• en
Our American Journey: Stories from King/Drew Magnet High School Students

Enlarge Enlarge Licensing

Coming to the United States

By Carmen J.

The person I interviewed was my mom, Maria J.  She comes from San Nicolas, Miahuatlan, Oaxaca. Juliana and Baltazar brought her, Maria Maya into this word  on July 22nd, 1974.  As she grew up, she never thought of coming to the United States, but as time passes, anything can happen.  She grew up living with her grandmother in order to study and work at the same time.  She worked at her aunt’s store that was near her school and that is how she met her husband, my dad, Felix J.

October 9th, 1993 marked their lives, they pledged to love and care for one another.  June 11th, 1994, a new baby came into this world, my sister, Yadira J.  My dad had already gone to the United States before, and asked my mom id she wanted to come over to the United States.  After thinking it for a while my mom said yes, because she wanted the family to be united.  It was November 1995, at the age of 21 she arrived at Los Angeles.  Without having time to get anything ready, she could only bring a few things that were necessary to survive during her journey from San Nicolas to the United States.  She brought my sister, water, powdered milk, pampers and a picture of her and my dad on their wedding day.

Once she arrived to Los Angeles, my father, aunt and grandpa were waiting for her in Tijuana.  She was surprised to see so many cars and police officers at same time.  In San Nicolas, all you saw were stores, people walking, and moto-taxis.  Everyone knew everyone and everything; it was a small pueblo but wide open.  There are local parks all around Los Angeles, over at her homeland there was only one, and it was known as “la cancha”.  Swimming pools are located in practically every park, at San Nicolas, there aren’t  pools, and there are “tanques”.  Tanques are similar to swimming pools, but bigger and opened the entire year not just in summer.  You have more freedom over at San Nicolas.  It’s a place where you can just walk around; kick it with friends like if it was a perfect place.  Parties every weekday or weekend and the guys are not shy to ask you out to dance.  Teenagers start smoking and drinking at a young age, but not all teenage guys are the same.  Some guys are so outgoing that asks a girl to get married at the age of 15 or so.

Even though Maria was hundredths of miles away from her family, she still kept in touch with them.  She didn’t let traditions die.  She still calls her loved ones and always has them in her heart.  She recently has visited them at San Nicolas, Miahuatlan with her whole family, her two daughters, son, and husband.  When they are in need she sends them money to help them out with what she can.  She knows that she can count on them with anything as well, that is why they are family.

That picture taken on October 9th, 1993 was really special to both of them but had a higher significance to her.  That picture proves their love, their vowel of being together for the rest of their lives.  It represents that even in the hardest situations someone is going to be there for you no matter what.  “Two souls but with a single thought two hearts that beat as one.” – John Keats That quote proves that anything can be united as one.  Even when there are problems that are tough, anything is possible.  That picture represents sacrifices, hard work, dedication, accomplishment and showing that no one should ever give up on their dreams because nothing is impossible, even the word itself says I’M POSSIBLE.

Coming to the United States, never crossed Maria’s mind.  She thought that this process was going to take long, but in a matter of hours she arrived at Tijuana, with her baby, my sister, Yadira.  Today, May 6th, 2013, it is seventeen years that she has been here at Los Angeles, and she doesn’t regret it.  She came to keep her new family united even though she knew she was going to miss her biological family.  Even though they are miles apart, the memories live in her heart.

Based on this original

Carmen's Parents
uploaded by kingdrewstories
Left : Carmen's parents on their wedding day in 1993 This is a part of the "Our American Journey" Project between the King/Drew ... More »

Login or register
to contribute to the Nikkei Album

Welcome to the NEW Nikkei Album!

We've launched Nikkei Album in beta, so everyone can now start uploading and creating their own albums. There may be things that don't work quite right yet. Please email us to report any errors.

Browse the Nikkei Album

Kizuna 2020: Nikkei Kindness and Solidarity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Read the stories and share your own!

More Than a Game: Nikkei Sports

Submissions accepted until October 31.

Read the Nikkei sports stories >>

Get updates

Sign up for email updates

Journal feed
Events feed
Comments feed

Support this project

Discover Nikkei

Discover Nikkei is a place to connect with others and share the Nikkei experience. To continue to sustain and grow this project, we need your help!

Ways to help >>

A project of the Japanese American National Museum

Major support by The Nippon Foundation