Isabel Canning


June 10, 2019

Mexico City, Mexico

Identity-Mexican, American, and Indigenous

1 of 5


*To hear more about Zayuri listen to the playlist above

Isabel: So, just to start, do you mind telling me just the background, how old you were, kind of like your early memories in the US, that kind of thing?

Zayuri: Okay. I was around 12 years old when we got there. I remember that I was excited because my dad told us that we were going to be better there, that we were going to have more stability and things like that, you know, the usual stuff that they tell you. I got here almost three years ago when I was around 17, 18. It was really hard because I didn't understand what was happening, not fully. I knew that it was because it was better for the family, but I did get very angry at the beginning, but—

Isabel: When you went to the US or when you came back?

Zayuri: When I came back, I was really angry because I was like 17. So, it was a couple of good years, like five years.

Isabel: Can you tell me about those five years, some of your favorite memories, and then maybe some of your kind of challenges while you were in the US?

Zayuri: Well, my favorite part was obviously the school and everything. I had a really good job babysitting for a family, and that was really fun.

Isabel: How old were the kids you babysat?

Zayuri: There was a girl. She was around four years old. And there was the boy. He was around eight or something like that? But they were really calm, and they were chiller than my brothers. Sometimes I was like, "You guys need me to babysit?" "No, we're okay right now." "Are you guys sure? Because I could go there. I know that I'm like 40 minutes away from you, but I could go. Really. You just hit me up if you need more." And 10 minutes later, "Are you sure that you don't need me today?" [Loud voice]. Because my brothers, they're not annoying, but they're very loud, especially when they're together. So, I was like, "Yeah, I need to get away from here."

Isabel: Are they older or younger?

Zayuri: No, they're younger than me. I'm the first one born, 20 years old now, and the next one is 17, and the youngest one, he's 10. So, they're significantly younger than me.

Isabel: Yeah. Are you just more mellow, like you like things to be calm, or?

Zayuri: Yeah. I don't tolerate noise that much. It really sets me up in a very mad mood. So, I don't like it.

Isabel: Yeah. So, then you're like, "Really? Are you sure that you don't need me?"

Zayuri: I could literally go right now. I have my backpack with me. Yeah, because being with them will mean a chill afternoon. I just have to read for them or help them out with their homework, maybe do some cleaning, make the dinner, and that was it.

Isabel: That's nice.

Zayuri: I will even nap with them because it was that chill. It was fun.

Isabel: Did you like the kids?

Zayuri: Yeah, I really like kids.

Isabel: I love hanging out with kids too. You kind of get a break from all the dynamics of the older people.

Zayuri: Yeah, all the adulting and stuff. [Laughs].

Isabel: I know.

Zayuri: No, it's just not nice, right?

Isabel: No. I just want to make a pillow fort. Leave me alone.

Zayuri: Yeah. It's just better for me, for my mental health in general because I also have anxiety. So, the noise really triggers me out, and I get headaches and stuff. I was like, "Yep, got to get out of here."

Isabel: Yeah. You mentioned that you liked school.

Zayuri: Yeah, I have always been a huge nerd. [Laughs].

Isabel: I'm the same way.

Zayuri: No, I really enjoy it. For example, nowadays, my brothers, they have better opportunities than what I had. For example, the things that I know about languages and music is because I looked for my way and because we were there. But growing up, my father always told me that we couldn't afford classes, and we couldn't afford to go to different schools and special schools for that. Now they're having it. Now that my brothers are here in Mexico, my father—well, my mom—because they separated. Now she's taking them to the languages school, and she's taking them to music classes and all of that. To be honest, I'm not jealous. I'm not like, "Why do they have that and I didn't?" I'm really happy for them. I understand that they are just getting better.

Isabel: Yeah. I'm sure it's kind of difficult sometimes of you also wanted those opportunities.

Zayuri: Yeah.

Isabel: Can you tell me a bit about what you did like to do in the US, even though you didn't have those opportunities? Do you have any other passions?

