Olimpya

Interviewee

Anita Isaacs

Interviewer

June 7, 2019

Mexico City, Mexico

Growing up in the US

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*To hear more about Olimpya listen to the playlist above

Anita: How old were you when you left for the US?

Olimpya: I was small. I was around five or six years. I was in first grade.

Anita: You were in first grade?

Olimpya: Yes.

Anita: You grew up in Mexico City or somewhere else?

Olimpya: Yes, here in—

Anita: Here in Mexico City.

Olimpya: [Affirmative noise].

Anita: Why did you migrate?

Olimpya: My mom used to have a lot of domestic violence problems with my dad. So normally, we would be leaving the house, and come back, and come and go. But one day, my uncle, who's an American citizen, came to Mexico for a vacation. It was in the meantime when we were out of the house. So my mom saw him. They talked about what was going on, how he can help, and one day, my mom said, "You know what? We're leaving." So we grabbed a couple of clothes, shoes, and we left.

Anita: Just like that?

Olimpya: Yeah. One day to another, we were already on the road. [Chuckles].

Anita: Wow.

Olimpya: Yeah. We were on the mobile home with my uncle and his family. We were setting off to Ciudad Juárez. So that's why basically.

Anita: As a child, was it scary for you at home?

Olimpya: It was kind of confusing because I was happy because they told me about Disneyland and all this stuff. I was really happy about that, but then you look back, and you're like, “My dad, my sisters, my house, my toys, my things, what's going to happen?" I was happy during the day because I wouldn't think about it, but at nights, I used to have really bad dreams about it, about leaving my dad, about everything.

Anita: So, it was just you who went with your mom?

Olimpya: No. My two brothers and I.

Anita: So, somebody stayed behind though? You say your sisters?

Olimpya: Yeah. Well, I got two more sisters and two more brothers. They're older. But they're not my mom's. They're my dad's, but we grew up together, so we're really...

Anita: I understand. I understand. So it was really hard to leave all of this behind.

Olimpya: Yes. But as a kid, you don't think about it. You just, in your mind, you have it there. You know it's there. I know because, for a whole year, I used to have really bad dreams where I used to wake up crying. My mom would be like, "What's going on?" I'm like, "My dad, my dad, my dad." She's like, "But it's already a year." I was like, "I don't know. It just comes out."

Anita: Do you remember some of the nightmares?

Olimpya: Yeah, I remember one that it's like really stuck in my mind. It's really weird. The day we left the house—it's the same house where my dad lives right now, so it's on the avenue. I remember my mom, she had a truck, I don't know who give it to her, to take out our stuff. I remember I was sitting on the back looking like this and seeing my dad. Then I start crying. That's a dream I can't forget about. I don't know why, but it's there. [Chuckles]. It's just there.

Anita: Yeah. Did you have contact with your dad when you were in the States?

Olimpya: Yeah, but not that much. At the beginning, it was really weird to talk to him because my mom didn't want him to know that we were over there, so it was once a month maybe? Then after that, we tried to contact him, but he was working or with his new family and this lady wouldn't let us talk to him. Every time I call, she would say, "Ah, he's not here.” I could hear his voice on the back, so I was like, "I know he's here." So she wouldn't let... so things like that.

Anita: A lot of people have told us about domestic violence. Why do you think there's so much domestic violence?

Olimpya: Culture.

Anita: Tell me. What do you think? Say more.

Olimpya: Well, here in Mexico, girls or women, we're raised to serve. We're not raised to think or do something on our own because it's dangerous for us. But it's weird because if we stay at home, it's dangerous as well. [Chuckles]. Men here think that we are weak, that we're not able to, that we're not capable. So they don't let us do what they think we can't. That's basically it. And since we're raised by Mexican women. So, me as a woman, I have a son. I need to teach him how to respect and let a girl be, but all girls here, they're not the same. They think, "No, you're a girl, you need to serve. You're a boy, they serve you." Then the daughter-in-law comes, and then she's like, "No, you need to serve my son. You need to do this for my son." So it's education basically, ignorance.

Anita: So, do you think differently? I know I'm getting ahead of everything—

Olimpya: No, it's okay.

Anita: —but it's interesting. Do you think differently because you grew up in the States?

