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Verano Herrera stepped off the elevator in her office building, out into the main lobby and headed for the double doors. She was finally off work for vacation after a long week. Working as a graphical designer for a popular midwest magazine was never easy. However, she enjoyed the fun, artistic atmosphere in the department. Verano was not a sales person, she was in charge of putting together the media presentations and graphical design for the company. The magazine, Queen City Midwestern covers the local communities of the greater Cincinnati, Ohio tri-state area and is heavily involved in the communities it serves.
She lived with her dog, Rosa, a White West Highland Terrier, in a one bedroom apartment in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. The Groton Lofts at Shillito Place on 7th Street is right down the street from the office. She made good money and it pleased her to live in a nice apartment in a city she loved with all her heart. The building was the first department store in Cincinnati back in the 1870s and was converted into a downtown apartments in 1999. The complex has a secured parking garage, fitness center, a roof top pool and various other amenities. Though she did own a car the daily walk to work kept her fit and gave her a chance to take in the life of the city. Verano had lived in Cincinnati since college. Her family was from Columbus but she had chosen The University of Cincinnati over her beloved Ohio State University because she had always wanted to live in Cincinnati and experience the rich history of the city. Her family still lives in the Columbus area and often visit her throughout the year. The entire family were huge sports fans and routinely attended OSU football games, Columbus Crew spccer games and of course Cincinnati Reds games.
Her parents were happily married of 30 years and had raised a family of three. Verano’s father, Alvaro was born in Central America and had taught himself English when he met my mother, Katherine at convention in Nashville, TN. From the time she could remember she had a love of the Spanish culture, not just the Central American family history but the European ties her father had within his family. Her name meant “summer” in Spanish and she knew some day she wanted to learn Spanish and visit Spanish speaking countries to learn of her father’s heritage. She hoped one day to take him back to his country and enjoy his rediscovery of his native land. Her older sister Maria worked in Columbus as a paralegal and was married with a teenage daughter, Kelsey. Verano’s younger brother, Clark was a senior in high school.
As Verano walked towards her apartment she thought of the upcoming vacation. This would be her third trip to Spain in 10 years. She had taken a trip with her girlfriends, Jennifer and Arizona after college in 2004. In 2010 she went again with the local High School and accompanied her niece Kelsey as part of the Spanish Club trip. She had majored in Humanities (Primarily Spanish) in college with a minors in Graphical Design and Photography. Sometimes she helped out the local Spanish teacher with curriculum and other duties when time allowed. While in Spain the first two times Verano had made friends with a few locals whom she has maintained relationships with. Isabel Rivera was from the Valencia, Spain, on the eastern Mediterranean coast. Isabel had been working in a small café in Barcelona in 2010. Isabel had promised one day she would show me her country like I had never seen or experienced it before. This third trip was for this purpose. Verano had decided to take all three weeks of vacation for the year, plus her 10 days of personal days to make the trip. Essentially giving her four weeks in the wonderful land of Spain. She would regret it later in the year but she hoped to make her dreams come true. She wanted to start her own bookstore and photography business that would allow her to quit her job at the dead end telecommunications place and live her life doing something she enjoyed.