Zayuri: What I didn't like to do?

Isabel: No, what you did like, any subjects or activities or music, anything like that.

Zayuri: Well, languages I always liked, and art class. Yeah. Music and painting mainly. I'm such a stereotype. [Laughs].

Isabel: Of what?

Zayuri: I'm really a stereotype because I also like things like math and all of that. But I wasn't even that good. I like it because I saw it as a challenge for myself, but I wasn't even that good.

Isabel: Yeah, but that natural curiosity is still pretty unique. Like, oh my god, I'm not great at math, but I really love school and I want to do well. It would always make me so upset when somebody was naturally just really good at math and didn't care, didn't like it.

Zayuri: Yeah. And what is motivating to become better is because right now I only speak good English and Spanish. That's it. Now, I've been trying to learn German for like a year and a half, but on my own completely, just me and the Duolingo and that's it. [Laughs]. But it hasn't been that good. One time I was in Zacatecas and I saw a girl, and she was German—I don't remember how I figured out that she was German.

Zayuri: Oh, yeah, yeah. Now I remember. She got in the bus, and the buses in Zacatecas have these sensors that, every time you step in, they make a noise. You have to get away from the line because they start to charge more. It's like every person gets a beep, and that's one ticket. So, if you stand there and it beeps twice, you have to pay twice. She wasn't getting away from there and the bus driver got angry. She didn't understood why the driver was angry, so I will say to you, "You need to get out of the line." She was like, "Okay."

Isabel: Did you say it in German?

Zayuri: No, I said it in Spanish. She was like, "Okay," and she sat next to me. She had this beautiful skirt, and I just said, "Oh, your skirt is so nice. Where did you bought it?" She was like, "In Ireland," or something like that. I said, "Oh, are you from Ireland?" She was like, "No, I'm from Germany." I was like, "This is my time to shine! Where are my five lessons from Duolingo? This is what I've worked for. Say something nice." I was like, "Okay, I know how to say your skirt is nice in German." I was like, "Okay." I was like, "Yeah, I'm going to say it. I'm going to say it." By the time I got the courage, she got off the bus.

Isabel: No!

Zayuri: Yeah, that was my chance to make a friend. I'm really shy. It really causes me to not talk to people. It's really hard for me to do that. I still have nightmares with that. I was like, "I could have made a good friend, and I just let it pass."

Isabel: Yeah, you've got to seize those moments. But that's kind of what's cool about knowing different languages is you can connect with different people, so that's awesome. You mentioned you were kind of shy. Were you also shy when you were in the US?

Zayuri: Yeah.

Isabel: Did you have friends? Did you make friends or more of a loner?

Zayuri: Not that many. I have never made that many friends. And most of my friends were people I will say that related to me—in a sense that they were also Latin or Black. We didn't get that many white friends. [Laughs]. Yeah. Not really.

Isabel: Why do you think that is?

Zayuri: They were not used to us. For example, I remember a girl that she got really angry when she find out that I was speaking Spanish with another girl. She was like really annoyed by that, and I was like, "Why do—"

Isabel: Just for the audio, that was a perfectly executed stank eye that you can't pick up.

Zayuri: [Laughs]. I was like, "Why does that upset you that much? We're not even talking about you, Cynthia. Why do you take it personal?" [Emphasis]. She was like really mad about it. I remember that once she told the principal that we were molesting her in the sense that we were annoying. "She's so annoying. She's constantly talking about all the other girls." I was like, "We don't even mention their names. How did you figure out that?" It was really confusing for me. Why do you think that we're speaking about you when we don't even mention your name? And I never confronted her, to be honest, because I am not that kind of people. I know that I should have confronted her and be like, "What is your problem with me? Can we make something about it?" but it was too much for me. One day she will get tired of it. She didn't.

Isabel: Can you tell me a bit about just what led to returning to Mexico? Was it a family decision, or what happened?

