Latinx Love Stories
In light of this month being full of love, we decided to highlight some love stories that UNC has made possible. Whether it’s roommates, best friends, traveling, or partnerships, our campus and community has definitely brought us together. A huge thank you to everyone who shared their stories, we hope you enjoy!
Jackie (Class of 2022):
My best friend is my freshman year roommate Rebeca, a senior at the Gillings School of Public Health. I’m so proud of her as she was also recently accepted to their Master’s Program. Go Beca!!! Thank you for the many years of friendship, I’m glad that we’ve been able to experience Carolina together! <3
David (Class of 2023):
The Carolina Latinx Center has provided a place at UNC for me, where I can be myself and fit in. That’s why my UNC love story has to be about that cozy little hallway in Abernethy Hall that always has a warm welcome and a friendly smile waiting to greet you when you walk through the doors. I’m glad I was able to find this place during my time at UNC and I hope that more students can find the CLC and obtain the same love I have.
Roberto (Class of 2022):
In my experience, the idea of love was instilled in me early on with a heavy sense of responsibility and yet honorable achievement. It fueled my family’s ambitions for us to make a new home in the US. So in many ways, it came down to this: to love was to survive, but it always felt like there should’ve been more to the story. My time at UNC helped and encouraged me to fill in the rest of the gaps. I learned that passion, playfulness, and compassion were all common things in my styles of love and affection, and I always tried to make sure that others knew it. Interestingly, though, showing it to myself was much more of a challenge. It took time and many mistakes but I eventually learned the power that comes with nurturing your own happiness. It’s gotten me through the toughest times and my hope is that I can continue to use my light to help others find theirs.
William (Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering):
There is nothing like scouring through UNC’s WXYC (wxyc.org) music library and digging up that obscure song to share with all of Chapel Hill. Thanks to WXYC I am able to fulfill my dream of sharing my long love affair with jazz and Jamaican and broadcasting it on the air (jazzincognitoshow.blogspot.com). I get to share a love of music with the wonderful students that make WXYC the best station in the nation. Much love to WXYC!
Josmell (Director, Carolina Latinx Center):
Our Carolina love story is what kept me at Carolina. I first met Carla Quinones at our first Latino Alumni Reunion in 2009. The day consisted of programming for admitted students to meet and mingle with alums. It was held in the basement of the Student Union. We must have had 30 admitted students, 30 current students and 5 alums all on a budget of maybe $200. But we pulled it off, we even had coaster keepsakes for those that attended.
After all of the official festivities, alums had organized an off-campus event and invited me to attend. At this point, I was exhausted and had a new puppy at home but I knew our alums had turned out when invited for the first reunion, I felt I should do the same. And so I met a few alum friends and they introduced me to Carla, she looked fabulous. To say I was blown away, was an understatement. It was the same year UNC won the National Championship, the reason I remember that was that I figured most associated would be excited to watch and talk about the game. But Carla had little to no interest in the game but we still had a connection. Not trying to be too forward I left without asking her for her number. I knew we had mutual friends. I tried to play it cool and reached out to our mutual friend to get more information. Judy said Carla was a nice person and that I needed to be nice. “I am nothing but nice!” I replied. At this point, I had been in Carolina for about 2 years and with my immediate family in the Northeast, I was already planning the next professional move that would bring me back there. But it was all the perfect circumstances Carla and I connected and built a relationship.
It was her love and support that reminded me that what we were building at Carolina would have an impact for years to come. We married in 2013 and welcomed our first daughter in 2014 and have never looked back. I have met, mentored, inspired and been inspired by so many students, faculty and staff at Carolina. I am now celebrating 15 years and excited to see what the future holds.
Gabrielly (Class of 2024):
My friend Marleny (2024 student) can be one of the kindest and most genuine human beings. One of the first things I noticed about her is that she remembers the smallest details, details I don’t even remember. For example, I once mentioned I wanted a wallet case for my phone. It was a very brief comment, potentially forgotten, especially since we went on our day talking about other things and prepping for exams. Although, the very next day she bought me the wallet case I had mentioned. To her, it was no big deal, but to me, it was such a nice gesture. It made me feel heard and appreciated. It’s one of many acts of kindness she’s committed. I’ve quickly come to learn that she’s a very selfless human being and is always thinking about others. She’s one to show love through actions which is something I really love about her. I feel loved and appreciated knowing she’s thinking of me.
