On Being an Immigrant and Talking to Kids About Immigration


191 - Mariana on being an immigrant  - 9:21:21, 8.54 PM

00:00:04    Alyssa

Welcome to Voices of Your Village, a place where parents, caregivers, teachers and experts come to support one another on this wild ride of raising tiny humans. We combined decades of experience with the latest research to create the modern parenting village. Let's dive into honest conversation about real parenting challenges, so it doesn't have to be this hard. I'm your host, Alyssa Blask Campbell. 


00:00:36    Alyssa

Hey everybody, welcome back to Voices of Your Village. Today is a treat for me. I get to hang out with my friend Mariana. You might know Mariana as the gal who leads our village membership. She is just a gem of a human that I'm so jazzed to get to hang out with you to do this work with and really just do life with at this point from from far away. But do life with as we dream about being near each other. Welcome back to the podcast Mariana. How are you? 


00:01:10    Mariana

Good, thank you so much for having me back. It's always a treat for me as well, to get Alyssa time, even, you know, just to have an opportunity to talk about all things. Seed and non-seed stuff. 


00:01:22    Alyssa

Yeah, for sure, we get to go both ways. Mariana, can you share with folks a bit about your background, kind of where you came from, and we're going to dive in deep to it. But can you kick start us? Where did Little Mariana begin? 


00:01:37    Mariana

Absolutely so a little Mariana began in Mexico. And I always feel like, you know, where are you from is such a complicated question for me, because somebody described it as a tri--cultural kid. I was born somewhere. I lived somewhere for a very long time. And now I live somewhere else. And so I have all these, you know, places that feel like home. Yeah, I was born in Mexico, and I lived there until I was 12 years old. 


00:02:07    Alyssa

So many different parts forming along the way. So you were born in Mexico, Where in Mexico are you from? 


00:02:13    Mariana

Guadalajara. So it's almost like the Midwest of Mexico. It's the state is Jalisco. So if you've ever been to Puerto Vallarta, it's the same state as Puerto Vallarta. And so Jalisco is the land of tequila with tequila comes from and where mariachi music comes from. So that's what that state is known for. 


00:02:31    Alyssa

Fun! That's your party side. 


00:02:33    Mariana

That's right. 


00:02:36    Alyssa

And when you, what led to you guys leaving Mexico coming to the states? 


00:02:42    Mariana

Well, my dad is an airplane mechanic. And the airline that he was working for was going to start having flights to Chicago O'Hare. So they didn't have any like formal space, staff, anything. They were just going to start flying there. And so they asked my dad if he would get on the plane, get off the plane, check it, sign for it, and then go back. And so then they said, okay, this is working out really well. We're going to increase flights, can you come here for two weeks, Sure. And then two weeks turned into a month, and then a month became a permanent position. And so I remember my parents talking to my brother. And I, you know, there's this opportunity. How do you guys feel about it? This is what it would mean for our family. You know, I was 11 at the time, and my brother was seven or eight. And the first conversation was devastating, because the biggest thing is, we have to sell our toys. We couldn't bring our toys with us. And the second most devastating was like friends, of course. And school and all these things, you know, but like the toys, was what really made it difficult 


00:03:54    Alyssa

Really pushed you over the edge, oh that's funny, oh that kid perspective, What a wild choice to have to make, or to get to make maybe for some folks? But to be in that position, you know, thinking of your parents now, of everything that they would leave behind family, friends, culture to head to Chicago, Probably a little different? 


00:04:23    Mariana

Yeah, Absolutely. I mean, I have so much respect for both of my parents. My dad had to learn everything that he knew in English, you know. And he knew English before we came here, Because he had to apply for like a special license and things like that. So he knew sort of how English the English language work. But, you know, culture is so different than just the language part of it. And my mom had maybe one or two years of English, but was very basic. So she knew know very, very little compared to what my dad knew. 


00:04:59    Alyssa

Yeah. And what did that look like for you as kids? 