Zayuri: Yeah. A friend of mine got deported, and my father got scared of it—I was about to turn 18, I was like one step away from my birthday. He said, "I think it's about time for you to go to Mexico." I was like, "Why? Why me? What did I make this time? I've been a good kid." I saw it as a punishment. I was like, "Why did I did wrong? Why do you think that I have to leave?"

Isabel: Was your entire family undocumented at this point?

Zayuri: Yeah.

Isabel: Sorry, I should have asked this earlier, but did you then cross the border together?

Zayuri: [Affirmative sound].

Isabel: Okay. So, then you were living without the papers and everything?

Zayuri: [Affirmative sound].

Isabel: Did you know that when you went at 12 years old?

Zayuri: No, I didn't. My father always told me that we had to be very discreet, keep things private. “If they ask you, you were born here. Don't mention things about the family and all of that stuff.” He almost made it look like, "Don't say you're Mexican. Just say you're really tan." That's it. [Laughs]. If they ask you, you're really tan. That's it. I was like, "Okay. I'll try my best. I think it's pretty obvious that we're not here, but I'll try."

Isabel: Did that make you really anxious or anything?

Zayuri: Self-conscious.

Isabel: Self-conscious.

Zayuri: I was like, "Oh my god.” Especially because my mom, she's an indigenous woman. My father, he could white pass very easily, but my mom, no. She was really distant from talking about that. For example, now that I live here and I say that, "Oh, my mom is an indigenous woman," she's like, "Oh, can you spoke a tongue or something like that? Can you spoke another language?" I'm like, "No." "Why not?" She didn't really like to mention it. It wasn't something that she brought up to people.

Isabel: Why do you think that's—

Zayuri: She told me that she wanted to keep us safe, and that was the reason. But nowadays she's trying to reconnect with her family and everything, but it's still quite hard because the family that did stay here, they're like, "Oh, you guys are so agringados. You think you're better than us." I'm like, "No, really."

Isabel: Yeah. Yeah, that's also kind of some rhetoric we hear is, when someone spends time in the United States, then everyone assumes, oh, because you lived in the US for a while, you think you're better or you have more money or all these ideas may not even be true.

Zayuri: No, it's not even true. So, my father told me, "You're about to turn 18. You go to Mexico." I was talking about going to college, and he said, "Oh, hell no! You're not getting to college in here." I was like, "Well, why not?" He was like, "Have you ever heard of a student loans?" I was like, "I think I have seen memes about it. That's about it." But I couldn't understand. Still, right now, it's a very abstract concept to me. How can you debt that much money by going to the school? How is going to college that expensive? That's crazy expensive.

Isabel: No, I know.

Zayuri: It's just way too scary for me. He said, "We can't afford to pay college here. If you want to go to university, it's going to be in Mexico, and choose a state where you have family because you are going to live with them." So, I went to Zacatecas, and I got into college. I didn't even last a semester. I drop out. It was just too much. It was horrible.

Isabel: What was difficult?

Zayuri: Everything. I mean, being away from your family and having to—I mean, they helped me out, or at least that's what my father said, but I still had to pay a part of the rent and food services and everything and having to work and going to a college at the same time. Also, especially in Zacatecas, the salaries, the wages, are so low. It was depressing.

Isabel: Yeah, absolutely. So, looking back on it, you said you felt like you were being punished. Did you know of the DACA program? Was that available yet or anything like that?

Zayuri: No.

Isabel: No?

Zayuri: No. When they mentioned… Isabel, was that her name?

Isabel: Anita. Yeah.

Zayuri: Anita. She mentioned the DREAMers program. I think I brought it up once with my dad, but he was like, "No. We have to keep things private.” He was just private, and he didn't even want to try to get the papers for us. He said that, "No, we're just going to get a spotlight on us, and that is going to be dangerous," and all of that.

Isabel: Yeah, kind of just sounds like so worried about kind of being deported or being detected that there wasn't really any opportunities that you were able to take.

Zayuri: Yeah.

Isabel: So, when you returned to Mexico and you had to adjust to even just the air quality and everything, did you feel like, "Okay, well I'm returning to a country I know," or did you feel like it's been so much time in the US that this was just completely new to you?

