Living the best of both worlds

Shelby Papst, Staff Writer

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A flag beats to the wind, red and white stripes flying above beside the fifty white stars in a square of blue. A stark difference from the green and red stripes framing the brown eagle of her previous flag as she and her family ascended down the plane ramp into the airport of America. Her new life begins.

Luciana San Esteban is a sophomore who was born and raised in Mexico for eight years before coming to the United States. She’s lived half her life in the US and half in Mexico, and has become accustomed to both cultures and involving them in her everyday life.

“Even though I consider myself more Mexican, I still feel some American,” San Esteban said. “I think one of the best parts of being Mexican-American is that I get the best of both worlds.”

San Esteban feels as if American culture has influenced her life quite a lot despite her upbringing beginning initially in Mexico, but does not completely override her Mexican culture.

“American culture is a big part of my life, the way I learn at school and the way I talk to my friends is a lot more American than Mexican. My family still retains a lot of its Mexican culture, especially my parents,” San Esteban said.

San Esteban is the oldest of three sisters in a family of five who moved to Texas, both her sisters being raised in Mexico City as she was. San Esteban feels equally tied to Mexico and the US, shares a similar opinion as her middle sister, Maria Rene San Esteban.

“I think my sister is the same as me, both Mexican and American. I don’t think one culture overrides the other because on one hand we have our roots at Mexico, the basis of our cultural knowledge comes from Mexico,” Maria Rene said. “Because we lived here for such a crucial part of our upbringing, I believe America and its culture have also had a very big impact on both of us and because of that we also share a connection to the USA.”

America and Mexico have many differences culturally. How they interact with people, learn, and hobbies can be dependent on where they live. Many of Luciana’s sophomore friends such as Stephen Do and Teal Waid disagree.

“She is in Pre-Ap English yet English is her second language, which is funny yet kinda cool too,” Waid said. “She is really smart and works hard for her grades, and I don’t think that being from Mexico had anything to do with that. She gets better grades than I do and I’m from here. I don’t think that it really affects her life choices either.”

Do also sees Luciana more as a person who merely has grown up on different aspects of life.

“I think that the American culture has changed her by showing her new ideologies that may not be seen by people who have only experienced that way of life in a single place,” Do said. “I don’t think of her differently because to me all that really matters is your character, who you are as a person, and not where or how you were raised.”

Luciana’s sister Maria Rene thinks differently, in the sense American culture does make them different people.

“I think American culture has definitely structured the way my sister’s interests are directed. I believe the people that are part of this culture have also shaped the way she’s grown up and the way she sees herself is definitely reflected by the standards in our society,” Maria Rene said.

America is special in the sense that as a country it possesses people of many varying origins. Many argue that culture defines a person. However,  despite living in the United States presently, such as Luciana’s case, it’s the way others view her because of the fact that she’s Mexican.

“People will always learn based on the experiences that they have,” Do said. “The idea of a family and being loved by the people around are universal ideas.”

There are many difficulties with moving from one country to another and adapting to the new change of pace, such as discrimination and the attitude of the people Luciana has to interact with in everyday life.

“In Mexico, you have to watch yourself a lot more,” Luciana said. “As countries they both have problems, it’s what America is dealing with Trump now, except it has been happening in Mexico for a lot longer.”

Despite not being born on American soil, Luciana San Esteban and her family believe she is still living the American life, with the conclusion coming to America was the right choice in terms of her life despite her origin.

“In my family culture is a dynamic thing,” Luciana said. “We’re not American, but we are always some of both.”

Photo by Darcy Kanneman

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