and follows the PhD route, or the person realizes that he/she wants to take a radically different path--usually far, far from the Bank. Although I was thrilled to be the only American in the Research Department, working amongst Argentineans and Brazilians and rarely speaking English, after only a few months I could see clearly that I fit into the latter group. And I had no clue what to do next.

As I was experiencing total confusion and denial about the future, my friend and officemate (and frequently my pseudo-therapist), Pancho, was planning his departure from the Bank. A free-spirit and fellow member of Group Two, Pancho had saved up some money and was preparing for a trip to India with his girlfriend for an indefinite amount of time, during which he intended to become more involved with grassroots organizations and potentially launch his own. I thought this was a wonderfully adventurous and romantic idea, and I would frequently tell Pancho so, as he would patiently listen to me complain about my wanderlust and my sense of obligation to follow the path I'd established for myself.

It was in the middle of one of those make-shift therapy sessions that Pancho interrupted me and said, "Mirita, lo único que te impide sos vos." And he was right. I was my only obstacle. And I took the message with me.

Looking back, hearing that phrase was the catalyst in a series of events that gave me the courage to step into an entirely new and much more fulfilling path. It's become a mantra of sorts that reminds me that I'm in control of the choices I make; I just need to be brave enough to make the right ones. I still get in my way sometimes, but hell, it's a learning process.