There are people who travel thousands of miles and spend thousands of days in hopes of finding “home.”
More than four walls. More than a spot on a map or a simple address.
It can be a daunting search. However, the lucky ones, no matter how long it takes or how far the journey carries them, realize the ultimate realization: Home isn’t a place, it isn’t a race — home is a family that speaks the language of your heart.
Tim Emmott, the October LAM Member of the Month, is such a person. And while your first inclination might be to see a last name like “Emmott” and try to attribute it to a spot on a map that says “Latino,” let us save you the time.
Emmott is Latino by way of London, England, a small, South Eastern town named Crystal Palace.
Yes, we said, England.
Emmott studied Spanish for three years while at school in England and confessed the experience was terrible. He moved around as a young lad, never living in a single place for longer than a year. And it wasn’t until he was 24 years old, with the rest of his classmates moving on and an European financial crisis looming, that Emmott took the step would change and shape his life forever: He moved to Mexico — Monterrey, Mexico to be exact.
“Latino culture is incredibly, incredibly welcoming and friendly,” Emmott said. And such was the case as he began his job as a mold designer for a washing machine company. After spending a year there, Emmott, having assimilated himself a bit more with the Mexican culture, decided to begin a part-time teaching gig in Mexico.
It’s there that Emmott really began to embrace the Spanish language and fully immerse himself in the culture, slowly allowing himself to build a familiarity, a home.
But time passed, and an opportunity with Apple in the Bay Area allowed Emmott the chance to advance his career with one of the most prestigious companies on planet Earth. So, despite being what he called the most difficult move of his life, Emmott made his way to the San Francisco Bay Area.
“It made me feel like I had built a home there,” Emmott said of his time in Monterrey, surrounded by friends and family.
But it was on the flight over to San Francisco that Emmott struck up a conversation with a LAM member, who took a liking to the man from across the pond with an affinity for Spanish colloquialisms. That chance encounter pulled Emmott into the LAM world — the rest, they say, is history.
“When I started hanging out with the people from LAM, it felt very natural and very welcomed, very involved,” he said. “Especially as someone coming from overseas, I didn’t know anybody that lives here or didn’t have any family here. So very quickly, LAM became the closest thing to family. I feel that’s very important.”
Important enough that Emmott is credited with being the first non-Latino to be a member of LAM — which isn’t necessarily accurate considering that, listening and having a conversation with Emmott, you’d swear you’re talking with a Latino man with a British accent.
“I only hope that continues to be the case,” Emmott said about feeling at home with LAM. “I hope that people who come to LAM stay going to LAM. Just because you come and meet your friends doesn’t mean you suddenly disappear. There will always be people like me, bringing fresh experiences. If people view it as a community of just Latino people, then that’s the wrong way to view it.”
Emmott offers a unique perspective to LAM members and in a lot of way, the 28-year old redefines it. It’s something refreshing as LAM undergoes a bit of a redefinition heading into its fifth year.
Emmott is very successful in his own right. He works for Apple as a designer and while there are limitations that come with working for such a secretive company, Emmott views it as a blessing. While there are parts of Emmott’s life that need to remain silent, that doesn’t mean his passion and expertise for his profession isn’t evident.
“I think the saying true: If you enjoy what you do, you’ll never work a day of your life,” Emmott said. “I never wanted to be a designer to make money. I wanted to be a designer because I wanted to be a designer. In the art world, if you really love what you’re doing, if you really care, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, you’re going to do a great job.”
Emmott immersion into LAM has helped his come full circle with the discovery of himself and his “home.” It’s a Latino thing. And it’s worn off to his family — his brother married a Mexican and his sister a Colombian.
“It’s something that will always be a part of who I am because some part of me was shaped when I was in Mexico and I was able to become more of who I wanted to be,” he said. “I couldn’t necessarily put my finger on it. It feels very familiar to me. The Latino culture now is something I felt was my home. It’s something I value very highly … the sentiment is … really close to my heart.”
About author Julio Lara: Julio is a LAM Member and sports reporter for the San Mateo Daily Journal. When he’s not at a ball game working on press row, he likes hanging out, listening to Rock En Español and sharing a good sangria. You can follow his personal blog here: http://ohmyjuly.wordpress.com/.
If you believe you or someone you know merits recognition, please send an email to email@example.com with the subject line titled ‘Member of the Month’. In the body, please answer the following questions (keep answers short and informational):
- Name of nominee
- Previous/Current accomplishment(s)
- Community involvement story
- A biography of nominee (where born, grew up, profession, family, anything else interesting)
- Project they would like to promote during their feature (for example, if Giovanni, the founder of LAM, would be featured in a magazine, he would like to promote LAM)