My Dad came to America from Ireland when he was 19. He had $50 in his pocket and went to work with his older brother who had immigrated a couple of years earlier. Through lots of hard work and sacrifice, he learned how to build houses and was able to start a career and family here.
I always thought of his story while I was growing up, in awe that he was actually one of those people who came to America looking for better opportunities, having nothing yet making something of himself and all the challenges that come with that. You hear stories about immigrants just like him in history books and movies, but for it to actually be my father was very inspiring. I remember thinking that I could NEVER do what he did. I could never move and start out my adult life with nothing to fall back on.
And so, I became educated to give myself a better start. Once I graduated with my Masters from Franciscan University, married Phil and became pregnant a month later, I realized we were in an even worse spot than my dad, the poor young immigrant, had been. Sure, he started out with nothing, but we were starting out $80,000 in debt.
Suddenly, starting out with nothing actually sounded good!