Take out your notebooks, people! Or a few Post-its. Or even just a piece of paper. ‘Cause you are going to need something to take notes on, in order to get the full picture of the big Vega-Dieppa & Co—my family! (haha).
Yes, we are a lot. A modern extended family of eight brothers and sisters, nieces and grandmothers, and many uncles and cousins. A family tree would probably come in handy in this situation.
My mom and dad had me, Valeria, and Juan Pablo.
From her previous marriage, my mom had Cristina and Laura.
While my dad had Gaston, Juliana, and Rodolfo.
Dad’s side is originally from Pereira, while mom’s is from Barranquilla. This by itself is a big battle of two very distinct worlds: on one side the coastal city of Barranquilla, known as the ciudad feliz, or the happy city, and on the other, Pereira, situated in the lush and green inland.
But forget the geography! The biggest battle here is that of characters. We are eight distinct heads with eight different and complex personalities. The secret ingredient to make the recipe work? Keeping our minds open and being respectful. That was the mantra Mom and Dad imparted on all of us.
- Gaston, 40. The FUN businessman who plays golf. He is extroverted and very, very funny. He loves to dress up and to make jokes, but at the same time, he is very business savvy and very good at his work. Everyone loves Gaston!
- Cristina, 33. The PASSIONATE communication expert with a big heart. She works in social communication, and she is very rational and objective. She supports several charities & foundations. Cristina is incredibly proactive, focused, and determined. I know that I can always count on her. She always has my back.
- Juliana, 32. The WISE psychologist who loves being outdoors. She works in human resources and is passionate about helping people pursue their dreams and reach their highest I consider her a life mentor, everything Juliana says makes sense! She always brings peace and fun to the table. Her positive presence is undeniable.
- Laura, 31. A very MATERNAL businesswoman. She owns her own company and is both business and family oriented. When Juan Pablo, Valeria, and I were younger, she was like a second mother to us. She is fearless in any situation.
- Rodolfo, 30. The CHILL entrepreneur. A business owner since high school, no one has ever seen him angry. His personality is very relaxed and cool, and yet he is very determined to reach his goals. He is emotionally intelligent, which is definitely something I want to learn.
- Valeria, whom I call Nena, An EQUESTRIENNE with no filters at all—and I adore her for this! We laugh about the same stuff that only we find funny. She is the closest sister I have in age, and perhaps the most authentic person I know, something I really value these days.
- Juan Pablo, 19. A student with a DEEP SOUL, who loves to ride horses. The youngest of the family, he has a truly big heart and loves anything that has to do with sports and cars. Very mature for his age, his future is going to be brilliant!
Growing up in such a big extended family can be exhausting. You have to manage all the relationships and the expectations that come with them, to behave well with everyone and be good to all, to remember all birthdays, call everyone to see how they are doing and make sure that the personal connection never gets lost.
In other words: it’s a lot of work, but you can bet it’s worth it.
Think of all the support one can get, multiplied by seven. And the teachings are incredibly precious.
Also, a big family makes you learn your place in the world, as you get to share things and understand that the world doesn’t revolve around you.
But the best part is when somebody invites me to events and tells me to bring my family: you should see their faces when, all of a sudden, nine people, plus significant others and kids appear all at once…which is followed sooner or later by that sentence “wait, I said only the family!”
And that’s when I smile openly and I say: “oh, but this IS my family. We are just a lot!”