HOLMDEL, NJ: There's a saying we've all heard, 'you can choose your friends, but not your family members'. Well, for the Field family in Holmdel, they have a different tale to tell. It's a story about family, the selfless love of two mothers, and about dreams coming true.
Holmdel's Darlene Field says, "While on vacation in the Caribbean Island of Sint Maarten in March of 2013, we met Sanjai, now known to many in New Jersey as DJ Skillz, at the Sonesta Hotel where we were staying.
He was working as the DJ at the hotel and also managed the Kids Club there. Our son Aidan, who was seven at the time, had a great week with Sanjai, sharing so much fun together in the hotel's Kids Club.
Aidan was very sad to say good bye to him the morning we left. That's when we all agreed to meet again, and Sanjai who was coming to the U.S. for a visit, promised that he would make sure to see us all again."
Then they parted, the Field family went home to busy day to day life in New Jersey, and Sanjai continued his work at the hotel in Sint Maarten.
So often in life we promise to keep in touch. Even in our own hometown we run into someone and may say, 'let's get together, let's stay in touch' ... and then life and time takes over and it often doesn't happen and then we bump into them again, maybe...
The Field family kept in touch with Sanjai and they knew more than anything that Sanjai's dream was to attend college and the island he is from does not offer higher education.
Sanjai's family in Sint Maarten knew he wanted to go to college. Being one of ten children, that dream was not easy to achieve and would obviously mean separating from his family and life in Sint Maarten.
Field continues: "We kept in touch and a few months later Sanjai came to visit us and he was the DJ for a big party for our son Avery, who was in high school at the time. We had a great visit and talked to Sanjai about the possibility of enrolling in college in New Jersey and we offered for him to live with us. We knew very well from previous conversations with Sanjai that his life's dream was to come to America for college.
His island is very small, only 37 square miles, and there is no opportunity for education after high school.
It was after his visit to us in the States, that we welcomed Sanjai to move in with us and he accepted.
We became Sanjai's host family while he has been attending college and we've really never looked back, he is a part of our family. We have visited his family and his family has traveled here to visit all of us. I am friends with his mom and his grandmother. When he's not studying or working, he's sharing time with us or traveling.
My children enjoy sharing many common interests with Sanjai. My son Avery is a musician and a sophomore at Rutgers majoring in linguistics. Sanjia introduced him to the Brazilian martial art of Capoeira. It's a mix of acrobatics, martial arts and dance. Sanjai and Avery enjoy concerts together. Our son Aidan loves practicing Parkour (street acrobatics) with Sanjia.
Our relationship with Sanjai is living proof of how someone from a totally different culture and background can have common values, and become each other's family."
The Field family which now Sanjai is an important part of enjoys bike riding together, trips to the Jersey Shore, and just everyday moments. Sanjai has extraordinary talent in martial arts, acrobats and dance.
That combined with his DJ jobs and his studies keeps him very busy. DJSkillz says, "I realize how fortunate I am to be a part of the Field family and I am so appreciative to them."
See video here of Sanjai practicing the art of Parkour:
Sanjai Rambhadjan was born and raised in Sint Maarten, an island only 37 square miles in size, but spent a lot of his childhood in Suriname and Holland. He speaks Dutch and has family in Sint Maarten, Suriname, Holland and America. The oldest of six brothers and three sisters, Sanjai is very familiar with helping out the family and pitching in. It wasn't long after moving in with the Field family in Holmdel, that Sanjia, after attending Brookdale Community College graduated with an associate's degree in Computer Science. Now Sanjia is a full time college student attending CUNY, and majoring in Computer Science. Sanjai built upon his knowledge as a DJ and now has earned a great reputation for himself as a popular NJ DJ; DJSkillz. He's playing at Donavan's Reef in Seabright, Vibe in Hazlet, Rooster Spin in New Brunswick and Teak in Red Bank. DJSkillz also does private parties, school and community events. For example next month DJSkillz will be the all night DJ for the Holmdel High School Project Graduation.
See video here of DJSkillz DJing:
DJSkillz (Sanjai) comments, "I love having the opportunity to live in New Jersey and be so close to NYC and the Jersey Shore. I am experiencing the American life with a wonderful family. Darlene and Shawn (Field) are role models to me and are enabling me to live my dream of succeeding in college. Of course I miss my mom and all of my family, and the warm weather and beautiful beaches, but my family supported me coming to America and living my dream of earning my college degree. Without my mom's support to come here and Darlene Field and her family's support I would not be living my dream. I am so thankful."
So on Mother's Day Sanjai has two moms to appreciate: His mom who lovingly raised him and now with her selfless love has enabled her son to travel and live far away from her to live his dream. The second mom he appreciates is Darlene Field, a mom with a heart big enough to love her two sons, and have room to love and care for another.