My name is Maria del Pilar Restrepo but I go by Pili, my nickname.
Next spring, I will marry the man who stole my heart in college with
his charm, intelligence and perseverance almost 10 years ago. I'm a
new Brooklyn resident and a Persian cat mother. I love pizza and
I was born in Bogotá, Colombia but have been very fortunate to live in
amazing cities around the world like Barcelona, Spain and Florence,
Italy. Life has thrown me some pretty intense obstacles, but I am
proud to say my pragmatic approach to life has helped me get through
with positivity and gratitude. I lost my father at an early age in a
plane crash and soon after I was kidnapped with my two younger
brothers. They were 8 and 6. I was 13.
I'm one of those few people who can say I have lost my freedom and a
parent really quickly. For so long I thought it was a curse. Now I
can say it has been a blessing, and I am thankful for the experiences
life has given me.
I have been in the jewelry industry for 10 years, and two years ago I
started my own proprietary line, PR Series Jewelry. It has been a
dream come true.
Dear Curious Pili,
You are one fierce young lady and I am glad you turned out that way.
You see, when your father died in 1995 you were only 11 years old and
you had to grow up quickly. As the oldest of three, you have always
felt the need to protect your brothers and teach them by example - one of your
biggest motivators. Full of fear, you walked out of the deep sadness
and challenges one faces without a parent and embraced every little
obstacle as an opportunity. This trait will come in handy for years to
You are about to graduate from college and even though you know you've
always wanted to pursue your dream of jewelry making, you are afraid
of that HUGE next step. You have to take more Italian lessons in
order to get your student visa and you have to move to Bogotá to do
this. You are scared to leave behind this wonderful man you have been
getting to know, but at the same time happy to be alone and experience
what being single is all about. Don't worry about that ex who was too
scared to stick with you through this unknown adventure. This new guy
will teach you so much and you will be in awe of his dedication and
commitment to you and your relationship every day, every month, every
You will travel to Italy alone and will arrive to a cold and empty
apartment. Please remind yourself the tough girl you are when you
start crying hours later! You will fall in love with the city, your
neighborhood, the food, and the craft. You will work hard, gaining
experience wherever you can perfecting your skills and your Italian.
You will be given an amazing opportunity to intern for a great
creative mind in the jewelry world and you will travel to NYC every
summer and learn from him. You will eventually move to New York and
work for others, learning all sides of the industry.
I know you have a journal and keep track of all the things you want to
do in life. I want you to know that every little thing you have asked
for will come true. I know you get scared sometimes and think
otherwise but don't worry - they will come at the right time.
Timing! What a precious little thing that is. You will learn that
timing (and trusting your gut) is everything. You will understand the
natural clock of the universe - you will come to terms with it and
trust the natural evolution of things.
You are destined to become whomever you want to be. Don't worry about
the chaos or mistakes you make along the way. As Nietzsche once said
- "you must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star".
Keep on dreaming and never stop writing, dancing, crafting, creating,
and loving. The key to happiness lies within you. Have faith and
never give up.
Maria del Pilar
Pili and I met when we were neighbors at our old apartment. I left a note in the elevator with my number so we could hang out one day - I just had a feeling we would be great friends. Her innate creativity and the way she views art and the world is inspiring. And the way her thoughts are manifested into her one-of-a-kind pieces can be anything from a dream, to a Picasso painting she saw during a trip to Spain. We still make time for dinner and dance parties once a month.