I wanted to reach out to you and share how much I
relate to the personal essays in Crossing Borders. I am currently an
undergrad student at the University of California, Irvine studying
Spanish with an emphasis in Education. Like the majority of immigrant
families in California, my family is originally from Mexico. Del Norte
del país, estado de Durango to be more specific, just like your family.
I truly admire how much involvement your parents had in your
education growing up. Most importantly, I admire you for carrying those
family values and raising Aaron and Isaac the way you did.
Unfortunately I grew up with a single mom, who worked until late hours
of the night to provide for my siblings and me. Now don’t get me wrong,
I’ll always be grateful for the sacrifice she’s made for our family,
but she had very little involvement in my educational path. And as I
continue on this path, I see our relationship growing more distant.
Like you and your mother, my mom and I always had a really good
friendship, but being away from home has made it difficult to relate to
each other’s lives.
I see myself growing apart from my mom,
my comfort zone, and for what purpose? I am surrounded by Asian, Middle
Eastern, and white students who walk around like they have their lives
figured out. Upper-class students who pull up to the parking lot in
their Audis, Mercedes, Lexus; they would never be able to relate to my
family’s financial situation. They would never know what it’s like to
sleep in the living room because their family of six can barely afford a two-room duplex located in what’s considered the “ghetto.” Yet here I am,
reading over your personal essays and reflecting on my decision to
cross this border. My decision to continue with my educational goals,
even if it meant growing apart from my mom, and her contribution to my
Mexican identity. So more than anything, I just wanted to say thanks.
Thank you for making me feel like I’m not alone.
I truly want
to make a difference in our Mexican-American/Latino community. The
families in our community need to make a change and be more college-oriented. We need more families like yours. More parents like Bertha
and Rodolfo because a “Mexican accent” doesn’t stop them from getting
involved in their children’s education. And for the parents who do not
have the time to get involved like my mom, at least get them to
understand the importance of a higher education.
Anyway, I hope
you get to read this really long message. Even if you don’t respond, I
just want you to see the impact your personal essays had on my personal
life. Thank you and I am definitely interested in reading more of your
Alejandro, I've read and re-read your letter several times. I write for
readers just like you, and I can only say thank-you for writing such a
wonderful, heartfelt letter to this writer. Every writer who toils alone
for years deserves a letter like this, which gives him encouragement to
keep writing. And yes, you are not alone. I am with you, if only from
I think it's a difficult journey we are making, but that
doesn't mean we shouldn't be making the journey. I think you should be
proud of your mother (as I am of my parents) for what they could teach
you, about hard work, sacrifice, friendship. She may not understand
everything you are doing now, but make an effort to get back into her
community, to teach her about what you know now and why it matters to
I know you will find others who assume their position in
life, who seem so much more sophisticated than you, who will
never understand the poverty you grew up with. I know I did. Take it as
an advantage, the advantage of being real, the advantage of knowing good people exist in all strata of life, the advantage of not being
easily consumed by things. I have met so many people who assume they are
right simply because they are rich. You show them otherwise. As a
teacher once told me, "You show them that a Mexicano can beat them with
Yes, you are right that I am trying to write about
the great values we have in our community, through books like Crossing Borders, and how to translate those values in other settings beyond
where we grew up. That's what will move our community forward, in my
opinion. I believe we should also criticize those values that are not
helpful to us, and leave them behind. I want this conversation to occur
in our community, so that we can be self-reflective, so that we can
improve ourselves, so that we can be proud of ourselves, yet without
being idealistic or romantic about our community.
Thank you for reading my work. You made my day.