Olimpya: Yeah, but I have both cultures. My way of thinking is really weird because I am very domestic. I love to cook. I love to take care of my son. I love to take care of my husband. I love to take care of my house. But if I need to go work because my husband needs help or anything happens, I'll do it. I don't mind. I can work. I know how to do this. I know I'm really smart, and I know I'm capable of doing. I know I can do things on my own, but if there's no need to, I can stay out. [Chuckles]. That's what I want, not because they're forcing me too.

Anita: But you also talk about raising your son differently.

Olimpya: Yeah. Yeah. My son is in first grade, so he is about the age when I left. Last week, he came to me. He's like, "Hey, mom. I need to tell you something, but you're going to get really mad." I was like, "Okay. Tell me." I thought he did something bad. He's like, "I'm in love." [Laughing]. So, I was just like, "Hold on. I was expecting something else." So he's like, "I'm in love." I'm like, "Okay. That's not bad. I'm not going to get mad at it." "Wait, mom. It gets worse.” I'm like, "Okay." "She's in third grade." [Chuckles]. So, I was like, "Okay. She's old for him," but inside of me, I thought about it, right? I was like, "Okay. I'm not going to tell him ‘No, you can't, because you're too small, because she's a girl. She's too big.’ No." I was like, "Okay. That's fine. She's a girl. You're a boy. What's the problem?" He's like, "Are you sure?" I'm like, "Yeah. You like her. Be nice to her. Buy her a chocolate, a rose. Be nice. Respect her." So, he looked at me and he's like, "Can I write a letter for her?" I was like, "Go ahead." So instead of teaching him to not respect girls since he's that small, it's like turning it around. Respect her. If you like her, respect her. That's it.

Anita: That's wonderful. That's a wonderful story.

Olimpya: Yeah. [Chuckles].

Anita: So just on that, what's it like to have a son who's the same age as when you left? Does it bring you back?

Olimpya: Yeah, it brings me back memories because I see him and I see a lot of me in him. I know some mom and the dad, but when I see him, I'm like, "Hey, I used to do that," or, "Oh my God. I used to do that. If we were in the States, he could do this or that. He could be better." Sometimes it hurts because I know there's something better for him, but I can't give it.

Anita: What would he be doing if he were in the States?

Olimpya: Well, the schools, they're better. They teach you more things. They actually teach them. That's what I used to like about the States. The activities. Here, it's really hard for a single mom or a mom to take your kids to any activity because the ones that are for free, they're really bad, and whenever you have to pay, it's hard to access even if you don't have to pay that much. The ones that are really good, it's not affordable for middle-class families. So it makes you get mad. Well, it makes me get mad because I'm like, "Hey, he needs to have access to this. He's a really intelligent kid, and I'm not giving him the tools to grow, and to learn, and do everything he's going to be able to." Yeah, it's hard.

Anita: He was born here?

Olimpya: Yeah, yeah. When I came back after, I think five, six years, I had him.

Anita: So, tell me about growing up in the States. What was that like?

Olimpya: Growing up in the USA was awesome. [Laughs]. Yeah, it was the best years of my life. Right now, I can sit down and think about it. I was happy. That was what being happy was: like, having your family, the family that you love there for you, and you being there for them. Everything that we went through, it was awesome. I can say we were poor because my mom, she was a single mom with three kids, she had three jobs. We barely see her, but the times that we were sitting down at the table eating together, it was the best times of our lives or a Sunday, we could go swimming. It was just great. We enjoyed life more than here. You have to work, and work, and work. You're never going to get what you're looking for.

Anita: What kind of jobs did your mom have?

Olimpya: Factories. She used to work in factories in morning and then at afternoon, and then during the night. It was really weird. [Chuckles]. She used to sleep around one hour a day, one or two hours a day, go work and come back. It was really hard for her.

Anita: So, who raised you?

Olimpya: Well, my grandpa and my grandma. We didn't live with them, but they lived next door. So they would check on us. My aunt and uncle, I lived for a really long time with them. Basically, they used to help each other a lot. If my mom wasn't home, they would check on us and if they weren't home, my mom would check on them. They would help a lot.

Anita: How was school?

Olimpya: Great. The best. [Chuckles]. I used to love school there because I remember you—in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon, something like that—will actually learn. I was really bad at math. I know that. [Laughs]. But I remember in middle school, there was a teacher that will give afterschool classes for the ones that needed help. So I would stay. You would see me the whole week there, an hour, two hours, studying, studying, studying, but I will actually learn. I went from an F, [Chuckle] because I was really bad, to a B+ in one month because I was actually learning. I used to play the violin. I used to play basketball. I used to love all those activities that you got in school. I was happy in school. If I would live there, I was happy.