00:05:03    Mariana

So in Mexico, we went to private school because public schools are typically just very low quality in terms of like the type of education that you receive. And so our school had one or two hours of English every single day. And so we were taught the very proper English in the very, you know, appropriate ways to say things. And when my parents decided that we were going to move here, they, one of my mom's friends ended up being our English teacher. And so she gave us like additional classes to to teach us more the culture. She actually called the reinforcements and hired a high school student who had lived in the states to tell us like how things worked. It was really funny how the lunch line works. And this is what you do. And this is what you don't do so. 


00:05:56    Alyssa

Oh, that's so sweet. I wonder how much of it like, actually translated over into what you walked into? 


00:06:02    Mariana

Yeah, I don't remember, to be honest, but I'm guessing, not very much. 


00:06:08    Alyssa

Totally, That's so sweet that they were like working as hard as possible to like pre-teach to front-load to give you like a picture. What memories do you have of like that transition? You know, we talk about transitions at Seed all the time. And we're talking about like going to school for the first time, or, you know, getting out the door to get to work. This transition is huge. 


00:06:33    Mariana

Yeah, Yeah. I mean, so we moved in may and my mom wanted us to have like one month of trial in the school system. But then I think she felt sorry for us that she didn't follow through with that. And my brother And I were like, woohoo. Because in Mexico. School doesn't let out until July, typically. And so you only have July. And some of August as your summer. And so my brother and I were like, May June July, like this is the life. So I remember being excited about them. I remember our first night, in our house, we had no furniture, and we all slept on the floor in my parents bedroom, and it was like scary, but it also felt so safe, because we were all together. And there was a lot of excitement. And just like this new life, we get to do everything, you know, new toys, furniture, new house, new possible friends. And it was, I remember a lot of like hope. But I also remember at least the first two years were just so difficult, because I wanted to make friends. And I wanted to, you know, put myself out there and meet people, and just like dive in to American culture, and because of the way that my English sounded people didn't, or kids didn't really understand me. And I had no concept of what was school and what shows to watch and what you know, stores to dress from. And I remember like wanting to make friends and saying, hi, What's your name? And people were like what? And then from that I was like, okay, I'm not talking Nope. I don't like it. You know, there was a girl who teased me relentlessly, but then I made an ally, and I remember her, and I'll always remember her, because she stepped in one day, and she's like, no, you don't tease her. That's not kind. And if you tease her you have to deal with me. And I mean, honestly like the sky opened up like, you know, I hurt angels singing because I didn't know this girl. She was just a girl that lived close to me that decided to speak up. And it meant the world to me. 


00:08:37    Alyssa

What a blessing. What was her name? 


00:08:39    Mariana



00:08:40    Alyssa

Kristen. Thanks, Kristin. Thanks for taking care of little Mariana for us. I hope we can all raise some more. Kristen's. Yeah, Yeah, that's so sweet. What, what did your parents do? I'm curious because you were saying, like, you're reflecting on it felt hopeful. And do you have any recollection of ways that your parents supported you with that narrative of like,  you know, I think, I think, if I was moving to another country with my kids, a space where I didn't know the culture or the city, I was going to really or much of the language, Etc. And I was leaving everything that I knew and my comfort zone my cultural context behind, as a parent, It's so hard to regulate your own reactions and be mindful of your processing in order to show up for kids in those moments Like you're going through so much that it's hard to hold space for the tiny humans. And so I'm in awe of your parents or being able to do that. But I'm curious if you remember any of the language that was like surrounding that was there. Was there freedom to express the disappointment? The sadness? The grief of that loss? 


00:10:05    Mariana

Yeah, there was. I mean, it was assumed that it was going to be hard. You know, there was not an expectation that we were just going to go, you know, or come and just be able to jump right In. And we talked a lot about it before moving. And I think what helped at the time is that the Visa kept getting delayed. And so, oh, you're moving this time. Oh, oh, oh, no. Now you're moving this time. And so, you know, we were waiting, but during that time, we talked a lot about what's going to happen. What's it going to be like? You know? And I grew up hearing my parents say, you can always come and ask questions. You can always come to us. And I think one of the things that really helped me and my brother and said that they always told us the world is yours. You just have to go out and get it, you know. And so there's this perseverance and this hard work mentality that I grew up with, You know, that if I want something, it's hard work, but I could get it. 


