Hispanic sophomores discuss their heritage

November 14, 2013 — by Atirath Kosireddy and Gwynevere Hunger

Imagine how different life would be if you just picked up all your belongings, got into a U-Haul truck and moved to a different house. How would you feel? Now multiply that feeling by five because that truck is an airplane heading to a different country.

Imagine how different life would be if you just picked up all your belongings, got into a U-Haul truck and moved to a different house. How would you feel? Now multiply that feeling by five because that truck is an airplane heading to a different country.

This is exactly what sophomore Jesus Velasquez went through when he came from Mexico to Saratoga as a 6-year-old.

Velasquez’s parents, who both worked in a computer company, decided to move from Alumpak, Mexico, to Saratoga in pursuit of a better future. Velasquez’s father later found a job as an architect in the U.S.

Velasquez found moving to be a confusing and shocking experience.

“Being on the airplane changed my whole life,” he said. “I didn't know what was going on.”

Early on, he noticed how few Mexicans live in the area.

Over time, though, Velasquez has found Saratoga to be open and welcoming to Mexicans, despite many cultural differences.

Like Velasquez, sophomore Diana Isguerra underwent the same struggle as a 6-year-old when her family left their home in Michoacan, Mexico, to come back to her place of birth.

For her, not knowing English was the hardest part of her immigration. She had a hard time getting used to speaking without an accent.

“English [was] my second language and [was] hard to get rid of my first language's accent,” Isguerra said.

Even with her lack of knowledge of American culture, she convinced herself to adjust to America and make friends along the way.

One of her favorite parts of her Mexican heritage is her knowledge of Spanish. She said that she has fun using her mother tongue to help her friends with their Spanish homework.

Even though she lives in America, Mexican traditions are still a part of Isguerra’s life. For example, she recently planned and celebrated her quinceañera, her 15th birthday.

Quinceañeras are the Spanish version of the American tradition of “sweet sixteens.” This day is important to most Latin-American girls, as it symbolizes their advance from childhood to adulthood.

Isguerra calls the celebration a day “[she’ll] never forget.”

Isguerra may not live in Mexico, but she still visits her homeland each year during Christmas break. She is able to celebrate many holidays, such as the New Year and Christmas with her family.

Even though she lived in Mexico for years, Isguerra feels that she can call America home. If she had to decide what country she would want to live in for the rest of her life, she feels that she belongs here because she is used to the environment.

“My life is perfect [and] I have everything I could ever want: friends, family and school,” Isguerra said.

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