This article is the second part of a series dedicated to getting to know the different people in our diverse community (for part one, click here).
I interviewed Luis Licea, an M-A student who arrived here from Mexico two years ago.
My questions were almost identical to the questions I asked Aaron, the last student I interviewed, yet Licea’s answers were quite different from Aaron’s. Both are Mexican immigrants who came here as teenagers, but they do not share identical experiences. It is a reminder that it’s important that we do not make the assumption that all immigrants share the same story.
Licea was born in Michoacán, and he moved to America because his mother, who is a professional aesthetician (a licensed skin care professional who works in a clinical setting), didn’t have enough work back in Mexico. They obtained a six-month tourist visa and have remained here ever since. I asked Licea about the difference between expectations and reality of life in the United States, and he responded that what most surprised him was the lack of time one has in the U.S. Licea gives his own mother as an example, since she has to work till late at night and returns home after Licea is already asleep. When I asked him about what perspective about immigrants he would like to change in this country, he shared that he wished Americans made fewer assumptions, especially the assumption that all immigrants are bad people or Mexicans.
While Licea appreciated how one could afford more things here, he laments the two things. One is the lack of space, given how small the apartments are here. He used to have more space in his home, and here, it’s all small. Additionally, he lamented how demanding the routine in the U.S. is, which he summarizes as waking up, working, having dinner, and going to bed. He misses the fluidity of life in Mexico, where one could live more, and not dedicate all hours of the day to routine and work.
We should all ask ourselves what Licea has had to observe, and what we have done as a community, for Licea to want people here to not think that all immigrants are bad. It is something that we must reflect on, and be able to offer a better experience to the Latino community.