00:10:59    Alyssa

Yeah, Well, you definitely have that. That is how you show up in life. You work for Seed because you DM'd me and said, hi, Can I make these tools in Spanish? And I said, yeah, let's chat and hired you on the first phone call. Yeah, that is how you operate in life. But I'm so in awe of your parents, and they're like foresight and ability to allow you to have to let you know, it is going to be hard, and that it's okay that it's hard, that something being hard doesn't mean that it's bad or wrong. I think that's where the perseverance comes from when we can see the hard as like, okay, I can, I can do hard things is Glennon Doyle would say to us, and also want to recognize that there are different levels of hard. Not all hard is created equally, you've said it before, but that you didn't come here and arrive to a welcome basket. And this is where I hope that folks who haven't navigated an immigration process, or who haven't had to leave their culture, or whose culture is centered in this nation can really tune in and open up to the idea that we all experience hard things, And that they're not all created equally, that there are levels of heart that some of us do not have to experience. 


00:12:36    Mariana



00:12:37    Alyssa

What did the immigration status like or the immigration process look like for you guys? 


00:12:45    Mariana

So I think, you know, I also wanted to mention when you were talking and reminded me that, you know, I recognize there's a lot of privilege in the way that I came here, And it's probably one of the easiest ways to come to the us. You know, my dad had a sponsored Visa. Everything was the right way, you know, and but it doesn't mean that it was easy, and it doesn't mean that it was fast, you know. And like I said, there was no welcome basket. There was no case. You're that kind of followed you to make sure that you were okay. Okay, but we so we were here on a work visa H1 And then my mom and my brother and myself were unlike in the dependents, Visa, which was an H2. So what that meant was that my dad was the only one allowed to work. And after five years on that Visa, then we could apply for permanent residence, which is typically what people call the green card, Which is not green. And it's not a card. And then after being a resident for, I believe, five to seven years, then you can apply for citizenship. And that's when, you know, the major benefits of citizenship is essentially your blue passport and the ability to vote. So we started here with the VISA waiting for those five years to go by, the five years go by. We apply for the permanent residency. It's moving along. In the meantime, I turn 16. So that means no first job, No driver's license, you know, missing out on things that were developmentally like what do you call them, rights of passage. And so all my friends are like, oh, when are you getting your license away? Mmm, I don't know. I'm not, you know, so that, again, another type of hard. And is it the hardest thing in the world? No, but when you're 16 you have no idea, you know? And it was the hardest thing in the world. It was embarrassing. And it was It's hard to have to explain my whole story to anybody that ask why and then sometimes to be seen in a negative light, just because that was part of my story. 


00:14:59    Alyssa

And to the financial challenge of your mom, not being able to work if she wanted to, needed to, that you guys were living off of your dad's income. 


00:15:12    Mariana

Yeah. And so after the five years were up, So we're applying for permanent residency. And then September 11th happened. And so what that did to our case and millions of other cases is that the government said, we're stopping everything, and we're starting over. So that delayed the process another three years. So what took what should have taken five years took 9 years. 


00:15:37    Alyssa

So what it in those nine years, you then, like you went to college. You. What can you talk me through? Like how this affected all that? Sure. 


