My name is Diego Chavez, tengo 46 años and I’m living in California. Before I had begun living in California, I was living in Guadalajara, Mexico until I was 26. Mi vida en México era un mix de sentimientos, a veces era feliz y alegre, pero también puede ser triste y difícil. The economy in Mexico makes it very hard to live. Trabajas mucho pero al fin de el dia, no ganabas tanto. Even if you have a professional degree, making a living is still hard because it’s difficult to find work. It’s not only that but you always have to choose between what to buy; like choosing between a shirt or pants or buying something I need and then having to find a way to reduce costs of everything else to be able to pay the rent. Since I was working so much, I didn’t really have any hobbies except for music (which I fell in love with). Something that made living in Mexico hard for me too was the fact that my mom had died when I was 12 years old. My siblings and I supported each other but I had lost the only role model I had and I didn’t have anyone else to look up to. The death of my mom had led me to do things such as getting married at the age of 16 and then have my first child at the age of 17, then later getting divorced at the age of 21. Although my life wasn’t too bad after getting divorced, at the age of 26 I had wanted to have a family and that motivated me to want to go to the United States.
I felt that I had already lived most of my youth and life in Mexico and did everything I possibly could. So, I made my journey across. We took a flight to the border between the United States and Mexico in order to save time, and stayed several days there waiting for the right moment. El Coyote would always tell us, “Toda esta gente está cruzando ahorita pero nosotros tenemos que esperar el momento perfecto para que no nos atrapen”. When that perfect moment came he yelled to us, “Apurense, ya vámonos, ya vámonos!” y nos fuimos corriendo rápido y empezamos a cruzar. La migra nos gritaba “Stop! Stop!” and while running I would turn back and yell “Sorry, no english!” then keep running away.
When I had gotten into the United States, mi plan fue quedarme 1-2 años, pero cuando conocí a mi ahora esposa, it didn’t give me a reason to go back to Mexico. The first few days here in the United States were very hard. I would have trouble with English, have trouble making money and the skills I had in my job in Mexico did not count here, prácticamente empecé de cero. Además de eso, todo fue muy extraño y diferente, y me hizo extrañar más a mi tierra. It was difficult to adjust to el ambienté nuevo, extrañaba a mi familia, amigos, y la comida, especialmente las tortillas. Hice amigos y ellos me ayudaron a ajustarme más, pero some had even let me stay in their homes or let me borrow money when I had none. As time went on, I adjusted to this new society, pero cuando nacio mi hijo. It really made me question if I wanted to go back to Mexico, but in the end it only gave me more of a reason to stay in the US. Con cada hijo que tuve, me hizo sentir que me quiero quedar más, ya no nomás para mí pero también para mi familia. Ahora, I have a beautiful family with 3 children whom I work extremely hard for, una esposa linda, y aunque la vida todavía puede ser difícil, it is a lot better from what I remember in Mexico. I still miss mi familia y la comida, but I hope to return one day when I can to visit them.
The interview was done by Diego’s son Angel, a high school student.