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A few weeks ago, I threw a “happiness project” out there. Shout out to my Abuelo, who had eye surgery today. He has always made me chicken soup when I was sick (even when I was a moody teenager), he knows how to make everyone laugh, and he knows that food and celebrations are the gateways to happiness (which is why he hosts so many parties!)

As a world-class interior designer, Abuelo can turn rubbish into something beautiful. The man taught me to always be presentable, to let gossip roll off my back, and that I need to learn how to cook so that I can get a husband ūüėČ

Below, Abuelo talks about his Cuban and Spanish heritage, the happiest times in his life, and the beauty in life.

Abuelo and Ross

Abuelo and his great-grand child, Ross. (Photo taken from my cousin’s facebook.)

Name: Enrique Julio Dorta

Date: November 2nd, 2015

Location: Atlanta, GA, USA

What is your family background and heritage? Be as specific as you want. ¬† tenerife seasonal jobs¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†My father, Bernardo Dorta was born in Tenerife, The Canary Islands, Spain and my mother Angela Hernandez was born in Trinidad, Cuba, second generation Spanish and French. ¬†My father emigrated to Cuba when he was 18, trying to avoid to become a priest, started a life for himself and met my mother, they married and had 2 children, my sister Juanita and Myself. ¬†In Spain it was the fashion at that time that the First born would become a priest, since his older brother also left, it was his turn, so he decided to leave also. ¬†My father’a father was a Pyrotechnitian by Royal Decree and my mother’s father was a landowner in Siguanea, La Villas, Cuba. They both came from large families.Cuba

Are you proud of your family heritage?                                                                                                          Yes, I am very proud of both my Spanish and Cuban heritage.

What is your definition of happiness?                                                                                                            Happiness is hard to define, but I think the simple things in life, like time with the family, strolls through Nature, friendships, are what bring happiness to me.  Art, music, dance and beautiful things also add to the happiness.

What is your current way of making money? And what parts of it do you enjoy?                                I am retired, so I enjoy getting my SS check every month.

Where you are in your life right now, what moments of the day make you happy?                            To know that I am still alive when I wake up every morning, and when I see my children and my grand children, and now I have a great grand child.  The precious moments that I spend with them are very enjoyable.  Also to see my friends, I have many and I enjoy everyone of them. Also when I,m cooking for family and friends, really there are so many moments that are happy to me.

What times of your life have been the happiest?                                                                                        I guess my childhood, my puberty, my marriage, the coming of my children, grandchildren, etc.  Family gatherings.  Graduating from schools,and to see the fruit of my work makes me happy.

What is your passion?                                                                                                                        I guess Beauty in everything. And maybe travel.

What people in your life make you happy?                                                                                         My family and my friends and intelligent and educated people.

What decisions have you made that lead you on the pursuit of happiness?                                        I guess the most important decision was to leave Cuba and everything behind to  give my family a new and free life in the United States

Think of a small moment in your life where you were the most happy. What made you so happy?    

Twice, when both my children were born.

Abuelo dancing with my mom and my sister (and dog) at Thanksgiving 2009.


Abuelo and his son Jorge in the 90’s.

What in your life hinders your happiness?                                                                                           Backwards and ignorant attitudes stemming from lack of education.

Take a step outside of yourself. Would someone looking in on your life think you are happy? Why? ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†I think everybody that knows me thinks I’m always happy, ¬†Even thou many times I may not be, ¬†my attitude is that the mere fact that i’m alive overshadows any vicissitudes that I may have.