00:15:49    Mariana

So at the time, I was a junior in high school when September 11th happened. And so it was right around, get your ACT scores, you know, ready for college, start looking at schools. And I had to learn this as I went on my own, because my parents didn't go to school here. They didn't know what the process was Like they didn't know the education system. And so I was not allowed or permitted to apply for any kind of Federal Aid. So the FAFSA form, I couldn't fill it out because I didn't have a Social Security number. I couldn't have a job because I didn't have a Social Security number. I couldn't apply for any scholarships because I wasn't even a permanent resident at that point, I couldn't apply for federal loans whether what they were forgiven or not forgiven because of the permanent residency. And I couldn't apply for private loans Either, because they needed a cosigner In the cosigner had to be at least a permanent resident, which we weren't. So it's like, no, no, no, no, no. Every time, you know, I try to look for like an out or a way to get money to go to school. I was a no. And I had dreams of going Into, you know, school downtown and living in the city and just living my best life. And it just felt like, nope, not happening. So what I ended up doing was I didn't ton of nannying on a babysitting. I mean, at some point, I was probably been sitting five different families and paying for school to go to school full-time, you know, out of pocket, And I went to Community College for then, because I just couldn't. I mean, I got into all the schools that I wanted to get into, but I just could not afford. And my parents couldn't afford it either, because there was one income, you know?


00:17:38    Alyssa

Totally, and college is crazy expensive, 


00:17:41    Mariana

Yes. And it wasn't as crazy expensive back then, but it was still crazy expensive. So, you know, Community College for two years. And then onto I chose this, the cheapest state school. Because of that, you know, like I, nothing against where I went to school wouldn't have been my first choice again. I had dreams of going to the city, and, you know, being a fun college student in Chicago. But I had to pick the cheapest school in the state, who rented textbooks out to students So that I wouldn't have to worry about buying textbooks, And so that I could finish my degree. You know, within my four years.


00:18:23    Alyssa

All as like a kid, like you were a kid having to figure this out.  


00:18:28    Mariana

Yes. And I look back, and I'm like thats crazy. That's insane. I don't know, you know, and my parents, they try to help, but their hands were tied. They had no idea either. And so when we would do college with its, I'm like, what do you think? You know, what do you think I've ever like? I don't know. I mean, if you like it, if you think it's a good place, you know. And then the question at the end was like, how much is it? 


00:18:53    Alyssa

Okay, totally, Yeah, it's wild. It's wild, because I just like such a privilege Check as I sit on, I don't know. So much student loan debt over here, Zach and I both, but like, what a privilege to have student loan debt, right? Like I got to take out loans to go to school. And that was never something that I had to question. It was just how much am I going to pay back? You don't even like I'm choosing my school based off of like, how much am I paying back, But that I had that access, right, that you paid out of pocket for college without being able to have a job, a job? 


00:19:39    Mariana

I mean, babysitting paid for my college, and, you know, and then there was some I don't know how it happened or why it happened, but they essentially describe my case. And they said, if you're on this boat, you can apply for a special permit that will allow you to have a Social Security for work like in the meantime. And so that's how I was able to get my driver's license. And my first real job and 18 or 19. 


00:20:08    Alyssa

Yeah that's the other thing, like even babysitting, whatever. You have to be able to get there and get home and get to college, and like, all all without a driver's license, right? 


00:20:17    Mariana

So that's again, I don't remember the specifics, but that's what saved me. And that's what really help me keep going, because otherwise I wouldn't be able to drive, and I wouldn't have been able to have a second job. So all through college, I had two jobs, two or three. 


00:20:33    Alyssa

So wild it's frustrating for me, because I know there are folks who are just like, yeah, just come here the right way work really hard. And you can have access to all the things. And it's just, it's just not real. It's not that If you come here, the quote unquote, right way, you just get access to all the things, or that if you work really hard, you just get access to all the things It's so frustrating. 


00:21:01    Mariana

I can't tell you I. So I'm sorry to interrupt you, but I still get so emotional thinking about it, because we went to the office of Social Security like two or three times and sent. This is our case. Is there anything we can do? I mean, and we were look like we were looked at like we were Third class citizens, you know. And just a harsh know. And it was so like, you don't belong here. We don't want you here Go home and stay home, you know. And I just wanted. I just wanted to go to school Like I just wanted to be a better person. That's all I wanted. 


00:21:37    Alyssa

Totally and to pour into our economy into it like you were trying to work here. Legally.


00:21:44    Mariana

I think that's a big misconception too that Illegal immigrants, or, you know, undocumented, you know, whatever, whatever you want to call them, They don't pay taxes. And they do, you know, they absolutely do. There's no Again I go back to like, there's no welcome basket. There's no not like, here's your driver's license and your social security number. And this is, you know, rules of the land. You know, this is who you see for this, and that there's no nothing like that. 