Zayuri: It wasn't completely new, but I did have to get used to it. It was quite traumatic at the beginning, because I was like, "Why is this place like this?” [Fake cries]. Even in the parts where I was living because my family doesn't have that much money, so it was a very not nice part. I don't know how to describe. So, it was really dangerous. And having to get used to like, "Oh, you can’t go to play basketball at 10:00 PM because there's cholos right there, and they might rob you or something like that." So, I was like, "Okay. Now what? What do we do?" You just stay in the house, but outside's too much, just way too dangerous.

Zayuri: Yeah, it was really annoying, because, for example, a couple of months ago, like two months ago, I got robbed here. That whole day was such a bad day for me. I don't remember much; I just remember the downhill of it. I went to a cineteca, and I had two phones by this time. I will say that one was mostly for work, it was very simple, it didn't even have a nice camera or anything. That phone had been in the family for like four years. It was first the phone of one of my uncles. Then he gave it to my grandma, and my grandma gave it to me. And it was still working. It had a couple of malfunctions, but it was working. That was my phone.

Zayuri: Then I had a nice one that I bought with my savings because of the camera, because I wanted to take pictures and everything. On that day, I went to the cineteca, I went to the bathroom, and I dropped the one that was for my work and everything. I dropped it, and the screen just turned black. I was like, "Okay, this is not good." It did turn off. It did turn on, and I can hear it, but I didn't saw anything at all. I was like, "Okay." So, I was like, "It's not a big deal. I still have the nice one. I could just live with just one. That will be okay." I was trying to not pay that much attention to that.

Zayuri: So, I was walking around, trying to get a couple of pictures. It wasn't even that late at night. It was like 9:00. There was still a couple of just people walking around because it was in [inaudible]. I was like, "Yeah, this is okay." I was trying to be calm because I still had the thing for the phone. I was like, "Yeah, it's not that bad. I still have this one." Then I got robbed. They took that phone—

Isabel: In the same day?

Zayuri: Yeah. They took that phone away, and they took my money. Then I saw a couple of police officers, and I told them—because he wasn't even running, the person who took my stuff. He was walking. I was like, "Yeah, he just robbed me. Could you do something about it?" And they didn't believe me because I had the other phone. So, they thought that I was trying to scam him. They were like, "Yeah? He took your phone? And why do you have one right there?" And I was like, "I can prove that they're both mine. I can unlock that one, and I can show you the pictures on it, whatever you ask me." They told me that they couldn't—how do you call that?

Isabel: Pat down or legally search?

Zayuri: They couldn't do that. I was like, "Yes, you can. I'm pretty sure that you can do that." It was like, "No, there's no witnesses. We can't do anything about it." I was like, "Okay. I think I'm going to leave right now." I didn't have any money with me, and my Uber with my credit card was on that phone. I was like, "I don't know how am I going to get to my house," and I was really, really far away from my house. I was like, "Okay, can you guys take me there?" I said that to the police officers. They were like, "No. We don't go that far. We just have to stay in our area." I was like, "So, what do I do now?" They were like, "Take a taxi." I was like, "Okay."

Zayuri: I remember that I was so depressed because when I saw the police officers, I was like, "Yes! I'm going to get my things again!" I didn't even care if he went to jail or anything. I just really wanted my stuff, and I told them right there, “I don't care if he goes to court or if anything. I just want my stuff back. That's it. I'm not even going to press charge. I just really want my stuff. I need it. That's my phone, and that is my nice phone.”

Isabel: You bought with your own money.

Zayuri: The other one is broke. They didn't care. I remember I just got to the house, and I said to my roommate... She was like, "What happened? You look so sad." I was like, "Yeah, I didn't have a nice day. We'll talk about it in the morning." I just went to sleep. And in the morning, I was crying with her, and she was like, "What happened?" I was like, “I don’t know where to start” [Mimics crying]. That was really traumatizing in the beginning.

