Romina Ruiz-Goiriena as a child in Miami in the 1980s.

My dad always reminds me nobody is a prophet in their own land. 

Come to think of it, he might actually be an authority figure on the matter — like every other member of my family. Despite having been born in different corners of the world, by the time my parents and grandparents were my age, they had abandoned their homelands. 

My maternal grandparents were Basque survivors of the Spanish Civil War. As a young child, my grandfather was sent away to an orphanage in France as his older siblings stayed back to fight Gen. Francisco Franco who had overthrown the government. My paternal grandparents were first-generation Cubans, their parents had made their way to the Caribbean island sometime after World War I. 

My mother was born in Spain but raised in Venezuela. My father is a Sephardic “Jewban” and former political prisoner. By 1979, he was twice exiled, once to Europe and subsequently the United States.

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