I migrated in 1995 from Michoacán, Mexico when I was only 4 years old. Me and my family wanted to migrate just like every other immigrant would want to migrate for, “the american dream”. I had to stay in Mexico with my grandparents, in a big house with not much furniture inside or beds as well as sofas, their sheets all over covering our walls. My grandpa would always tell us stories in the ranch such as la chupacabra and la llorona. We would walk barefoot everyday due to the lack of our money, so everyday I’d feel the dirt and rocks pelting against my feet. At the end of the day I look underneath my feet and see the cuts I’d get. The more we walked barefoot, the more I got used to it. I would hear coyotes, roosters, cows, dogs, snakes, and see a bunch of scorpions all over the house.
Meanwhile my mom and dad had traveled to the US, worked for 2 years over there, and when they gathered enough money, they brought my brother and I to the US by car. Since I was a child still, I don’t remember much on the journey but I do remember me sleeping in the car most of the ride. When we arrived, it gave us what we didn’t have out there which was a great home, good clothes and shoes, ate a lot better than we did out there, and the most important of all an education. Our parents had chosen this country specifically because we had already had some of our relatives living there and so we would know where to stay if things didn’t work out for our family and once again, for “the american dream.” It was the easiest place for us to go, good pay, good job, and to obviously give us a good future. As we finally settled in a nice house in California, I remember my mom saying “Ahora estoy feliz”.
It wasn’t very difficult for me and my brother when migrating, but it was for our parents, since they had to leave their parents behind, they still haven’t kept in touch. When we first arrived, it was much different, my parents would offer me a hamburger, when I’d rather be tasting what was pretty delicious and flavorful to me at that time, maruchan, which was what I used to eat over there in Mexico almost everyday. It was hard to adjust to our new environment, it was hard getting to know more people and socializing, because in Mexico it was a ranch, and there weren’t many people, just a couple of houses, rotten grassland and a few fences with a couple of horses and cows with a little barn where we will get milk from the cows. I still remember the terrible smell of the horses and the cows scat seeing it all over the barn. While over here it is very much different, many cities, lots of buildings, the sight of bright lights everywhere when it’s dark, and so many people it makes me anxious. Both my mom and dad had mostly missed all of their family who didn’t want to migrate because some were too scared and feared they would just get deported since they were all undocumented. Either that or that they loved where they were already. I was very young during my time being in México, but I do remember going to the lake, I remember how the water was super clear and clean, my mom would wash our clothes there meanwhile me and my brother enjoyed the clear lake. I also remember riding my donkey and just being somewhat free in general. We didn’t have water bottles or a sink, but we did have cantaros, a vessel for holding and transporting liquids and it usually had one or two handles, and is usually made of mud and so we would get the water from the rivers and the longer the water would be in the cantaro the better it would taste and smell, like fresh clay and dirt, which to us tasted really good.
Migrating had changed me by having to always do things right and that was pretty difficult for me since as a kid I was pretty rebellious, screaming at my mom, talking back to her, so we’d get whoopings a lot. It made me see that we have lots much more to offer our kids. I was a little kid when we migrated so I couldn’t say that it changed me when I don’t even remember what it was like. As for my family, after the migration they have been doing better than ever.
After I had my first son at the age of 14, I wasn’t able to go to school anymore since I had to provide for Paco, and so I was struggling, especially since my boyfriend at the time had left as soon as Paco was born. Years go by and I meet a man who happens to have the same background as me. 11 years after our second child was born we got married. Now I am a stay at home mom taking care of our youngest son, who is 3 years old. I like to draw and listen to music – especially ranchero music.
My kids are my biggest achievement in life. They are good behaved, and doing great in school, and I have lots to offer them. I’m so thankful and proud of my parents that brought me here in the first place. I raised my children well, have good opportunities here, and continue wishing them nothing but the best. Ahora estoy feliz.
This is based on an interview done by Paco Aguilar of his mother. Paco is a student at Eastside College Prep School.