Isabel: Yeah. Kind of zooming out a big, larger reflection question, if you were in the US, what do you think you'd be doing, or what would you like to be doing?

Zayuri: College. Probably going to college. I was just studying chemistry here in Mexico, but I didn't really even like it that much, and then I was thinking about something related to environmental science.

Isabel: Yeah. That'd be really cool. Would you think more ocean, or would you go more forest? Does it really matter?

Zayuri: Maybe ocean. Probably ocean.

Isabel: Yeah. There's some really cool stuff. Since you're now in Mexico, what do you think you hope to do? Do you hope to return to the U.S.? Do you want to continue your studies here? What do you see for yourself?

Zayuri: I don't want to say that I gave up, but I did thought, "Okay, I'm just going to work and try to get into college here, do college here, and then try to get there," because it was a struggle even to pay the college in here in pesos. So, I can't imagine having to pay a loan to pay the college in the United States. I was thinking of that, just finishing college in here and trying to go legally back there.

Isabel: Yeah. Why do you want to go back?

Zayuri: I think it will be better. I think I will find a better job. It seems more realistic to me.

Isabel: Do you feel like you connect more with people in the U.S. or in Mexico, or is it just different?

Zayuri: It's different definitely.

Zayuri: Yeah. The memes that are funny in Spanish is so hard to translate to other people. For example, my roommate, she speaks English and Spanish, but she's completely from here. She has never lived in another country. She has visited other countries, but she just has lived here. Sometimes I'm laughing at a meme from the United States or even worse ones, the German ones, are so hard to me to translate, because I'm trying to, “Okay, you see this picture right here? Let me put you in context.” Then there's like a 30 minute rant trying to explain the context. And that's why it's funny. “You get it?” “No.” I try. That's it.

Isabel: Okay.

Zayuri: I get it.

Isabel: Do you consider yourself more Mexican or American, the United States American, I guess?

Zayuri: That's a hard one. It's quite hard because if you ask people, they're not even going to... I have asked my cousin, "What do you think of me? Do you think I sound more American or you think I sound more Mexican? What do you think?" They were like, "I don't know. You just sound weird." I was like, "That's another point to my self-esteem. Thank you." Oh god, that is hard. I'll say I'm more Mexican, I guess.

Isabel: Why do you think that is?

Zayuri: For example, I try to see more things in Spanish, and I try to be more connected to the culture and everything. Even in the United States, we celebrated all the days. We put up an altar on Dia de los Muertos [All Souls Day] and everything. My father was like, "This is who we are, and this is what we're going to say."

Isabel: You said your mom is starting to kind of reconnect with her own heritage. Do you feel connected with that at all, or have you tried to, or is that mostly your mother?

Zayuri: I try to, but we see it from very different perspectives. For example, I took it in a very aesthetic way. That's why I stretch my ears, and I've got a couple of my piercings. And I have told my mom this, “This is what was beautiful to us. This is what beauty was to us before all the colonizing that we had. This is what meant beautiful for us.” She's like, "Yeah, that's too much.” She will wear the traditional clothes, but she will look at my body modifications, and she will be like, "Yeah, that's a little bit too much. Yeah, we get it, but that's it." Yeah, she doesn't like them.

Isabel: When did you decide to get into kind of piercings, or you stretched your ear, kind of like connect with that part? Do you mind going into that a bit?

Zayuri: I was 16. I was 16, and I remember a guy in my class. He made a commentary. I think it was about another girl that had been growing her natural hair, and he was like, "I don't think that that's even hygienic." And I was like—because by that time, I was wearing dreads—"What do you mean by that?" He was like, "I don't know. They just look dirty." I was like, "I have been closer to her, and I have been close to you, and I think she smells nicer than you. So, what's the deal with that?" He couldn't even explain why he thought that that was dirty or that was unhygienic. I was like, "Yeah."

