Diana Rojo-Garcia column byline mug

Well … I’m back.

But let’s not call it a comeback. Let’s just say it was a little hiatus.

Much like when celebrities decide to take some time off and head out to some remote part of the world to rejuvenate and refresh their creative process.

Okay, yeah, I’m not famous, but it’s about the same idea. I also didn’t explore the world in hopes of finding myself like Julia Roberts in “Eat, Pray, Love,” though, that would have been nice.

No, friends, I was finding myself slinging sandwiches. And let me tell you, there’s something about waking up at the butt crack of dawn to open up a store and preparing bacon and produce and fresh bread that really opens up the third eye.

Sure, I was downing an ungodly amount of caffeine before each lunch rush. Enough caffeine to almost smell colors, but it was exhilarating.

There was also something about pulling a 12-hour shift and trying to remain composed, not only for customers but for your own sanity.

Even on the worst days with throbbing feet and raw hands, there was a sense of pride having served a customer. It may have just been making sandwiches, but there was another layer to the madness and it was finding the human behind the grumpy guys and gals of the world.

You’d be surprised what a genuine “Hey, I like your purse” or “How’s your day going?” can do for a person.

However, after seven years working in the food industry, I think it was time to come back to The Free Press (I’m still drinking an ungodly amount of caffeine though.)

This time around, I’ll be writing a weekly column on Fridays. The hope is to reach out to the younger crowd. I know you’re out there somewhere.

Let’s talk about our future, our fears, what’s really going on in our heads. Maybe we can touch up on some lit memes.

Most importantly, I hope to connect with a more diverse group of readers. Growing up, there was never really someone that I could relate to being a Hispanic in southern Minnesota.

Even now, nearly eight years after graduating high school, the divide is very much present and there’s still a sense of shame to being a minority. I speak only for myself, of course, and what I have experienced.

The goal with this column is hopefully to enlighten those who might have never had an experience with any minority (race, sex, color, sexual orientation, etc.) and maybe connect with those who have felt like they haven’t been represented in southern Minnesota’s media.

Being a minority, in any sense, can be isolating.

I’m also going to need your help, folks.

Send me your ideas, thoughts or concerns on being a 20-something in today’s world or on diversity.

Or … if you just have a question or need some help deciphering a trending meme.

Diana Rojo-Garcia can be reached at (507) 344-6305 or drojogarcia@mankatofreepress.com.

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