Surviving and Thriving as an Immigrant in America with Paola Garcia


Manage episode 323018211 series 2980544
بواسطة Yuliana Kim-Grant، اكتشفه Player FM ومجتمعنا ـ حقوق الطبع والنشر مملوكة للناشر وليس لـPlayer FM، والصوت يبث مباشرة من خوادمه. اضغط زر الاشتراك لمتابعة التحديثات في Player FM، أو ألصق رابط التغذية الراجعة في أي تطبيق بودكاست آخر.

Yuliana welcomes New York City lawyer, Paola Garcia, to the podcast today. After running away from her sheltered life and home in Mexico at the age of 18, Paola was forced to reckon with her status as a Mexican immigrant in the U.S. and American culture at large. She recalls the shock she experienced when coming to the U.S. after growing up in the rather strict Mexican class system, and details how the anti-immigration sentiments in the U.S. exhaust her so much that it almost makes her want to abandon New York City for home.

Paola goes on to compare and contrast Mexico’s immigration capacity with that of their American neighbor up north, and the pair then discuss Paola’s transition from Texas to New York when she was accepted into Columbia Law School. She notes that her parents seemed to respect her more once she got into a prestigious university and achieved some semblance of autonomy. Looking back, she regrets living in “survival mode” for such a long period of time as she struggled to stop seeing herself as that 18 year old runaway girl. In concluding the conversation, Paola notes that, if she could listen to any song or artist that reminds her of her childhood, she would choose Louis Armstrong or Charlie Parker.

Episode Highlights:

  • Running away from home to take control of her own life
  • Managing the discourse of immigration in the U.S.
  • Paola’s experience with Mexico’s class system
  • Anti-immigration sentiments in the U.S.
  • Current heavy immigration into Mexico
  • Paola’s exhaustion by racism
  • Her move from Texas to NYC
  • Paola’s regret for living in “survival mode” for so long
  • Her love for jazz


“It's a very traditional culture, where it's seen as something very shameful to leave your parents home, especially at such a young age. So my father, of course, did not approve of this. And they were becoming, you know, increasingly controlling. And all I wanted was to study and to have agency over my own life. And I remember having this dream to live on my own, really, since the age of six.”

“Similarly, El Paso, Texas, is a very Mexican American town. And I was extremely surprised by the way that I was treated, especially by the Mexican Americans; they expressed a lot of resentment because of the fact that it was obvious that I came from a good family, although now I was on my own.”

“I also realized how, although in Mexico we don't check a box, whether you're white, indigenous or something. We are all Mexican.”

“We also have so many immigrants from countries that are really struggling like Venezuela, Colombia, the Central American countries, Cuba. We don't have the resources to deal with an influx of millions of people who either want to stay there working or are waiting to cross to the U.S. The system is not, you know, wealthy or strong enough to sustain this influx of people who suddenly appeared in Mexico City.”

“My mom said, I was a feminist since the age of three. And by that she means that I was constantly observing, you know, the inequalities and, like, oppression of women, and I really, really didn't like it.”

“I think my only regret is that I didn't at some point sort of stop living in this survival mode. Until very recently, I began to just look back at my life and realize that I had been really living like that 18 year old runaway girl, and it's this impulse of survival that is no longer relevant to my life.”


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