Home Away from Home

The Texas Story Project.

Angela Perez is a nineteen-year-old girl born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, or as the locals call it, “El Valle.” The Valley is located in South Texas, separating Mexico from the United States, therefore, the Valley is 97% Hispanics.

Her mother was born in the United States but raised in Mexico. Her father was born and raised in Mexico, but at the age of eleven he and his family immigrated to the United States. Her mother and father’s families were migrant workers and traveled across the United States looking for work with their families of ten and twelve kids. Neither one of her parents earned a university degree. The highest level of education her father received was a high school diploma and her mother finished school in Mexico, however her education is not valid in the United States. Due to this, Angela grew up with a mindset of having to work hard in order to be successful in life.

Angela grew up in Mission, Texas and went to school in Sharyland Independent School District her entire life. A stereotype of Sharyland Independent School District is that it is full of wealthy individuals, when in reality most people belong to the lower and middle socioeconomic class. Yet still, Angela grew up surrounded by peers who were well off. This was not a challenge for Angela, yet a challenge she did face was not having a parent who spoke fluent English at home. Her mother learned to speak English as Angela was learning to speak English as well. Her father would always be out of the house working so having him as a resource was relatively difficult. She found herself doing homework by herself every day without having someone to revise it for her. Her mother however would take her to the library every day and this led to Angela becoming an avid reader and helping her excel in the classroom. This also helped her tear down the language barrier she faced at home and helped her become very independent at a young age. This independence continued and Angela became the first in her immediate family to leave the Rio Grande Valley to attend St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. Surprisingly, coming from The Valley to San Antonio was not a culture shock for Angela. “San Antonio and St. Mary’s instantly felt like home because of the atmosphere of community and the love that surrounds this place.” The cultures of these two regions are very similar, making it an easy transition for her. San Antonio has become her home away from home. Being able to find a good Mexican restaurant on every street corner of San Antonio makes it feel just like in The Valley. The relationships she has formed while in San Antonio have allowed her to learn new perspectives and gain new knowledge.

Texas, to Angela, will always be home, she loves the fact that she can go to any city or town and be greeted with a friendly face.

Jorge J. Lopez, is currently a sophomore at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree of Arts in Criminology. Jorge was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He is involved in Greek life as a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. He is a part of the Marianist Leadership Program and takes part in the Army ROTC program and plans to commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Army as of May 2021.

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