Anita: You were an American kid.

Olimpya: Yeah, I was happy because I would get to do everything I wanted to. If I wanted to play football, I would play football. If I wanted to do this, track days, everything, I could do it because it was there for me. [Chuckles]. I used to like it. I would just get home, eat, finish my homework, and then go to another activity. So I was always busy, always busy, always busy. I don't know. That would keep my mind going. Here, you barely get physical education, so imagine the change. [Chuckles]

Olimpya: [Laughs]. I was a happy kid. No, because even though we were a small family, like my mom, my brothers, my aunt, uncle, cousins, and my grandparents, we were very unite. We used to love to spend time with each other. My aunt, she's like my angel. It's really fun because we were born on the same day.

Anita: What's the day?

Olimpya: In June 29.

Anita: Soon, you're having a birthday?

Olimpya: Yeah. It's our birthday. [Laughs]. So, we were born on the same day, and we didn't know it. We were just like, "Huh." But she used to take care of me a lot. If she would see me doing nothing, she was like, "Oh, come here. I'll teach you something." So she would pull me a lot to everywhere. If it was vacationsand I was at home alone—because my brothers were already old, and they're guys, so they're doing their thing—she would be like, "Hey, come to my house. Stay here for the vacations," and I would go with her. She's a Christian, and they got a lot of activities on vacations like Bible school, this, and that, so I used to love going over there. She started pulling me and pulling me until one day she told my mom, "Hey, she's growing up. She needs to have somebody that takes care of her 24/7. You work a lot. Let her live with us. She's your kid. You can see whenever you want, but let her live with us. We'll give her everything that you can't give her at the moment."

Olimpya: So my mom said, "Yes," and it was the best decision she ever made because my aunt, I was her daughter. I'm still her daughter. We call each other. We talk a lot. She saved my life because I was already starting to go with the girls. I was in sixth grade when I moved in with my aunt. I remember that they were already starting with the girl gangs, and all that stuff, and fighting. I didn't like it because I was like, "Hey, why fight? We can play. We can do something else.” [Chuckles]. But, no, they liked to fight. So they will be fighting and if you wanted to be their friends, you had to do it. I remember one. The first fight I went to, I was standing in the back. [Chuckles]. So they started fighting, and I was like, "I'm just going to leave." Then the police came, so everybody started running. I was like, "Why are you running?" [Chuckles]. I would just sit down, and I was just like, "Okay. Well, I'm not doing anything. I'm just sitting down here." They came. Then they asked me, "What was going on?" I was like, "They started fighting. I was sitting." Since they saw I wasn't scratch or anything, they were like, "Okay. Just go home." I remember that fight because they ripped out an earring. There was a lot of blood. Then somebody bite somebody's eyebrow, and I was like, "What?"

Anita: Bit somebody?

Olimpya: Yeah. I was like, "What? What are you doing?" So it was really scary for me, and I didn't like it, but you have to do it because you want friends. If you don't do it, they're going to do it to you. That's when my aunt came in, and she's like, "Come with." She saved that part of me.

Anita: So, did you find another group of friends?

Olimpya: Well, yeah, when I went to live with my aunt, it was a whole different story because I used to live in ___ California. It's a really Hispanic town.

Anita: Okay.

Olimpya: We used to live there. Then my aunt used to live in ___, California. It's a really nice little town and really American. So, when I got there, I was like, "Hey, I like it here." [Chuckles]. When I got to school, also the kids were different, there weren't gangs, and I was able to choose my friends. My aunt always used to make fun of me because I used to have all types of friends, Americans, Mexicans, Korean, Japanese, everything. You would see me with my friends, and you would like [Chuckles]. Because you see, normally, they separate the Mexicans from everybody else. I would speak with everybody. I wouldn't care.

Olimpya: My aunt would be like, "Why don't you go with the Mexicans or just one group?" I was like, "No, I can learn from everybody. You can learn from everything." I like how African Americans talk, and how they act, and how happy they are. Then you also turn around and look at Americans, and you see how nice and educated they are. They talk about music. They talk about really cool things. Then you go with my Korean friends, and they teach me how to draw. You can learn from their cultures and the way they were raised just by talking to them. That's amazing for me. That's why I used to like.

