A Mile in Our Shoes, Part 5

By Dana Abdhulay

Priscila

priscila
Photo by Priscila.

What are the most significant factors that contributed to where you are today as a person?

When I was five, my dad decided to come to the U.S. to work and to have a better life too. And my mom, she wanted to move too, but she couldn’t because she was with us. And then after that she got some money that made her able to come to the U.S. and left us, just like that. My dad wasn’t aware that she had left Mexico to the U.S.; he came back to Mexico after a year to take care of us.
All of that had changed me to be more reserved, more like to myself. I like to think things through before I do it — being independent kind of thing.

What kind of experiences have you had in relating with people whose backgrounds are different than yours?

I have a lot of friends who are from different cultures, and even though we came from different backgrounds, we still share and went through similar experiences. And we think that because we are from different cultures that we’re different, but actually there are a lot of similarities that makes us relate to one another.

Have you ever faced difficult challenges that have prevented you from being who you are?

Immigrating to here three years ago, it was kind of hard because of moving to a new cultural “culture shock,” everything is different. Fitting with people that I felt are different than me, especially, because I was young and it was my first time moving out of my homeland.

Have you ever witnessed prejudice? And whom is the prejudice aimed towards? Have you been a victim of prejudice?

Yes I had. Sometimes people would assume that I don’t speak English or I don’t understand, which makes feel kind of angry because I can speak it and I can understand others normally like anybody else.

Who is the most influential person in your life?

My stepmother. She’s the one who got me to do many things to push me back to my education path. I went to a lot of summer programs and camps and other places that I think I wouldn’t do without her […] pushing me to sign up and do better.

What are you most afraid of right now?

My grades. I hope I can maintain my grades with the sport that I play since my parents would like to see me with good grades in my higher education.

What’s the happiest moment of your life? Saddest?

When my dad came back when I was six years old. And the saddest would be when my mom left when I was about five years old.

From your own experience, what is the advice that you would give to someone who’s going through the same thing?

That will sounds so cliche, but just be yourself and don’t give up. Focus on something that you like and do better at it. For me, I play basketball and when I do I forget about everything — it feels like a therapy to me. If you like to write, just write, keep writing whatever comes to your mind. Do what you’re good at, and keep getting better and better.


 

Meme

meme
Photo by Meme.

What are the most significant factors that contributed to where you are today as a person?

My father was always behind my back, pushing me back to school. I’ve never taken school seriously; even in high school I got in a lot of trouble. It was bad at the moment, but now, when I see the consequences, I realize how good it is, him being supportive and pushing me back to school to do better.

What kind of experiences have you had in relating with people whose backgrounds are different than yours?

Adapting to each other’s culture, understand the difference and try to come up with a common line between these different backgrounds.

Have you ever faced difficult challenges that have prevented you from being who you are?

Being a lesbian girl in an Arab family, and how the nosy community around us got in between me and my family.

Have you ever witnessed prejudice? And whom is the prejudice aimed towards? Have you been a victim of prejudice?

Yes, especially if you’re a foreigner to the country, it happens whether you like it or not, whether it’s on purpose or not. It took me a while to adapt to the new life, and where I started having anger problems because of bullying in middle school.

I’ve seen discrimination against black people — I’ve had my driving licence for about three years, every person I see getting pulled over is black. They would pull over my black friend but they would let me go when we both did the same thing, and driving next to each other.

Who is the most influential person in your life?

My father, he’s very sophisticated and educated, understanding and supportive. He’s very supportive with my school, and I’m the most […] like him from between my siblings. I talk to him about everything, and there’s a strong relationship between us that is build on trust.

What are you most afraid of right now?

My grades, or my education as a whole, and meeting the expectation of where I want to get to. I’m afraid that — what if I don’t to get to the program that I want to? For Surgeon Tech program and for the entry test, I have to maintain good grades.

What’s the happiest moment of your life? Saddest?

My high school graduation. I learned a lot in high school, and I had fun in high school. I graduated a semester earlier before my class graduation — I did not expect myself to make it to graduation, because I had to leave the country halfway through the school year.

Saddest moment would be starting college. I did not expected to be that way. On my first semester I dropped three classes, I thought that I couldn’t do it.

From your own experience, what is the advice that you would give to someone who’s going through the same thing?

Always speak up your opinion, be honest about it. You don’t have to say it in a mean way, even if you mean it.

Family-wise, compromise. School-wise, get organized. I was not organized, but when I did, my grades improved when I focused on school and made it a priority.



Didi

didi
Photo by Didi.

What are the most significant factors that contributed to where you are today as a person?

There are several factors that contributed to the person I am today. The life that I grew in and the way that I was raised is what contributed a lot to who I am today. Being born a couple of years after the 1994 [Rwandan] genocide was definitely a tragic experience, not only for me but for the entire country. I have experienced the process of rebuilding my country that was burned to ashes to what is it now and that I hold so dear to my heart.

What kind of experiences have you had in relating with people whose backgrounds are different than yours?

I am a very open-minded person, and I always find it very educative and interesting when it comes to backgrounds different from mine. I believe that things that cross one’s path are meant to leave a lesson for them, and so personally I have learned a lot about other people’s backgrounds and cultures in general through conversation and constant willingness to learn.

Have you ever faced difficult challenges, that have prevented you from being who you are?

I would not say no, just because it is very hard to be who you truly are in a society that constantly expects the different. But, personally, I always stay true to myself in any case, because it is my identity. […]

What are you most afraid of right now?

I am young, and I [have] still got so many years. The only thing that, like, worries me is the decisions I get to make — knowing that they will be with me all my life. And my worry is if they are right.

What’s the happiest moment of your life? Saddest?

The happiest moment of my life is when my little brother was born, it was just a very happy and lighting moment for everyone. It’s like we had all been waiting for him.

I do not have the saddest moment in my life, I just think I take everything as a lesson.

Who is the most influential person in your life?

Michelle Obama is the most influential person in my life.

From your own experience, what is the advice that you would give to someone who’s going through the same thing?

I would advise them to be accountable of their action, not put their worries or concerns to someone’s problems. Also, stay positive — there are always going to be things dragging you down, so if you don’t stay positive it is easy to be lost in all of it.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s