Experiencing Our Town:
In The Words of Women Immigrants in Columbus, Indiana
BY: Luz Michel
My name is Luz Elena Michel. I am proudly Mexican, from the capital of the world San Luis Potosí.
A few years ago my husband, Miguel Aranda, told me that they were offering him a job in the United States. Why would I want to live in another country? My life was perfect. I had a job that I loved, many plans to continue growing professionally. My family and friends were with me. Anyway... everything was perfect! Why change? Why leave everything and go to another country? Miguel promised me that the post would last only for a period of two years; well, it’s been 11 years and we are still here.
My husband had to come first, about two weeks earlier. A day before I had to take the plane to come here I called him at 3 am crying and told him that I did not want to go, that my life was perfect, that I didn’t want to leave my family, my country, friends, work, etc. I couldn’t believe that I was going to live in another country. After a long telephone conversation in the middle of the night, Miguel convinced me to come. The next day, I brought my bags and my dog and took the plane to Rocky Mount, NC. Passing customs (at the airport), one of the officers asked me why I was so sad. And at that moment I began to cry in front of him and told
I had always had the idea that customs officers are very serious and tough. The officer that attended to me behaved very sweetly and even comforted me so that I was not so sad. Arriving in Rocky Mount, I started to settle in. After a few days, I went to the library and there I met a very special woman. Her name is Mari Tere. She invited me to eat at her home because I was very sad. I accepted! When I told Miguel and my family about this invitation, all worried much because Mari Tere was twice my age, so she could have been my mom. And so it was... Since that day, Mari Tere adopted us as if we were her children. After three years, we have come to live in Columbus. Here, everything was easier. I already had an angel on my side that was my son. In addition to that I knew many people from San Luis Potosí who lived here.
In fact, one of my best friends from college now lives two blocks from my house. I am happy to live in a place where I can count on people who I already know, that understand me in my first language and my customs and traditions. Columbus is a great place - I think that is too small sometimes. But I have been received very well. Everyone in Columbus has been very kind to me. I like that people from around the world can be found simply on my street—just a few families are American. The rest of them are from Mexico, Japan, Scotland, India, etc.
My husband loves Columbus, so I think that Columbus will be my second home.