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Lina Ibarra

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Lina came to the United States with her family at age 14 from Cali, Colombia. Though her life was very difficult for many years after coming to the US, she now says that she’s very happy and has found her place. She says that her kids and her husband are her life and she never would have had them if she had not immigrated to the US.

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0:03:46

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Please contact Immigration History Research Center staff for permissions not covered by this Creative Commons license.

Transcription

Lina Ibarra Transcription
February 2015

"Lina's Memory Video"
My name is Lina Ibarra. I'm from Colombia and I have been an immigrant in USA for sixteen years. During this time, I have been able to learn about who I am and how my feelings, my experiences, and my roots showed me the real me. I came to United States at the age of fourteen years old with my two sisters. As a kid I was happy for this new adventure in my life, but I never expected what I was going to experience. At that age, I didn't know what to expect in a new country. I remember being at school for the first time and realizing I wasn't part of the new society. I wasn't able to communicate or see myself in the picture. I felt thoroughly out of place, missing my home, friends, my school, especially my old life. Time passed, but I still missing my old life and I wished my life in the United States could be like my old life in Colombia. By the time I was in high school, things got hard. Then my feelings and my attitude become harsh. When I felt people treat any of my family or me badly, I was full of resentment. One day, I was at home and I started thinking about all the bad, mean, and hurtful things that had happened to me since I came to the USA. And I started to question all of them. “Why me?” I asked. “Why I was here. Is all this worth it?” At the time, my nephew was about two or three years old. And I look at him and I thought, he has no clue how lucky he is to be an American citizen. At that moment, I decided to continue making my life in United States. If things were good or bad, it didn't matter. I wouldn't let them affect me.
Many years went by, and good and bad things happened to me and my family. It was very hurtful, especially when those people who bring you pain to you are your own family. But it helped me in some way to rethink everything my family and I have gone through. I decided to step out my own picture and do everything with fresh eyes. I realized that I didn't have to fit someone else's picture. I had to live my own life and make my own picture. I want people to accept me for who I really am and who I will become. Not for who I was. This helped me and made me feel proud of myself because I can yes, "Yes, I am an IMMMIGRANT."
Today, when I look back I remember everything that happened, and, at the same time, I look forward to my future. I see the path that was already paved by my ancestors and by me. This is my life and, at some point, my kids' life. I want to remember that being an immigrant means being an outsider. And being an outsider is who I am. I didn't know what to expect in a new culture. And it was painful to leave behind part of my life and be able to extend that for myself in a new country.
Everything in my life wasn't that bad. I cried, I fell, I laughed, I learned. But most important to me was see who I really am today. Because of that, I know I can be better daughter, sister, aunt, and also wife and mom. I want my daughter, my son, and my nephew to learn as much as they can from me and to able to make better choice and also never take anything for granted. Things are more valuable when we earn it on our own.