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Finding your place in an unfamiliar space: Pablo Lillo

WED. | 01-05-22 | FEATURES

     Everyone feels out of place in one way or another. Whether it be in the classroom, at home or somewhere else, we all feel it. This is the case for senior Pablo Lillo, who came to Rose not knowing a single person. 

     Lillo moved around four months ago from Santiago, Chile. He abandoned everything he knew behind and began a new chapter here in Greenville. 

     “I left all my life in Chile, including my friends and family,” Lillo said. “It is still hard, but it is what it is.”

     Moving from Chile to North Carolina was a huge change in environment, especially for a high school student. According to Macrotrends, the capital city of Santiago has a current population of 6,812,000. In comparison, Greenville has only 94,822 people, according to World Population Review

     “It is all really different; the culture, people and schools.” Lillo said. “It is so interesting.”

     Lillo actually got to choose the school he wanted to attend when he first arrived. His options were JH Rose, DH Conley and South Central.

     “When I got to Greenville, they told me I


Photo contributed by Pablo Lillo

had three schools to choose from,” Lillo said. “I looked at Rose and liked the school and the soccer field.”

     After living here for a couple months, Lillo noticed some differences in the school system and sports facilities. 

     “The system of education is really different, the teachers and the students,” Lillo said. “We [in Chile] don’t have soccer fields, basketball courts or football fields because we didn’t have the support.”

     He also noticed how the social norm here differs from Chile’s quickly accepting society.

     “In Chile, it’s a normal thing that when you are new, they all talk to you and become friends fast,” Lillo said. “Here, it’s just like my name is Pablo.”

     This change in social life has made it more difficult for Lillo as he tries to find his place at Rose.

     “I feel different from other kids here,” Lillo said. “I feel different when I talk to people.”

     Despite his struggles, Lillo still has one thing in his life that has remained steady throughout the move: soccer. 

     “Soccer is the most important thing in my life,” Lillo said. “When I play soccer I feel like I am something.”

     Sometimes, finding your place can be easier once you find one thing that you enjoy. The sport has helped him overcome some of the social struggles of moving to a completely foreign place.

     “When I play soccer, I feel how other people talk to me and that I am always in a group,” Lillo said. “When you are alone because you are new, you feel maybe a little sad, but when I am on the soccer field, I forget that.”

     Lillo still struggles with feeling accepted, but he has learned to embrace and cope with it.

     “I think that being alone is not a bad thing,” Lillo said. “You can know yourself better, and there are always going to be people that care about you too.”

     He advises others trying to find their place to stay true to themselves.

     “Just be you,” Lillo said. 

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