Cinthia (Class of 2019):
My love for traveling started from a young age when I lived in Mexico. I remember accompanying my abuelita everywhere she went, from going to el mercado to visiting her friends. I enjoyed tagging along with my abuelita and getting a glimpse into how people lived in her small pueblito. After two years of living in Mexico, I returned to North Carolina. Even though I grew up in a small town in NC, I always had the urge to go abroad, meet new people, and learn about different cultures. Once I got to high school, I was fortunate enough to go to France with my French club. After returning from my week-long trip, I knew I wanted to live abroad and made a goal to study abroad in college. At UNC, I was finally able to study abroad in the fall of 2018 in Seville, Spain. I fully immersed myself in the Spanish culture by living with my mamá Sevillana, Pilar, for almost four months. She welcomed me with open arms and made me some of the most delicious meals I ever had. I also took the opportunity to visit other countries, such as France and the Netherlands. Without my study abroad experience, I would have never met so many incredible people (shout out to Sober Squad) and visited different countries. I hope to continue traveling for many years and that my love for it never ceases.
Carla (Class of 2007):
My Carolina love story brought me back to Carolina and has kept me here. Josmell and I met during the first Latino alumni reunion of 2009 through a series of perfect coincidences. At that point, I thought I was done with Carolina with the exception of a select few friends I kept in contact with. I was actually supposed to go out dancing at Carmen’s with a group of friends that night. Being the millennial I am, I posted about my plans on Facebook. My friend Judy (class of 2008) replied to my post that I absolutely was not going dancing, I was going to Noche Latina to watch and support her sister Rosy dance baile folclórico and then I’d join them in watching the Carolina game at Milltown—we’d apparently made it to the final four. News to me. Oh, and then we were going to the Noche after party. If you know Judy, then you also know these weren’t suggestions. This is what we were doing, lol.
Well, long story short, I did go watch her sister—and it was lovely. What I didn’t expect was to meet Josmell. Judy dragged him out as well. Josmell had a strict “I’m not friends with undergrads” rule, but Judy pointed out that she had already graduated and thus was no longer an undergrad and was now available for friendship and hangouts.
After the reunion and Noche we all gathered at Milltown to watch the game. Josmell, bless his heart, kept trying to engage me on what was happening on the screen. If you know me,
then you know the extent of my sports knowledge is what ball belongs to what sport. He was lucky I knew we were watching basketball. To be clear—I’m not
dumb, just uninterested. During the course of the conversation though, he let slip that he had a new puppy at home. Now, THIS I was interested in. He had just
gotten an adorable pitbull mix named Jordan. He had pictures. I was in love—with the dog. Seriously, the pup was adorable. The owner wasn’t half bad either. We talked about the misunderstood breed and about being a responsible pet owner, etc. In the background, UNC won the game and went on to the finals (or
whatever they are called). Next, we went to the after-party. There was dancing, connecting with people I hadn’t seen in forever, and eventually, it was time for me to go home. I had felt a connection with Josmell but wasn’t sure it went both ways—darn insecurities. So I quickly said goodbye and didn’t offer my number, surely he wasn’t interested in me like that. He was nice to everyone. Funnily enough, though, I later called my friend Judy and asked about Josmell—she immediately laughed. Taken aback, I asked her why she was laughing. She told me he’d called her and asked about me too. I remember she said, “don’t worry, I have good taste”. Confused, I didn’t understand what she meant. She said, “I have great taste in friends, that’s why you’re my friend and why he’s my friend. It makes sense that my friends would like each other. He’s a good guy, you can trust him”.
After her ringing endorsement, I honestly still did not take action—that is until Josmell reached out over Facebook (I know, I know) and we started chatting. We eventually exchanged numbers. He still tried talking to me about basketball—UNC was going to the championship after all. I played along and even watched the game at home so I could talk to him about it. After UNC won, we decided to go on our first date to “celebrate UNC’s victory”. Y’all, I broke it to him on that first date that I don’t particularly enjoy sports. He took it well, and the rest is history. We married in 2013, and now have 3 wonderful daughters and a wholly supportive and loving community we’ve built together.
Amos (Class of 2015)
My time with the Carolina Latinx Center was a hugely memorable and formative part of my Carolina experience. At the CLC, I found purpose and a community of like-minded individuals. I look back fondly on the collaboration and connection with mentors and classmates that had such a positive impact on my personal and professional growth.