Anita: Wow.

Olimpya: So I was happy. Then my aunt would be like, "Okay. If you can speak Korean and understand it, it's your problem." [Laughing].

Anita: Did you learn Korean?

Olimpya: No, I couldn't.

Anita: Oh.

Olimpya: I really tried. I tried really hard, but since I was really trying to learn English because first, so I was like, "Okay, it's hard." [Laughs]. But I kind of understand because my friends didn't speak English really well, so we were like, "Uh." We make hand signs so it was fun. [Laughs].

Anita: Did you finish high school?

Olimpya: No.

Anita: What happened?

Olimpya: My first year of high school, I almost finished it, but my mom decided to come back. She said that it was time. I was like, "It's your time, not mine. You can leave." [Laughs]. Yeah, but she said that she didn't want to be there anymore. Since I was underage, so I had to grab my stuff. It was kind of the same way that we came. One day, she was talking on the phone. Then she woke me up and said, "We're leaving."

Anita: So again—

Olimpya: We start all over.

Anita: All over again.

Olimpya: Yes.

Anita: How old were you?

Olimpya: Around fifteen?

Olimpya: Yeah. It was hard because I don't know if it's a lot of years that I lived there or not, but I had a life. I had friends. I had family. I had school. My life was there. I didn't know anything about here in Mexico. I know I was born here, and it's my country, and it has nice things, but, hey, it's not my house.

Anita: Did you have dreams of what you were going to do? What were they?

Olimpya: I wanted to go in the army.

Anita: In what?

Olimpya: Army.

Anita: You wanted to join the army?

Olimpya: Yeah, that was my path.

Anita: Why?

Olimpya: I wanted to serve the country that has given me a lot, the best thing that I lived. I just wanted to do it [Softly]. I thought it was a nice way to thank for everything that happened to me while I was there, for the protection because I was protected. Because I know people are scared of the police because we are undocumented and everything, but every time I saw a police, I was like, "Hey, thank you. You're taking care of me." [Laughing]. And the firefighters, I was like, "Hey, you're the best." Every time I saw somebody dressed in the army uniform, I was like, "Damn. I want to be them. Just want to look like that. I want to do that." That was my biggest dream.

Anita: But you were undocumented. How did that feel?

Olimpya: Being undocumented? I didn't think about it. I never thought about it. I was just living my life, being happy. [Chuckles]. I don't know if I was too small and I didn't see more than my little world, that it was going to be hard for me to join the army or it was going to be hard to me going to college, I was just live in the moment. I never thought—nobody asked me about my papers, none of my friends, family, nobody. I was just there being me in America. [Laughs].

Anita: So, you had to come back.

Olimpya: Yeah.

Anita: What's it been like?

Olimpya: Hard.

Anita: Tell me a little bit about that.

Olimpya: [Chuckle]. It has been since day one. I remember I used to live in California. You know California has the best sun ever. [Laughs]. I used to live in the pool. After school, pool. I remember I got really dark. When I came back, it was around summertime, so I was really dark. I got here, I got out of the airplane, I saw my dad and my two sisters. When they saw me, the first thing they said was, "Hey, you're dark." I was like, "Yeah. Hello. [Laughing]. What's the problem?" They're like, "No, we need to buy some creams to lighten your skin and we need to..." I was like, "Hey, I like my skin. I'm bronzed. I'm from California. What are you talking about? I'm brown. I'm Mexican. What are you expecting? [Laughing]." So, it kind of hurt. At the beginning, when they said it, I start joking about it, but inside of me, I knew it hurt because nobody in the United States, nobody said something about my skin color before—

Anita: Wow.

Olimpya: ... or about anything about myself. Nothing. If I was short, they would be like, "Hey, you're really cute. You're really short." They would compliment the way I am. And here, it was the opposite. They would be like, "Hey, you're really short. Hey, you're brown. Hey, you're... I don't know. I don't like you." They would be like that, and it was starting from my family, so it hurt. I was like, "How come in a country where I'm not like them, they wouldn't say nothing about me? And here, they're attacking me?" You know? So that was the first hit. I didn't want to come at all. I was like, "Hey, mom. You go back and you let my aunt and uncle... They'll adopt me. They'll give me the papers, and I'll go visit you." That was the easiest way for me, but she said, "No, you got to come back with me because if you don't come with me, they're not going to accept me back in Mexico." Like my dad, at the house.

