AG, 13, lives with her family and her dog Einstein in Atlanta. Her father is from Mexico and her mother is from Peru. I ask her about her her favorite foods, her idea about church and her social media life. You’ve to read every word of hers fully keeping her mischievous smile in mind. Here’s the transcript of my face to face interview with her.
Heart: I am a story teller. I tell stories because we are all different, and we each have our stories. And we are all the same because we all have thoughts, opinions, ideas and dreams. So, how old are you?
Heart: Were you born here?
Heart: How’s life?
AG: Um, its fine. A lot of things happen in life, I guess. And in my life, we have fun, we have sad times also.
AG: And I play around a lot with my sister. And my dog and my whole family too.
Heart: What do you call your dog?
AG: Einstein. (Smiles)
Heart: Oh my goodness! Einstein?
AG: (Laughs) Yes.
Heart: Can you tell me how life is um, sad?
AG: Well, some family members might die. Stuff like that. And you know, you might see a family member sad about something, or when you see your sister cry about something, you feel depressed a little. Or if your friends, something happened to them, you feel really sad and you want to help them. Yeah.
Heart: Have you visited your parents’ countries?
AG: No, but, I want to. (Laughs)
Heart: Which members of your family are here in the States?
AG: Um, I think almost all my mom’s side are here. And my dad’s side, all my uncles and aunts are in Mexico.
Heart: So, all your mom’s side are here?
AG: Yeah, almost. Not everyone, but mostly everyone.
Heart: Her parents are here?
AG: No, they are in Peru.
Heart: Do you and your sister have conversations about visiting Peru and Mexico?
AG: Yeah, yeah, we do. We might visit soon? (Smiles questioningly)
Heart: What do you want to be when you grow up?
AG: I want to be a Pediatrician.
Heart: Do you like children?
AG: Yeah. (Smiles)
Heart: You have to talk to a lot of people, you have to be caring, do you think you have all that in you?
AG: Yeah, kind of. (Laughs)
Heart: Which school do you go to?
AG: [Redacted] middle.
Heart: What are the demographics of your school? I mean what’s the racial make up?
AG: Oh, OK. All of them, I guess. There are a little (few) whites, a lot of Blacks, and a lot of Hispanics in our school. And a little (few) Asians.
Heart: Do you know the jobs of the parents of your classmates?
AG: My friend, I think his mom does nails. And his dad, I don’t know. The dads usually do construction jobs, painting or little landscaping. The moms usually clean houses. Yeah.
Heart: When you have a problem in school, do you tell your parents? Or do you think they are already going through all this stuff, I should not trouble them?
AG: I usually tell them. (Laughs) Yeah, I usually tell them.
Heart: Yeah, I think that’s a good idea, because a small thing can blow up and become a big thing. OK, so which college do you want to go?
AG: Emory university.
Heart: Great. Did you tell your parents that?
Heart: Great. Are the people in your community helping each other or do they keep any advantage to themselves. How does it work?
AG: Like, in our community, we help each other out I guess. Kind of. (Pause) Yeah, we do help each other out if we need to.
Heart: Whom do you live with?
AG: My dad, mom, my sister and my uncle. My mom’s brother. He lives with us.
Heart: Does he have a family?
AG: He has, but his wife is in Peru. I think he has two children.
Heart: OK. Do you use acronyms? Like OMG, can you name your top 3?
AG: (Laughs) I use LOL a lot. Um, I don’t know, IDK. And then, What You Doing, WYD.
Heart: I didn’t know that. WYD? OK. Top 3 apps you can’t live without?
AG: (Laughs) Instagram, um, Snapchat and what’s the other one? There might be a 3rd one, but I forgot what its called.
Heart: The entire planet was existing without Snapchat until 3 years ago and now every child I talk to is like, “OMG, my Snapchat!” and I don’t even know what it is.
Heart: What’s your favorite food?
AG: Pizza. And my mom’s food. She cooks her country’s food. I like this food called Anticuchos. Its Peruvian food. Its like a steak on a stick.
Heart: Can you write it down?
AG: I think that’s how you spell it.
Heart: How’s it made? Is it spicy?
AG: Yeah, I think my mom adds spices to it, pretty sure she does. Its made with the cow’s heart.
Heart: Cow’s heart. Interesting. Do you have a favorite restaurant?
AG: I’ve a lot. (Laughs) Um, let’s see. Um..
Heart: I can tell you mine. Taco Bell.
AG: (Both of us laugh) Um, I like this place called Shake Shack. Its hamburgers and I like their hamburgers a lot.
Heart: Cool. How do you decide what is important? Let’s say, you want to buy something, or go see something, how do you prioritize? Or do you ask your parents to decide for you depending on what they can buy?
