March 08, 2012

My Immigrant Story

A long, long time ago, in a country far away, two people got married.

He went to university and worked in the accounting department of a big department store. She also took university classes and owned her own beauty salon. 

A few years later, they had a baby girl. They took her here to be sealed as a family for time and all eternity. Everyone thought it was so funny that She owned a beauty salon, but her baby had no hair! (Don't worry; she has plenty now!)

The baby was born during a really bad war in their country, and even though they had hopes and dreams for their family, they decided to explore the option of leaving. They knew a lot of people, including one of his brothers, who had moved to Australia on a special refugee program. They got their paperwork/passports ready, but at the last minute, She decided Australia was too far. She feared that if she left, she would never see her mother again. So... They stayed.

Things got worse. One day, when He was gone, and She was home alone with the baby and the muchacha (nanny/housekeeper), a group of armed military men came in. They questioned Her, and she discovered the military had been spying on them night and day. They were accused of collaborating with insurgents and stockpiling weapons. The men ransacked the house and, of course, found nothing. Miraculously, they left the home without harming anyone. That day, She decided they had to get out

They still had their passports, and, through the grace of God, had had the opportunity to obtain visas to come to the United States. They sold what they could, gave away the rest of their belongings, and two weeks later, they took their baby and their suitcases (his was full of books), and their lives changed forever.

Today, their baby (a college graduate) is pursuing a Master's degree while working in policy and politics.

Their family has grown to look like this:

This past Tuesday was the 25-year anniversary of the day we came to the United States. I am grateful for my parents and for all of the sacrifices they have made to give me (and my four siblings) a better life. I sometimes wonder how our lives would be different had we stayed in El Salvador, where both of my parents could have finished their studies, where my dad could have had a job in an office instead of in a factory, where my mom would have achieved her dream of owning her own chain of salons, where money wouldn't have been an issue (and maybe they wouldn't have gotten divorced?)... They've faced many challenges in this country, but they amaze me for ALL they've accomplished.

I once asked my parents if things were really so bad in El Salvador that all the struggles we've had here in the U.S. have been worth it, and the answer from both of them was, without hesitation, YES! I am mindful of this in everything I do. I want my parents to be proud of me. They sacrificed their dreams so that I could achieve mine. Any success I have had or ever will have in my life is really their success. What a blessing to live in a country where anything is possible! I hope to see a day when others with stories like my family's are able to fully access everything this country has to offer without having to jump through ten thousand hoops to do so.



  1. That was so touching, Y! I am reminded of when my parents came over here too and am SO grateful for all they've done for me. Thanks for the thoughts today!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  3. I came across your blog as as I was preparing a lesson for relief society on THE DOCTRINE of CHRIST from April 2012 conference. You are an amazing woman...I found myself reading so many of your words today and they really filled me with hope. Please keep never know who needs those words today. I think the world is lucky to have a dynamic person like you in it...and to the LDS world you are a treasure!

  4. Laurie, thank you so much for your comment. It really meant a lot to me. I keep this blog mostly because I like writing, because sometimes it's easier to blog than to write about things in my journal, and well, because I take so many photos and don't know where else to put them. :) I feel grateful for the gospel in my life and hope it comes through in what I write, whether it's gospel-related or not. The gospel is what brings ME hope, and I'm so happy you were able to feel that, too. Good luck with your lesson, and thank you again for your sweet comment!

  5. I am glued to your blog. I came to it because of your couch, fell in love with your bedding that reminded me of DC where I was born, loved the pictures of SLC from your jog, and was so excited when you mentioned Gettysburg because that is where my parents moved when I was a baby. I know that this is COMPLETELY different. We moved from DC because of the violence, crime, and poor schools in our poor neighborhood. I cannot imagine how difficult your parent's sacrifices were but hearing your story and how you honor your parents is such a beautiful thing! I also loved what you said about marriage equality. I wrote something very similar on Facebook in regards to the supreme court's decision. My husband, children, and I are now stationed in OK, and I look forward to following your blog :-)

    1. Hi, Virginia! Thanks so much for your comments. Gosh, you're so nice! How fun that we've crossed through some of the same places! I haven't made it to Oklahoma yet, but I *do* like the Thunder! :) I'll reply to your couch Qs on the other post!


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