Firstly, I would like to thank the support of UCSB Trustee Diana Raab, whose generosity has enabled writers to have the resources and space to create. The ability to travel internationally, to tell the stories of a community that I hold close to my heart, has been transformative in my undergraduate studies. 

Secondly, there have been various figures in UCSB’s Writing Department that have guided, nurtured, and challenged me to constantly improve, as not only a writer but also an individual. 

Dr. Patricia Fancher has been a leading force behind these improvements. I could not have picked a better person to mentor me as a Raab Fellow as Dr. Fancher is compassionate and dedicated in both her writing and her mission to guide students into becoming more aware, well-versed creators. I’ve watched my own writing improve over the year, my ability to plan and execute a project, and have seen the next steps of my future unfold with the guidance of Dr. Fancher. I’ve been challenged to think about the impact of my words, the communities I’m representing, the purpose behind my voice. I’ve been supported tirelessly, in not only the fellowship, but in the pursuit of outside endeavors such as grad school and work opportunities, all of which Dr. Fancher has been willing to offer support and guidance in any way possible. There are many reasons I’ve grown to love the Writing Department, and Dr. Fancher is one of them. 

Dr. Ljiljana Coklin is another. As the force behind the Raab Fellowship, Dr. Coklin has been receptive to our ideas and consistently willing to listen and aid in any way possible. She provided advice and reassurance while also keeping us aligned with our goals and meeting deadlines, invaluable lessons that will stay with me for the rest of my life. 

To my mentors and friends in Madrid, the reasons I was ever able to write this story. 

Dr. Jon Snyder, a benevolent figure that has opened more doors for me in the past two years than anyone ever has. Dr. Snyder introduced me to the importance of hearing queer narratives, the importance of documenting our lives, and the important of our fight. Under his guidance, I’ve been thought to rethink my own identities and the impacts they have. I’ve been reminded of why we educate through Dr. Snyder, and will forever be indebted. 

To Patricia Rodriguez, a mentor and friend that I hold near to my heart. A force that is dedicated to the cause and to educating, changing the city of Madrid. An individual that has been gentle and attentive, allowing me to experience queer culture in the city, creating a home away from home. 

Thank you’s are due for Dr. Madeleine Sorapure, Javier Ollero, Martin Kámen, the 2020 class of Raab Fellows, and my friends and family that believed in my solo international endeavors. You are all the reason I’ve been able to execute this project.