AG: Sometimes, I try to think about it, “Am I gonna use it or leave it somewhere in my house?” I try to decide or ask my mom if I can buy something. Sometimes she says, “Leave it, we can’t buy it right now. I will buy it next time.” So, I put that away and she will buy it for my later. That’s usually what happens. (Smiles)
Heart: So, do you watch YouTube? Is there a favorite channel you have?
AG: Yeah, I do. I usually watch America’s Got Talent or something like that, if I am bored.
Heart: Do your parents watch news from their countries?
AG: Yes, my mom usually watches news from her country. She has a channel for Peru. My dad, he just watches soccer or sports or something like that. Yeah, but my mom usually watches news.
Heart: On TV there’s a Peruvian channel?
Heart: Oh, nice. Do they have movies?
AG: They have TV shows on the channel.
Heart: Do you understand what they speak on TV? Is it Portuguese?
AG: Portuguese is from Brazil.
Heart: Oh, sorry.
AG: (Laughs) Its OK. Well, they do have a language called Quechua. I don’t know how to spell that.
Heart: Its OK, I will look it up.
AG: My mom doesn’t know it very well, she barely speaks it, but her mom knows how to speak it. And my mom’s grandma used to speak it and she used to say some of the numbers. So my mom knows only like 3 or 4 numbers in Quechua.
Heart: Ok. So what does your dad speak?
Heart: What do you speak with your parents?
AG: I usually speak Spanish with my parents, because if my sister and I speak in English they don’t usually understand anything and my dad always says, “Speak Spanish, so we can understand.” When my sister and I are speaking to each other in English, they just stand there confused. (Laughs)
Heart: Aww, that’s funny. So, how did your mom speak Spanish?
AG: Well, when my mom was little, her mom was always working. So I think my mom learnt Spanish by herself. And my grandma would sell vegetables at the stand outside and I think my mom learnt it from her mom or other siblings. She has 6 siblings.
Heart: Where did your grandma sell vegetables?
Heart: Do you follow any news on the Immigration debate in America?
AG: Um, not really. I don’t really find interest in that. Like, sometimes, I get mad by watching it. I feel offended a little. Yeah. (Smiles)
Heart: OK. Let’s see. Do you guys have a religion?
AG: I’m Catholic.
Heart: Do you guys go to church?
AG: Yes, usually on Sundays. We go to the church on Sunday and listen to the father speak.
Heart: Is it something your parents want you to do? Is it a family thing? Or are you like, “Yay, its time to go to church, let’s go!”
AG: (Laughs) No, not really. I usually am not excited to go, but my dad tells us that its important to go. He says its important to listen and God and all that stuff. And I feel like my dad likes to go to church to listen. I usually fall asleep though. We have to stand up a lot and sit down and my feet get tired. (Laughs)
Heart: That’s funny. Which church do you go to?
AG: St. Patrick’s.
Heart: Do you know the city limits?
AG: No, not really. But my sister knows directions really well. Usually when we go out, and my dad drives and she’s like, “No dad, its that way. Go, its not this way, that way.” (Laughs)
Heart: Wow, that’s pretty impressive. What’s your beauty routine?
AG: Um, I don’t really like make up. I don’t usually use make up a lot but mom’s like, “You’ve gotta be more feminine.” (We both laugh)
Heart: Do you know if you are allowed to date?
Heart: You don’t have to answer.
AG: (Laughs) I mean, my mom’s like, “Its fine,” but she doesn’t want me dating at this age. But, if I want to, I guess I can. But, my dad, he wouldn’t allow it. “You can’t get a boy friend until you are 18.” And that’s just too long. (Laughs)
Heart: I guess, he is just being protective.
AG: Yeah, he’s very protective. (Laughs)
Heart: Do you know how your parents met?
AG: I think my mom met him at a, like you know, a night club? And I guess my dad had asked her to dance and that’s how they met each other.
Heart: So cute. I guess, Latino music is kinda sorta, you know, good.
Heart: Do you have a favorite quote?
AG: Not really. (Laughs) My sister reads a lot of Manga, like Japanese comic books. So, she likes reads a lot of that. And whenever we go to book stores, she goes into that sections and, “Mom, buy me this book!” (Laughs)
Heart: Do you keep up with trends, how do you know what people are doing these days?
AG: I usually find it on social media. There’s this new trend called “The floor’s lava” and you have 5 seconds to go on something that’s not the floor, because if someone says the floor is lava, its means you have 5 seconds to run to a place that’s not the floor, because you can’t touch the floor anymore.
Heart: Wow. And they post videos of that?
AG: (Laughs) Yes, they post videos of that.
Heart: Kids are unbelievable.
Heart: So, I finally wish you can make it Emory. I think you will make it to Emory.
AG: I think so too. (Laughs)
Note: Before you rate this episode, please consider if you would’ve been so open and authentic about your own life. Earlier episodes available at The Anonymous Manifesto.
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