Anita: Oh, but didn't your dad have another family?

Olimpya: It's really weird. [Chuckles]. I was like, "Hey, but I don't want to go back with you." So she made me come back. Once I get here, I see my family. They do that to me, and I was like, "Ugh." So I started getting mad inside. I didn't like anything. When I got home, I was like, "Hey, this thing is really small," because, in the States, house are really big. And here in Mexico, they're really small apartments. I was, "Hey, where am I going to live? I need my space." So I started being really rude. I started being a bad girl.

Olimpya: Then they said, "Okay. You need to study. You're going back to school." I was like, "Okay. At least, I get to have more friends, right?" Once I go to school, they signed me up, I was like, "Mom, you're not going to leave me here. They're going to do something to me. They're going to kill me. They can kill me or violate me. This is not a school." It was a really, really, really bad school. If you look at a jail in a school, that was my school. [Chuckles]. They didn't have windows like this. I don't know. It was bad. The principal, for some reason, she said that I came to Mexico as an exchange to study. So they thought I was an American girl like tall, blond, blue-eyed girl, and that wasn't me. [Chuckles]. Once they present me at school like that, and once they saw me, they were like, "You don't come from the States." Like, "Well, I do. I wasn't born there, but I do come from the States. I basically come from there." Like, "No, you don't. You're just a Oaxaqueña." Start calling me names again, "You're brown. You're short. You're skinny."

Olimpya: I don't need to be like another person to come from the States. You need to understand that. Thousands of people go to States to have a better life, and then they need to come back. Why are you being so rude if they don't treat us like that? If I'm at my home country, why you being so rude? They start calling me really bad nicknames. They'll start stealing my stuff, my backpack, my books, everything. I would go to the bathroom, come back, and I wouldn't find my notebooks. I was like, "Okay. Just give it back." Then since they noticed I wouldn't respond to that, they would start getting aggressive, getting in front of me, calling me names, saying bad words and stuff. I would just turn around and leave. Since I wouldn't respond to that, they would start getting physical. They would pass by and push me or punch me or do something. Once I got mad because I was sitting down studying, they came and pulled my chair from the back. I fell off, and this girl started punching me. So I was like, "Hey, I need to protect myself now." So I did, and I got expelled because of that.

Anita: So how did you protect yourself?

Olimpya: I hit her back. [Chuckles].

Anita: So, what you watched on the streets, the gangs, you took on the—

Olimpya: I basically... And I was mad.

Anita: You didn't do it in the States, but you did it in Mexico.

Olimpya: I was really mad because I had so much things on me on that moment, and it was so hard that I was like, "Oi. Fuck it. I'm just going to go and do what I have to do. I'm not going to let them hit me." So I hit them back. She got really bad because I hit her really bad. Since I didn't have stitches or anything, I was the one that got suspended and they didn't do anything to her. I was like, "I was just defending myself." It was like, "I don't care. You did this." "I did it, but why? You need to look at the background. Why did this happen? They're calling me names every single day. They're doing this. They're ripping my books. They're hitting me. They're pushing me. They can't do that to somebody and expect to just stay there." They didn't care. The principal was like, "No, you're suspended. You're leaving."

Anita: What happened?

Olimpya: I spent a week at home. My mom was really mad at me because she said I was taking everything in a really bad attitude, that it was just an attitude problem because I wanted to go back, but it was impossible. I was like, "It's not that. It's just that you don't take me in consideration. You don't see what's going on in my life. You're not looking at everything. This is not a place for me. If I was saved once by my aunt that keep me from everything that's going on right now with me, I shouldn't be going through this. She did so much for me, so I didn't have to go through this. And look at me where I am. The school is horrible. It's a jail." I can show you. Well, right now, it's not that bad because they fix it up, but when I was there, it was horrible. [Chuckling].

Anita: Was that here in Mexico City?

Olimpya: Yeah. Every time I pass that because I live really close, and every time I pass by the school, I get really mad. I still have problems with that because it's like... It gets me really mad. I was an excellent student in California and here, when I got here, I barely passed the year. It would get me frustrated because I was like, "Hey, I already saw this back in the States. This was third-grade things." I'm like, "Come on," but I couldn't remember. I couldn't do it even though I knew I could, and I knew it. It was really frustrating for me. I was just—

Anita: How many years ago was this? How old are you now?