00:22:18    Alyssa

Yeah, Well, I wish that this was just like talk more in school of like this is what you know, we say, Or at least I learned in my very whitewashed history that, you know, we were the land of the free, and people could come here, and that, to the Statue of Liberty, was all about, and that it was founded as this place that people could come and and have freedom. I'm putting that in quotes, And I wish that we more explicitly walked kids through. Here's what that looks like. Here's what it looks like to actually come. And here's the steps afterwards, and that if you're able to come in the way that you were able to wear like your dad was already offered a job, You weren't a refugee. I wish there was more education around the logistics of it all because I think, Think it just gets painted as this whitewash, like, look at us What a beautiful Nation we are. We just accept folks to come. And if they really want to be a part of our society, they can do so here. And that's just not the reality. 


00:23:33    Mariana

No. Actually, I mean, it's hard. It's a very hard harsh way that they treat you and looking at you. I mean, from the moment that you have a Visa, It's almost like You lose your name. You're a number and they call you alien in your number, starts with an A and it stand for alien and anything that you do until you become a citizen. What's your a number? What's your a number? Not You know, who are you? What's your a number? And I have such strong feelings about that alien word, because it's so dehumanizing. And as a fourteen-year-old, you know, it would make me cry. And I would think I am not An alien. I don't have three eyes. I don't have four legs Like, why are you calling me an alien, and yeah, 


00:24:24    Alyssa

Yeah. And this is looking, as you said earlier, like the privilege of coming to the states. In this way, We're not. This isn't even looking at like you were a kid in a cage, you know, separated from your family not sure if you'll ever see them, subject to abuse and neglect. It's mind-boggling. It's mind-boggling to me that there's Such dehumanization that we don't question. 


00:24:54    Mariana

That it's not talked about, Yeah. I mean, yes, it's been more in the media because they’re children, right? But what about the adults? You know, why are they not talked about as much 


00:25:04    Alyssa

totally? And it's in the media, but it's still happening. It's not like it. Being in the media hasn’t stopped it from happening. It was just like, oh, we'll talk about this Yikes man, When we are looking at, like, all right, how do we talk about this? How do we support kids with The understanding? And I guess, knowledge around immigration and what this looks like, What do you hope to see happen? What are things that you feel like would be really helpful shifts for us to be able to make in terms of addressing this with kids? 


00:25:45    Mariana

I think humanizing people is so important, you know, and they may not look like you, They may not speak like you. They may not do things that you do. But at the end of the day, we're all the same, I think, you know. And I try to work on that with my kids, because I would love if they identified with my culture one day and saw it as part of theirs. And I don't know if it's going to happen, but I would love for them to. And and I tell them, you know, I'm from Mexico and your daddy is from here. And so now you are half this and half that. And what does that mean, you know, like, and they did ask me, they're like, Well, what does that mean? And I said, well, our family loves beans and guacamole, you know, and we have it almost at every meal. Not all families Love beans and guacamole and, you know, some families do and some families don't. But it's just, I think, again, just recognizing that everybody can do things differently, but it doesn't make them less or better. 


00:26:51    Alyssa

Yes? Oh, that's so huge. That like different isn't a bad thing. And I think for folks who have kids who are white and are centered in our nation for them to be aware of the fact that our culture does treat different as bad and other as bad and less than, and that we need to be raising the Kristens who are going to stand up for the Marianas and say, no, She is also a human. And That a huge part of raising anti-racist kids is giving them the knowledge that we aren't all treated equally. But that would be lovely. But that's not the world We live in. You know? And I think that's the part that's often left out of this As like, we want kids to know that like, we're all the same inside, and we're all humans. And I think that that's part Is it, you know. And the other part is, and the world doesn't treat us all the same. Yeah, 


00:28:06    Mariana

I did. I don't know if you saw this, but the Barbie YouTube channel had a little video of Barbie talking about her friend and how she was treated differently because of the color of her skin. And they were doing a contest to see who sold the most stickers at a mall or something like that. But she's talking to kids about racism and how Unfair It is. And I was just so proud and moved by it. I was like, hey, come, watch this. Come. Watch this. Let's watch it together. 


