First Person Immigrant Stories
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Isabel Lopez, Mexican, American

Isabel Lopez, Mexican, American

[My parents] just wanted us to have opportunities that they never would have gotten to have.
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Interviewer: Can you give me your full name?

Isabel: My full name is Maria Isabel Lopez Rico.

Interviewer: When did your family first come to America?

Isabel: My family first came to America from Mexico in 1999. My dad was promoted at his job and they needed someone to come to South Florida and I was 8 and my brother was 6 and my sister was 4. And the way they told us we were moving was they said, “How would you feel about living somewhere else?” and I was like, “no thank you.” My family's here, my cousins are here, I see my grandparents every weekend this is where my friends are, why would I want to go anywhere else? And then they were like well too bad we're moving to this magical place with really cool apartments and there's a pool and they were trying to talk it up to me and I kind of wasn't buying it. But yeah we moved in the middle of a school year. So, when I got to school it was like February everyone had already kind of everyone already had friends and it was rough. The first day we were learning about measurements so we're learning about Fahrenheit which I thought was stupid because I was used to Celsius and we were learning about measuring and feet which I also thought was stupid because I knew the metric system.

Interviewer: Why did your parents want to move here?

Isabel: So my parents wanted to move to America because they - I mean I didn't know I was eight but they knew the opportunities that would exist here for me and my siblings that I didn't know about. So, they knew that they wanted to send me to private school in Mexico because public school in Mexico was just not that good and we just didn't have enough money to do that and they knew that if we came here the public school system was going to be good and we were going to be able to go to college which was not really a given in Mexico. They knew that my dad would have a better job, he would have more advancement. They knew that it would just open up a lot of doors for us that were not necessarily available to us in Mexico at the time. And I mean it was honestly the older I grow the more I appreciate how much of a sacrifice it was for them. I used to think it was selfish, I used to think why did they force me to leave when we had this great thing going in Mexico but I've like come to realize that they chose to leave somewhere where they had lived for thirty years. They chose to leave there I mean my dad is one of ten siblings, my mom is one of seven. They chose to leave all of those siblings and their parents and my cousins and their friends and they chose to come here for me and my brother and my sister. And they – yeah, they just wanted us to have opportunities that they never would have gotten to have and my mom sacrificed like she couldn't have a career she couldn't work because she didn't have a work visa. So, instead of doing stuff that would fulfill her she stayed home and she made sure that we would fit in and learn English and go to karate and all this stuff. So, yeah, I mean they really just did it for us.