|My Abuelito (Gabriel) giving my cousin Angel a “talk” on Father’s Day (2013) :: Bronx, NYC|
Welcome to the Longology mini series: Desde Guatemala. (“From Guatemala”)
For those of you who don’t know my family is from Guatemala. Both my parents & both sets of grandparents were born and raised in Guatemala so I like to say that I’m 100++++++% Guatemalteca lol.
For a long time now I’ve been wanting to document my family’s story. How did we get here? Is our story different than any other immigrant’s story? Why do I care? The honest answers to these questions are: I know a little bit, but not enough.
Do you know your family’s story? How did they get to where they are today? Do you care to know and is it important for later generations in your family to know? I am very intrigued by families who have their history documented in one way or another (video, books, photos, etc). I don’t have that and I want to have it for my family. I have one seen about 5 super old pictures of my family. I feel the urgency now more than ever to at least begin this journey in capturing our story. My plan is to document our story via photographs and mini-video stories which I can compile into one nicely packaged format and hand out copies to each one of my family members. I have no idea how long this will take to finish, but my goal is to get it done and finished. I envision this project to be on-going after the initial cut since our story will continue.
On Saturday Adonis and I leave for Guatemala. It’ll be my first time back in 11 years and his first there.
Here is a little of what I know (or think I know):
- My grandfather was in the Guatemalan military
- My grandparents met in Guatemala but were from two different “social classes” Country girl vs. City Boy and dark skin vs. light skin
- My grandfather was the first one to come to the U.S. A few years later my grandmother, uncles, and mom followed (all a la “Cross The Border” style)
- They lived in California before settling in NYC
- My mom was 17 yrs old when she came to U.S., spoke zero English, but eventually earned her high school diploma & Associates Degree
- My uncle has ran his own appliance shop in the Bronx ever since I can remember
- My oldest cousin (who was 5 yrs old when she arrived in the U.S.) was the first in our family to earn a bachelor’s degree & a master’s degree. I was the 2nd.
- My grandparents have been married for 53 (ish) years
- My grandparents have been U.S. citizens for many many years now — but my mom isn’t.
We’ll save the “why we’re going” and “what we’ll do once we’re there” for later posts. In the mean time — Welcome back Longologists!