Zayuri: Now, I remember I told my mom—because she used to braid my hair—"Why you don't do it anymore?" She was like, "Oh, you just don't sit still." I was like, "I can sit still, but why don't you do it anymore?" She was trying to make these excuses: “I don't have time for it, and I don't like it.” Then she said, "I don't think that you're going to look professional," and that was what stuck to me because I was just struggling to get a job by that time. I was like, "What do you mean professionally?" She was like, "People here don't get it. You're not going to look right for them." I was like, "What is right?” Because right now it's all dead, but it can be very curly. I was like, "What do you mean?" Because she was constantly pressuring me to get a perm or to constantly straighten it up. I was like, "You know that that's even damaging for me. I don't even like to do it. I understand if other people enjoy it, but I don't." She was like, "It's just what's better for you."

Isabel: Wow.

Zayuri: Then it went downhill crazy, and I was like, "You know what? People don't like my hair? Well, they're not going to like my piercings. They are not going to like my ears. They are not going to like my tattoos and everything." Yeah.

Isabel: Do you like that you have them now? Is it something you're proud of?

Zayuri: Yeah.

Isabel: Are there days where you're like, "Eh?”

Zayuri: No, yeah, I do like them. For example, it has been difficult to find a job because of it, because of people that are like, "You don't look professional. I don't think that that's a nice thing to do." I work here in a college, in a private school, and the principal, she was horrible to me. She was like, "You need to cover your ears." She didn't even allow me to put my hair up, even if the weather was too hot.

Isabel: Yeah, you're sweaty and stuff.

Zayuri: She was like, "No. You are keeping your hair down, because you cannot show your ears." I was like, "Okay." And the same thing for my tattoos too. She was like, "You need to cover them up because they're not professional." I was like, "It's like 40 degrees outside. It's really hot in here," especially because the classrooms are sometimes so tiny that it gets so hot in there. I was like, "You see, I'm not even trying to fight with you anymore. I'm going to die of a heat stroke if you don't allow me to take my jacket off." But she was very rude about that.

Isabel: So, were you a teacher then for her, or what did you do?

Zayuri: No, I was a teacher in her school.

Isabel: Oh, cool. Are you currently?

Zayuri: No.

Isabel: Oh, you're not? No.

Zayuri: No. It was way too much. She even made me cry about it.

Isabel: What are you doing now?

Zayuri: I'm looking for a job right now.

Isabel: I'm curious. I'm looking at your tattoos. They're really beautiful.

Zayuri: Thank you.

Isabel: Do you mind telling me a bit about them or when you got them?

Zayuri: Okay. This one was the first one. To be honest with you—I don't regret the piercings, and I don't regret the tattoos that much—I do wish that I had taken better of them, because I scratched them, and I did lots of things that you're not supposed to do with tattoos. So, the ink just blowed up. Yeah, I got this for a very important person of mine. She's my ... What do you call it? Step-sister? She's the daughter of my father, but she's not the daughter of my mom.

Isabel: Yeah. Step-sister works or half-sister, that thing.

Zayuri: Yeah. She's still in the United States. She's trying to get here. I met her two years ago. Her name is Rosalind. She did help me out a lot of times, but I didn't want to go her name. I just don't like to get names on me. So, I was like, "Yep, I'm going to get a rose," because I have a great imagination, and that's all that I could come up with." Then I got this for a song, and this is just right here. I am going to get this one covered up because I really hate it.

Isabel: Oh really?

Zayuri: It's very poorly done. This is my mom.

Isabel: Oh, wow.

Zayuri: They just changed the eye color because he didn't listen to me. I gave him the photo, and he was like, "You know what? We should put her with yellow eyes. That will really bring out the color." I was like, "No. I think we should stick to the colors on the picture." But he didn't listen to me.

Isabel: Yeah. So, you're going to have to change that. That's interesting that he didn't listen to you.

Zayuri: Yeah. This one is actually quite funny to explain because my father, he has Lupita written out on his arm in this gaudy Cholo letters. My father, he also has tattoos, but they're like the green type you see, the kinds of ones that you see on people who just got out of prison. I have asked him, "Have you ever been to prison?" And he's like, "No." I was like, "Where do you got those tattoos?" "In the studio." They don't look like studio tattoos to me. They look green, green and all bloated.

