My name is Matei and I am 16 years old. In my life, I have experienced violence, pain, poverty, abandonment, and fear. My father was violent, and relied on beatings to solve conflicts. My parents eventually got divorced. I have a younger sister who I help parent, because of the unstable environment and circumstances we live in. A few years ago, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and I feared I would lose her. However, after the treatment, she felt better and returned to work. She does shift work as a cook and so I often remain alone with my sister. I am very blessed to have my grandfather in my life. He is the first person I want to spend time with, because being with him makes me feel happy. Sometimes we go fishing together. I have a dream to become a cook one day. I believe this job can help me become self-sufficient and independent. My favorite meal to cook and serve to my family is baked potatoes and meat. Thank you for reading my life story.