Immigrants. This is one of the most controversial issues in all of the Nations on Earth. But, who are they? How do you become an Immigrant? What is Behind an Immigrant’s Past?
Coming from Italian Immigrants parents, I thought I knew the answer to all of these questions. As I became an Immigrant myself 20 years ago, I realized that I didn’t.
How can some of us leave everything we have, everyone we love, our culture, and our land to start from scratch in an unknown place, with strangers, and in most cases with an unknown language? Are we all the same? Not really.
The stereotype of an Immigrant has been of someone who leaves their country in search of a better life, because of poverty. This is not true. Yes there are immigrants whose basic motivation is poverty, but there is so much more.
When I was little, in my home city in Venezuela, there were many American neighborhoods because of the oil companies. I actually attended an American school from first grade through third grade where all of my classes were in English. I learned American History, before Venezuelan History. Being so young it was only natural that I identified with the American culture. Since then I always dreamed of the day that I could move to the US.
But when I that day came in 1989, when I was 26 years old, I was not happy. At that time I had already graduated from College, had move to the Capital city of Venezuela, and had started my own Pottery Studio. I was living my dream life, even though not in America.
Then one day we woke up in the middle of a mini civil war in Caracas. I could not get to my shop for 10 days, and lost all of the projects I was working on. Throughout all that, my father taught me one of the biggest lessons I have ever learned. He decided to leave his very comfortable life, the business he founded 15 years earlier, and even some of his children. He had decided to move to the US as soon as possible and asked me if I wanted to join him and my mother. “All the years working day and night to build what I have, to be respected in the community, and I ended up where I started; making a line to get a piece of bread. I am not doing this again.” He said.
I left, because I was afraid to stay by myself in Caracas. Crime was very high, and now the political situation for the first time in my life there had been shaken. I sold everything I had in 15 days, got on a plane towards Miami, and the rest is History.
My siblings followed few years later. I always imagined her decision to move to be a little more difficult because she was married, had a job and a baby. But it wasn’t until I Interviewed her that I realized how even though we both came from the same immigrants’ parents, and left the same country to come to the US, what made us Immigrants was not the same.
Behind each Immigrant, there is a story, listen to Sabrina’s as we kick of the Behind an Immigrant’s Past Series.