First Person Immigrant Stories

Said Fayad

Said Fayad, Colombian, Lebanese, American 


Said: Said Fayad, take one.

Interviewer: Where did your family come to America from?

Said: My family came to America from Colombia, but half of my family in Colombia is from Lebanon. So, they came in the 40s to Colombia and then in the eighties to America.

Interviewer: Can you tell us a little bit of why your parents came to America?

Said: I think my parents came to America originally for passport because they knew I'm having an American passport was going to open the doors to anywhere in the world. I'm guessing they didn't know their kids what plans they had and definitely a blue pass was going to help get those achieved. But also the idea that, I mean also the fact that Colombia was a very dangerous place 70s and 80s and they weren't sure coming back to Colombia after moving to an America was an option, it was an option and they did and then we jump back and forth. But I think it was out of fear of staying in Colombia.

Interviewer: Do you feel like you’ve received the benefit of them taking that risk when you think about that feeling?

Said:  The feeling I was an adult of having immigrant parents that took the chance, not knowing the language, although they went to Miami which was basically north Latin America was still pretty alive today. I still look at my parents and they never really adapted to America - they loved it here - they speak English and they get around, but they will always feel that they're not from here. Whereas for us - for me and my sister - it was different. We felt American growing up, and maybe as we got older and we started adopting more of our Colombian and Lebanese culture into our lives then we started feeling a little less American, but not in a bad way at all. And I still believe the idea that being American opens the door to any plans you might have around the world and you know I see that for my kids someday.

Interviewer: Can you talk about a memory where you felt really proud to be American? Do you have one?

Said: No not really, no.

Interviewer: Are you proud of being an American?

 Said: I'm proud of being an American but the kind of the people, I'm not proud of the state or the government or the way things are run here. Having grown up in Latin America you at a very early age see how government really affects daily life and in the US it hasn't been the case - and I think for, not for everyone obviously - but the general consensus is that government hasn't really affected the daily life of the majority of the people in the country, so yeah.

Interviewer: Is there something that your parents taught you like a traditional value that you have now made your own and part of your daily life?

Said: Yeah, I think one of the things my parents really passed on to us was the idea of being really observant of your surroundings and not just what's happening around you immediately, but what the situation is like, what's going on the news, what's going on the economy. And I think that comes from them growing up and really unstable countries. When we came to the US they kind of took that to an advantage because since not a lot of very vivid dangerous or upsetting things were happening they just put that observation power into business, into how to adapt their culture, into the American culture, and add something to that instead of just observing and adapting to the American Way.

Interviewer: How would you define the word American?

Said: I wouldn't define the word American it gives me this - the feeling I get from the word America - that's right - the feeling I got from the word American is this hopeless naivety - from not knowing that there's bad things happening. The Americans and the American Way has always been to ignore the bad and just focus on the good and let that be the force that takes you forward whereas in other countries you might get stuck in thinking of all the bad things and all the things that are not possible and that will hold you back eventually.