It’s time. Time for my last and final work of #ds106. For this project, I decided to tell the story of my parents. You can read more about it here. Anyways, short story short, I wanted to introduce them to you all and explain why and how they inspire me and continue to do so each and every day. To go about doing this, I am using the components visual, web, writing, and video to do so. Instead of telling their story with “once upon a time,” I wanted to present them in a report type of way. So without further ado, meet my parents, Maria Cecilia and Juan Carlos.
My parents both grew up in Peru, a country which lies in the west of South America, bordering the Pacific ocean and various other countries. Though they both lived in the same country, they never met in Peru. They actually met in the United States, when they both immigrated to Virginia. Before I get into their backstory, I want to explain exactly where they grew up within Peru so that you might have a better visual.
My mom, Maria Cecilia, grew up in the city, specifically the capitol, Lima. This is a city filled with adventure and opportunity. She grew up with two parents, and various house maids. I also want to include she had a nanny, personal chef, and personal driver. My grandparents were both financially stable enough that they were able to have all the new luxuries for my mother.
However, on the other hand, my father not so much. He grew up in the small rural town of Ica. He had very hardworking parents, a lawyer and nurse, who did their best to provide for him, and… wait for it… his eleven siblings. Unlike my mom who had three siblings, my father was stuck with quite a lot of sisters and brothers. Though his parents did make a well enough income, it was not enough to provide for him and his siblings. So unlike my mother, he did not have a personal chef or nanny, but ripped pants and very small meals.
Within Peru, they lived approximately five hours away from each other. However, during their upbringing the main highway between these two cities, known as the Panamericana, did not exist which made travel dangerous and difficult.
When my mom was sixteen years old she was sent, by my grandma, to the United States. She applied for a student visa and was shortly on a plane to the US. Her parents had divorced and so my grandmother pushed her to move to the United States to make a better future for herself, and she would meet her there in half a year with her younger siblings, since my mom was the oldest of four. This was her first time flying and being alone. When she first came to the United States in 1989, she went to live with her uncle in Arlington, Virginia. This is where she juggled two jobs, working at her local movie theater and pizza restaurant, while learning English.
I have inserted a picture of the travel my mother made from Peru to the United States to give a better visual.
My father however moved to United States in 1988 after completing one year of university in Lima, Peru. He then moved to Italy where he stayed with strangers, while trying to learn Italian and working as a waiter at a local restaurant. After learning this was not the right path for him, he left his siblings and family behind in Peru, and went to live with his older sister in Woodbridge, VA.
By now, my parents were both living closer than ever at only thirty minutes away from each other, yet they still did not know each other existed.
How they met is actually quite funny. While living with my aunt, my father got a job as a cleaner in Washington, D.C. cleaning building floors and bathrooms during the night. Now remember when I said my grandma was to move to the US in six months? Well she did. She also got a job as a cleaner where my father was working.
One night, my father offered my grandma a ride home, and she accepted. When they got to my uncle’s home (at the time this was the place my grandma was living with her four children) my grandma offered my father a cup of coffee which he accepted. When they walked in, my mom was sitting in the living room with her pajamas and a messy bun.
It’s funny because my mom said she was in lounging clothes when they first met that she became so flushed with embarrassment, she ran past him and went straight into her room. They never exchanged a word that night, but this was the first they knew of each other.
After this, my father became interested in my mother and would occasionally offer my grandmother a ride home to have an excuse to see her. Shortly after, they began dating. My mother would sneak in my father to the movies and they would go on dates. Unlike today though, there wasn’t phones to text, so my father would have to call the landline or use his pager.
All was great, until my mother became pregnant with my older sister. This is when they decided to get married. They had a small wedding and got married at the local state court within three months of finding out they were going to have a baby. They even had a small get together at my uncle’s house, which turned out to be a major fail because it had been a very sunny, hot day and instead of turning on the A/C, my mom’s uncle accidentally blasted the heat. It’s quite funny, actually. We have it on a VHS tape.
During this time, my parents matured very quickly. My mother was to have her first child at nineteen, and she did not know anything about caring for a child or cooking since she had a very easy life as a child. My father began working three jobs while studying English. They could not afford a car, so they moved to an apartment closer to my father’s workplace and bought a bike. My dad would wake up at 5 am and not come home until midnight. Sadly, because he did not have a car, he learned to manage his time and rode his bike from home to work, whether rain or shine. He did this to provide for his small family. Through hard work and dedication, my older sister was born. Something my mother tells me now, which she laughs at when recalling, is when she first had my sister, she did not have any idea of how to care for the child, so when she was first left alone with her, she remembers laying her down on the bed and sitting next to her while crying. She eventually learned to pick up the phone and call my grandmother for help. Don’t worry, she eventually learned because she had two other daughters.
I wanted to share this story with you all because through all the obstacles my parents went, they still made it out. In fact, my father’s boss while being a cleaner granted him citizenship papers through his work. As funny as it turns out, my father is actually now working with the same boss. He is no longer a cleaner, but he is high up there in management, managing a company which works with most of the East coast. Because of this success, my father got my mother a job in Human Resources. She learned through experience and now is also very successful. She even got the opportunity to study at George Mason University through her dedication.
You see, my parents inspire me in ways I cannot describe. When I was younger, I would lash out at them and call them harsh words such as “workaholic.” What I did not know was they were doing everything for me, and they kept pushing through my attitude. Today, they push me to the best I possibly can be of myself, and support me in all the choices I make. Without them, I don’t know where I would be today, or if I would have the dedication to work as hard as they did. I love my parents and I thank them everyday for their love and support.
Below I have attached an interview where I asked them a couple of questions about coming to the United States.
- What was the hardest part of coming to the United States alone?
- If you could give one tip to those who are working hard to achieve a goal, but feel discouraged, what would it be?
Please note the video is not in the best quality because this was recorded during the late evening when my parents got off work. Also the video quality changed, for some odd reason, when transferring the file.
I want to thank you all for taking the time to listen to my story. I truly appreciate it. If you want to know more about how I used visual, web, writing, and video in this project, please do so by clicking here.
Thank you for the great semester #ds106west students and professor Bond. May you all have a good summer and thank you once more for the opportunity to be a part of #ds106west. Thank you.