Olimpya: I'm twenty-six.

Anita: So, you came back when you were fifteen?

Olimpya: Yeah, around eleven years, yeah.

Anita: Wow. How come your English is still so good?

Olimpya: [Laughs]. I practice a lot. I used to work in call centers.

Anita: Yeah, but still.

Olimpya: Yeah. [Laughs]. Then I talk to my aunt, my uncle, my cousins, my brother, and—

Anita: You talk to them in English?

Olimpya: Yeah. Yeah, we try to keep it in English, so I can still practice. When I used to work, it was everything in English. So I try to practice a lot.

Anita: Did anything get any better?

Olimpya: I think I changed my attitude a little bit. I said, "Okay. If I'm going to stay here, I'm going to do everything so when I'm older, I can leave this place." [Chuckles]. That was what I was always thinking about. After I finished middle school, I went onto high school. I was studying tourism. It was really cool, but then I got some friends that weren't really nice. [Chuckles]. So, I remember that's when I met alcohol. The school was really open. They wouldn't check on your backpacks. They wouldn't check on you like, "It's your responsibility to come to school, stay in school, and do your work. It's not ours. It's yours." Basically, what we used to do in the mornings, we had to be at school at 5:00 AM because we used to cook in the morning. Then around 7:00—we had, 7:00 to 8:00, a break. So we would call breakfast, but most of the time, when we would go breakfast, we would buy beers or stuff like that, and put it in cups and stuff. We would go back to school and be drinking during classes. So by 12:00, we were drunk. [Chuckles]. We wouldn't do anything. We would just be, "Yeah, yeah." Trying to study, but not doing nothing at all.

Olimpya: By the time we would leave the school, we would go eat and get drunk again. Basically, that year, I was really drunk the whole time. My mom, she noticed that, what was going on. She said, "No, I'm taking you out of that school. It's too expensive and you're not doing anything. You already flunk every single class." I was like, "Okay, no. Cooking class is good." She would get mad at me, really mad. She's like, "No, you're going to another school, not so expensive, so you can value what you have. Come on." So she signed me up in another school. It was less money where she used to pay. The kids were other level. It wasn't beer. It was tequila. It was everything you can find. [Chuckles].

Anita: It was, yeah.

Olimpya: But then, I met this guy who is my baby's dad. He was from the best kids there were because you could find worse. He would be like, "No, go in your classes. Be good. You're a lady. Don't do this. Don't do that." So I was like, "Hey, he's protecting me." I found somebody to protect me, to look after me. So I started listening to him, and I tried to finish school, but then I got really sick. I had a weird sickness in my blood, and I couldn't go to school no more.

Anita: What sickness did you have?

Olimpya: I don't know what it's called in English. It's Trombocitopénica Púrpura-

Anita: Thrombosis—thrombosis of something, yeah.

Olimpya: Yeah. My blood is like water. Be like water. Then if you touch me like that, even if you go like that, you will see a big... I don't know how you say moretón. Bruise?

Anita: Bruise.

Olimpya: Yeah. I will get a really big bruise even if you go like that. So I had to stay in bed for a really long time, and I got medicated. I couldn't go to school. I lost a year. Then I tried to go back, and then I got pregnant. I was like, "Okay. This is not for me."

Anita: How old were you when you got pregnant?

Olimpya: Nineteen. Yeah, nineteen. Then I got pregnant. I was like, "Okay. I'm just going to take care of my son, my family. I just want to have a family like my aunt's family in the US." That's what I wanted. I started working on that. I was really happy at that moment. I was pregnant. I was going to have my kid. I had my husband. He loved me. Everything was perfect, but then, this president with his political things came with the reforma energetica.

Anita: Yeah, the energy reform.

Olimpya: And screw everything up for his family and for everything. So—

Anita: What do you mean? Why did the energy reform—

Olimpya: This reform, whenever they change presidents, everything in Mexico is stopped for a really long time, about a year. My boyfriend's family, at that time, used to sell... How do you say tubos?

Anita: The tubes.

Olimpya: Tubes for Pemex, the ones they use to transport everything.

Anita: Petrols, yeah.

