Posted by: Anna | October 27, 2009

Yes, my last name is Garcia

There is this whole segment on CNN, Latinos in America that talks about Latinos in America. Yes, I know, that was repetitive. I have to admit I have not watched it. I don’t have an hour right now to watch it. But I did go online and browsed and found out that my name, Garcia, is the 8th more popular name in the United States. Wow. I guess it is a big deal.

I will have to apologize; some people may be offended that I am not all “Latino Power”. Don’t get me wrong, I am very proud of my heritage and my culture. I love the food we eat, I love the music and I love my family. But I am more interested to learn about everyone, I love all food. I want to carry out my family’s recipes and traditions, but we became very Americanized when we moved here. I don’t think that is a bad thing. Wasn’t that the point? That we embrace all cultures and talk about all nationalities, aren’t we all after all American? Isn’t that why my parents and their parents immigrated? 

 Here’s a little story.

My parents grew up in Guatemala until the age of fifteen. They were neighbors since childhood. My grandmothers were friends and my grandfathers were friends. They helped each other immigrate to the states. My dad came here on his fifteen birthday to the date, October 2, 1976. My mother came here two years after.

My dad took my mom to her first day of school. They were good friends. However, he took her, dropped her off and went to class. My mom spoke no English. She couldn’t communicate with anyone. She found stairs and sat there for FIVE HOURS. Kids came in and out of class, they would walk over her but no one bothered to stop and ask if she needed help. Finally, a high school counselor walked down the stairs and asked her if she needed help. My mom cried and said she needed to enroll and didn’t know where to go. He took her to his office and enrolled my mom.

Now imagine… I don’t know if this happens today. I’m sure it does.

 My mom ate her lunch in that counselor’s office everyday for fear of not speaking English. She eventually made friends but didn’t graduate. She had to work to help her parents support the other kids…the younger five.

 My dad however, did graduate high school, Garfield High School in East LA. No one attended his graduation. No one seemed too interested in having him attend college, after all what are straight A’s?

My parents have gone through some experiences that break my heart. When I was in high school my dad would lecture me about not appreciating my clothes. He said he only had two pairs of pants, two shirts and one pair of shoes; and of course his soccer shoes. My dad is very simple to this day. Growing up I had many dresses, shoes galore. I’m sure sometimes we were poor. I had no idea. I loved my parents. Eating black beans, rice and fried plantains were my favorite food. We NEVER ate out. And I had no idea why. I didn’t care; my mom is the best damn cook to date. (I lack in that area).

I didn’t submit my story to CNN. It’s too long. I am very proud of who I am. I am very grateful for the person my parents raised me to be. I am proud for the example I had as a child. I always looked up to them. I was never embarrassed of my mom’s accent or my dad’s petite figure. That’s sounds corny, but it’s true. If you have the pleasure of ever meeting them one day they are both very humble and loving. They have gone through a lot of shit that I have never had to face. And for that, thank you mom and dad.

At least my mom use to be…then she got blonde highlights….I’m just kidding!




  1. They are honestly some of the nicest, genuine people I’ve ever met. I was blessed to have had them in my life.

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