00:28:37    Alyssa

Yeah, go Barbie.


00:28:40    Mariana

I had a really nice conversation with, with my oldest. And it was, you know, we talked about how Grandma sometimes it's not understood at the store, and people treat her differently. So it's not all the time skin color. It's the way that you speak with the way that you dress and why that's wrong. 


00:28:59    Alyssa

Yeah, I think that that's huge. I think it's a huge part of having this conversation. And actually raising compassionate Humans is recognizing. I have referenced this before, but it's like episode 13 of the podcast. I interviewed Tristan Reese, and we were talking about gender. And he said in there that we have to raise kids who are prepared for the world. They currently live in and Have the tools to help change it, but that we can't. If we're raising kids in this like idealistic World, We're not actually preparing them to change it, because we have to acknowledge What is before we can move to where we want to go. And I think it's really comfortable for white folks to not acknowledge What is. 


00:29:51    Mariana

And I mean, it's uncomfortable to talk about something you're not familiar with, or that you don't feel like you can answer questions. Valentina's preschool teacher is wonderful. I mean, I love the way that she was like, I don't know. But let's find out, you know. And so now, as a parent, I'm like, I don't know, let's find 


00:30:11    Alyssa

out. Is this the same preschool teacher that we hired for Seed? She's the gem of a human. Another one, you've brought lovely humans. And yeah, I think that that is key. And, you know, she did a workshop For the Seed certification, and she mentions that for teachers too, in early childhood, the importance of being able to say, I don't know the answer, but we can find out together where I can find out. And we can talk about this tomorrow. And yeah, That discomfort for us as adults to say to kids, I don't know. 


00:30:47    Mariana

Yeah, especially when you're adored and you’re regarded as like, you know, almighty and powerful to have to say, uh, I don't know, you know, it can be difficult for some parents, and they could be very Difficult In some cultures. And, you know, I think that's kind of where the change starts to to acknowledging that it's better to learn together than to not learn at all. 


00:31:11    Alyssa

Yeah. And you just continue to pass on what the bias education that we received and not examine it And say, man, We are just talking in my stories about how that word bias Makes a lot of us go like, Like I don't have biases, they do. And the reality is that we all do. And when we can get cozy with that, that like every single one of us, someone reached out recently,  feeling frustrated, that what we were teaching was conditioning kids in a certain way. And I was sitting with that before responding was like, oh, that's so interesting. Because for me, I think Yes, we are conditioning. kids we're Always conditioning kids. We're always being conditioned. And when we can be aware of that, when we can say like, oh, that's happening all the time from the advertisement that shows up on the TV and tells me how I should feel about my body or that person's body, or every single piece of information that we receive, how people respond to us, whether or not we received love or adoration for certain things. What we did received Love For, what feelings were allowed? All That jazz, like how we are responded to. And what we consume is always conditioning us. And so every single one of us has come to adulthood with these biases in the social programming. And I think it's imperative that we acknowledge that like, oh, man, hashtag, not perfect. My niece went through a phase where you would say, Hey, babe, How was your day? And she would go not perfect. I was like, what a high bar Perfect. But I think that that's really important to say that it's not that, That it's okay to critique how we were raised, or systems in which we were raised. And and to acknowledge that we have benefited in the same way that, like I have benefited from taking out student loans, right? That like that Was a privilege that I didn't realize until talking to you. You know what I mean? Like in the past. I was like, yeah, sitting on so much student loan debt must be nice for some folks to have their parents pay for their college sounds great, or to live in a country where colleges accessible and free, but now hearing you, I'm like, gosh, what a privilege that I was able to take out loans and access College. 