Zayuri: But he has Lupita in this arm, and I always told my mom, "When I'm older, I am going to get your name. I am going to get something, something related to you." She was like, "No, don't do that." She doesn't like tattoos. She even cried when my father got that because she was really upset about it. She was like, "Why did you did that?" So, it was like, "Okay, I can't copy my dad's tattoo. I'm not that unoriginal." I was like, "I don't want to get the heart shape."

Isabel: With the mom?

Zayuri: With the mom. I think I'm going to have a very imagination, so I was like, "I am going to get a portrait of her, but not a realistic one because they feel horrible. They don't last anything." So, I was like, "Yeah, I'm going to get it in a traditional way," and that's what I go.

Isabel: So, did you do that art, or did you just have the designer do it?

Zayuri: I told him what I wanted. I gave him a photo for reference, and I said, "Just don't make it realistic, and make it on a more traditional tattoo type." She was like, "Okay." Then I got a couple on my legs and on my feet.

Isabel: Very cool.

Zayuri: Thank you.

Isabel: Yeah, no, those are really beautiful. Then just some further in-depth questions, just to kind of zoom out, you're welcome to bring your own experience into it, but I was just wondering if you have any opinions kind of how the Mexican government and then how the US government is handling migration. Is there anything that you would like them to know in terms of humanizing migrants or how people, even young people in school, should treat or perceive people from different countries or from Mexico specifically?

Zayuri: Okay.

Isabel: It's a huge question. Answer it however you want.

Zayuri: I don't think that they're even trying to handle it anymore. I think it's just something that they ignore. All of the things that I have been reading is like, “Yeah, there's migrants in the border, and the government is trying to set them apart.” I was like, “Besides that, what else are we doing?” I don't see a strong answer for that.

Isabel: Yeah. No, I think that's kind of how I feel too. There seems to be kind of an idea like, "Oh, you're neither from here nor there," kind of the conversation with your cousins. You're either too American to be Mexican or too Mexican to be American. How do you respond, or what do you think about kind of that mentality?

Zayuri: It's annoying definitely because it downgrades you. It's like you're not enough for anyone apparently. Especially in my family, they treat you like—they don't even want to listen to it. For example, my grandma, the one that is here, she's so annoyed by the whole thing. She thinks that all the family that went to the United States and came back ... She's like, "Ugh, now they think that they have seen the whole world, and now they think that they're better than us." It's like, "Okay. So, I can't even talk to you about this, right?" And don't even try to mention that you miss something about the United States, because she's going to be like, "Well, go right there. Go back. What are you doing in here?" I was like, "Yeah, that's the same thing that I question."

Isabel: Oh, yeah. Probably asking yourself that too.

Zayuri: Yeah.

Isabel: Well, if there's anything else you'd like to add, or you want people to know before we wrap up?

Zayuri: What else? I mean, it's hard, really hard trying to leave everything. For example, my dad, I remember that he told us, "Don't even get too attached to your friends because you don't know if tomorrow we're still going to be here." So, it was like, “That's nice advice for my first day to school. Thank you. I'll make the best that I can with that.” So, I remember, that even talking to people for me was like, “What's the point? Am I going to see you next week? Probably not.”?

Isabel: Not allowing yourself to get attached.

Zayuri: To anyone, even on a friendship level. I was like, "What's the point?" For example, I could never had friends over because my dad didn't even like us to share the address. Because we were living on part that was full of other migrants, so he was like, "No, there's no gringos coming out to this area. You don't know how they're going to react. If something happens to them, and they're in the whole right to do it, but they try to call the police, you don't know what kind of problems we can get into." That was like, "Okay. So, no friends over. Can I go to other friends?" "No. No, no, no, no, no." So, you'd have to have McDonald's and go back here before sunset. All right. And that was the way to go. [Interview ends 00:40:08].

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