By Adriana Heidiz

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As a first generation Mexican-American, two very different cultures clashed throughout my childhood. I often felt as if I had to choose between them. Every young adult is in some way trying to figure out who they are. I now understand how noble my parents are, but they embarrassed me when I was a teenager.
I was embarrassed when my dad drove me to school with all of his gardening tools in the back of his truck. “Drop me off by the corner” I would tell him so my mostly upper middle class high school friends would not see. When friends would ask me where my mom worked, I said she was a stay-at-home mom, but that was a lie. My mother worked slavishly at any job she could find. I did not want to fit the stereotypical view of a Mexican-American family especially in San Diego where most residents are from Mexican descent.
Society made me believe those at the bottom of the socio-economic food chain leached off the country, when in reality they are helping built it. It was not until I visited family in Mexico that I realized all the hardships my parents faced. They worked and traveled hundreds of miles so I would not have to work like them, so I could get an education and become an American professional.
It is hard to feel special when most people in Southern California came from the same background, but one thing is true, we all come from survivors and that is something to be proud of.

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