00:33:59    Mariana

My parents always explained it to me this way. I think it's what has kept me again hopeful and optimistic. There's somebody who is always going to be, you know, below you struggling, and somebody who is going to be above you thriving. And your goal is not to stomp on the person below you, you know, or try to be like the person above you like you are on your own path, and you do what you do, you essentially, you know? And I think And again, I Carry that with me, And I'm trying to teach my kids that, It's sometimes things could be worse, or I could be better. But this is our today. 


00:34:41    Alyssa

Yeah, I love that. I love that. And I grew up in a house where it was like, there was always the look to the person below you, or the person who's struggling and to lift them up to pull them in to support them too. And I appreciate that my parents like lived that day to day, but I don't think that there was a lot of Education around For me specifically, like the things that I had access to because of the color of my skin, or because of where I was born are, because, like, there wasn't discussion around that that I think for me, as a parent, now like that something. That is important to me to bring into the conversation that, yeah, we can turn and support this person who is struggling more than us And what, why are they struggling more than us? Like what systems are in place, that are leading to them, struggling and us having a leg up? You know that it's not just that they do. It drives me bonkers and people like, oh, they just made bad choices, I'm like oh no. It works in the same manner that if you looked at the people who are like, have a trust fund, or were born into Financial Freedom and wealth, they didn't just, you didn't make bad choices because you weren't born into that. You know what I mean. And so looking both up and down, then to say, oh, then that's probably true for the person who's struggling in ways that I'm not. Yeah, huge Mariana. Is there anything else that you would like to share about your journey here into the us That you want to make sure people understand, or that you would love for them to be bringing to their tiny humans? 


00:36:43    Mariana

I think there's another misconception that you know, I'd like to speak to? A lot of people say that once you become a citizen, you could just bring your family over. And that's not true. There are rules and stipulations. So when I became a citizen, I could only request immediate family. So my parents or my brother, but they were already here. And so, you know, I wanted to request for my grandma to come here, and I was not able to. So we had to wait until my mom was a citizen for her to be able to request that. So it's not, you know, you don't get to request your second cousin twice removed from, you know from three marriages ago. It doesn't work that way. 


00:37:32    Alyssa

No. Yeah. So, like creating a wedding guest list where you're just like who do I want to bring? 


00:37:37    Mariana

And every step of the way Is costly. You know, its one application fee here. One application review fee there, and pretty soon you're into the thousands of dollars. Plus, you know, legal fees. If you choose to hire a lawyer 


00:37:54    Alyssa

And you can't get a job. So good luck pay for it, right? 


00:37:58    Mariana

Right. So again, it's a different kind of hard, and it's not just come here the right way. Sure, it's possible. But it takes a long time. It can be very costly. And again, I'm very aware of the privilege that I have coming here in the way that I did, But working in a school, I've also heard stories that are heartbreaking of kids whose parents just put them on a train and hoped they would make it. You know, of a student whose mom sent for her, but couldn't meet her at the at the border. And she had to spend, you know, weeks at like a halfway house not knowing if she was going to be abused every night by the person who was in charge of this housing. Again, It's working in the school has opened my eyes even more so to the different types of stories that there aren't like mine. And so, yes, mine is hard, but it's not the hardest right? 


00:38:52    Alyssa

When the when we look at folks who, you know, we offer jobs to here in the state to bring them over again. Quote unquote the right way. It's folks who have that privilege already who are coming with a job, because we've offered them a job, right? And so it's it's not necessarily the human who is trying to escape violence. And yeah, I think that that's that's something that's a misconception that, like everyone you can just apply and come like know. 


00:39:25    Mariana

Another thing is, if your application gets denied, you don't get your money back that you're out, However much money you spent. And for example, for a tourist visa, it's four hundred and something dollars. You got an appointment, It's a hearing, And you meet with somebody who decides if you have enough things to Anchor you to your native country so that you will come here on a work or in a tourist visa and stay If they're having a bad day if they're hangry. If they don't want to give you the Visa, They're like, come back later. But we'll keep your $500.


00:40:01    Alyssa

Yikes, what a broken system.


