Erlan Aristides Martinez and his wife Mima Fabiola Castro made some crucial decisions in their lifetimes, decisions that have forever changed not only their lives, but those of their sons.
Martinez and Castro now live in Bristol, Tennessee, thousands of miles from their place of birth: Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras.
Many universities and colleges in the United States accept students from around the globe, and East Tennessee State University is one of them. Students travel for hours to ETSU and for Maria Avila, it was no different.
Avila arrived as a freshman in spring 2013. She traveled from Cuernavaca, Mexico, the capital city in the state of Morelos. When she went home after a semester in the United States, she wasn’t sure she wanted to return. She missed her family and home.
Limestone, Tennessee, is a small farming community. Most of its businesses are auto repair shops, gas stations, a medical clinic, restaurants and a post office. CrossFit Glorified, owned by the Florez family, is the only fitness facility.
CrossFit is not just a business to Gustavo “Gus” Florez and his family: It’s a passion.
Gus and his wife Lourdes owned and operated sports facilities and a premier competitive soccer program in Connecticut before deciding to move to Limestone to be with family. After moving they decided to start their own CrossFit affiliation. Their daughter Camila and nephew Samuel train with with them. Gus’ mother, Dennyr Florez, also does CrossFit training.
In 2010, Michael Luchtan set out on an adventure to Mexico, hoping to learn Spanish and study Mexican heritage through its music. Along the way, he hoped to find connections to his own culture.
In 2016, Rodrigo Guridi came to East Tennessee State University from Uruguay to continue his music studies. His friend Diego Núñez would later follow.
Through Arrabal, a tango trio born from the three men’s love of music, Luchtan’s goals have been realized.
“Music doesn’t know about borders,” Núñez said. “People used to cross borders and music would just go with the people.”
Martin Ceron has never met his newborn son Enrique. He has not set foot in the United States in two years. His wife, Brenda Bustos, is 2,000 miles away in Erwin, Tennessee, while he is in Mexico City.
The family is being torn apart as a result of U.S. legislation on illegal immigration.
“My parents are here, but he is my family,” said Bustos. “My family is down there, and I know he needs my support.”