Olimpya: They used to sell those big tubes to them. So once the person came, they stopped everything. They were fine because they knew what's going to happen, but then he said, "Reforma energetica." They stopped it for a really long time more. So they didn't have the money. They weren't working no more. They didn't have enough money to survive to that. So until the time right now, they haven't sell anything to Pemex. Pemex is not buying nothing. That's already what? Six, seven years ago.

Anita: So which president are we talking about?

Olimpya: Peña Nieto.

Anita: Okay.

Olimpya: So this guy comes in, screws everything up for everybody because we're not the only family. We know families that they were millionaires. And right now, they don't have a peso. So problems come out on our side. We don't have money. We have to go live with his parents, and his mom is not the best person ever. She's a really Mexican woman like, "You have to do this, this, this." [Chuckles]. I'm like, "I'm pregnant. How can I explain to you?" Because I got pregnant again. After two years, I got pregnant. She would be like, "Hey, take that clothes upstairs to hang because I can't, my knees hurt.” And I was like, “I'm pregnant. I can't carry and go up five levels of stairs. I can't." So she would make me do it because I was living at her house. I had to clean, cook, do everything for everybody since I was living at their house, and she wouldn't do anything. Then on top of that, when I used to feel bad like headaches or something like that, she would be like, "Hey, no. Wake up. Get up. You need to do this." Like that. I don't know if I was weak, [Chuckle] if I'm a weak woman or not, or it was too much what I had to do in that stage, but I ended up losing my baby. I lost my kidney. I lost both of my kidneys.

Olimpya: I lost my kidneys and so I was sick. I've just been trying to survive. I don't know if I learned or I just decided not to do more than I have to, to survive because whenever you try to do the best you can, people don't think the same way as you. My baby's dad don't think the same way as me. I don't know if he doesn't want the family that I want or worse. We don't have the same culture. When I started working, he used to get really mad. He used to get really jealous. He would be like, "Hey, no. Don't talk to this person. Don't talk to this person. No, you can't do that." Then I got ascended, ascent? Promotion.

Anita: Promoted.

Olimpya: Promoted. I got promoted at my job, and he got really mad. He was like, "Why? It's more..." I was like, "It's less time. It's more money, less time. Think about it." He was mad.

Anita: So, are you still together?

Olimpya: No. Well, kind of. [Chuckles]. We used to fight a lot. His mom, even though I was working and giving all my money to our home… So we used to fight a lot because, even though I was working the whole day, I had to come back home, cook, clean, and do everything that a Mexican wife should do. Cook, clean, look after the kid, everything. They would say I would do nothing. I was sick, and I had to do everything. They didn't work. They didn't do clean. They wouldn't do anything. They would be attacking me all the time. His parents, him against me. So I just let it happen. I was just like, "Oh." Just do what I have to do for my kid.

Anita: So, do you ever think of going back to the States?

Olimpya: Every single day of my life, I think of going back to the States.

Anita: Do you think you might?

Olimpya: Yes. There's more time than life. That's something I want. I just want, even if it's for a day, just go back, step to United States, look around, and remember everything that happened to me there. I'll be happy. I'll be happy because I miss my house. I miss my family. [Emotional]. Even though I got most of my family here, it's not the same. They don't care about you. When I needed my kidney transplant, because I need one, and my mom told my family that if anybody wanted to donate, nobody answered. Nobody said, "Hey, I can't, but I'll pray for you." Nobody. They just changed the topic. When I told my family in the States that I needed a kidney, my smallest cousin, he's around eighteen, he said, "Hey, I'll give it to you" right away. It makes me feel like I don't need to see you every day to be family. You're not my family. My family is in the States. They are my family. They love me. They care about me.

Anita: So, you'd like to go back and live there? Would you still join the army?

Olimpya: I can't. [Chuckles]. If I could, yes. If I could, I would do it with the eyes closed. I'd be like, "Hey, I'll decide. I'll sell my life. I don't care." If that's going to give my son a better life, I would.

Anita: Do you tell your son about the U.S.?

Olimpya: A lot. He wants to live there too because we go to the parks here. There's only one park that we like here in Mexico City. It's really close our house because the other ones are really bad. They don't have grass. It's like, "You know what grass is, right?" He's like, "Yeah, I want to see grass, Mommy. I want to see grass." [Laughing]. I'm like, "Okay. Let's go find a park with grass," because they don't have grass. The playground is destroyed. It's bad.


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