00:40:04    Mariana

Yeah, it's crazy. It's, you know, and we used to have to go to Mexico to renew our visa and then come back. And we would just hear the stories in front of us. And there was an older gentleman who had a farm, and he just wanted to visit his son. And the guy behind the desk was like, I don't see enough income here That would let me let that would make me feel comfortable knowing that you're not going to stay with your son. So I'm denying your Visa, You know, and again with the dehumanizing part. 


00:40:38    Alyssa

Totally. You don't make enough money for me to allow you to visit your son. Woof. 


00:40:48    Mariana

And eventually, you know, I did become a citizen, my permanent residence was approved my last year of college, which I was like oh great, now what, you know, but then it was like, oh, grad school, here I come! It was such a joy and such a, you know, to be able to apply for loans and know that I would have debt, you know, that I was allowed to have debt. I was so excited for that, You know. 


00:41:16    Alyssa

Wild why I'm so glad that you had the support system within your family and the perseverance to get to where you are, Because you're an incredible human, and our world is absolutely better with you in it and doing this work. I don't, we didn't share you are a school psychologist and a mom of three. And I'm just so grateful that you get to do this work that we get to learn from you. 


00:41:47    Mariana

Thank you. I love love being a part of Seed. And I say it every time we talk, but my hope is just to connect with people and to, you know, I'm so open to answering questions. And again, if I don't know, we'll find the answer together. But but if I can help somebody understand Again, The Human Experience, or put a face to an experience that somebody's not very familiar with, I'm more than happy to do so. 


00:42:14    Alyssa

Yeah, and I love that. And I think that, I mean, that's throughout Seed I just keep like being like, will you do this will you lead the membership? Will you create our courses in Spanish? And it because I love, I love that you will always lead with that human first, and that you do such a beautiful job of holding space for folks and getting back to like, what's that narrative that's running underneath the surface here and what's driving? And I think that's, you know, in relation to like talking to kids about immigration or any hard things. I think first for us as adults saying like, what's coming up for me around this? And what am I bringing? What what trigger is, you know, like, maybe when you heard the word privilege, you felt like, well I don't have privileges? Maybe that was triggering and being able to just like lean into those? I think that you're really good at holding space for that. And I'm jazzed that we get to be able to offer this in English and in Spanish because of you. 


00:43:19    Mariana

Thank you. I mean, I can't tell you how much I love the reparenting course, you know, taking it for myself, but now having the ability to, to share it with other spanish speaking parents, It's life-changing. You know, it really is because of those narratives, because we don't spend enough time talking about it. And I think so often we’re on autopilot. And I think we can't. We just can't live life on autopilot. 


00:43:51    Alyssa

Yeah, Well, we can't make change on autopilot, That's for sure, Because then we're just replaying whatever we've consumed. And I think so often We want to know, like, how do I get my kid to do this thing, to be kind, to be empathetic, to be anti-racist, to whatever? And we forever come back to like, tell me more about your patterns and habits and narratives? And people are like no let's talk about the kids! 


00:44:11    Mariana

I dont want to focus on me I want to change them! 


00:44:31    Alyssa

Thanks for hanging out with me. And if folks want to continue to hang out with Mariana and learn from her and engage in this work with her, she leads our Village Membership. So we open it a couple times a year. You can hop on in, and you get access to our reparenting and tiny humans, big emotions, courses in English and in Spanish. And then she guides you through how to implement this work. What does it really look like in the day-to-day? And then does a live Q&A every week where you get to ask your questions And just show up in community in doing this work. So that's where you can find Mariana over at Seed, running our village membership. Thanks, babe. 


00:45:13    Mariana

Thank you! 


00:45:16    Alyssa

Thanks for tuning in to Voices of Your Village. Check out the transcript at voicesofyourvillage.com. Did you know that we have a special community over on Instagram hanging out every day with more free content? Come join us at seed.and.sew. Take a screenshot of you tuning in, share it on the gram and tag seed.and.sew to let me know your key takeaway. If you're digging this podcast, make sure to subscribe so you don't miss an episode. We love collaborating with you to raise emotionally intelligent humans.




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