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Redwood City
Friday, February 23, 2024

Without the family

«In this life there are obstacles, yes, but nothing is impossible, it is about fighting day by day», Edwin Vásquez Sabán

By Misikir Melaku.

Imagine living in a place where you don't know the language, the people, the customs, anything. Surrounded by the unknown. This is the reality of Edwin Vásquez Sabán. 

Like many immigrants, Edwin came to this country “to get ahead,” to have a better future, to help his family and give them what he never had. 

At 19 years old he would be considered a new adult in the United States, but in his hometown, San Juan Sacatepéquez, Guatemala, he began to be one when he was driving at the age of 14: "he worked half a day and studied half a day." He did everything to help his eight relatives, including a seven-year-old sister. 

Leaving them was the hardest part of all. However, he says, "in this life there are obstacles, yes, but nothing is impossible, it's about fighting day by day." This is the advice he follows and uses to guide his life in the United States.

He arrived in the United States just seven months ago and lives with an uncle and cousin in Redwood City. Works at a nearby cultural center, Casa Circulo Cultural, in the visual arts department. Right now, he spends his days creating alebrijes for the upcoming annual Day of the Dead celebration, at the city's Palace of Justice Plaza. The theme is "animals that make music," and describes an impressive piano they have just made with a whale face on the front, elephant legs, decorated with crickets and painted in vibrant colors. 

Thinking about his childhood and this holiday, Edwin fondly remembers his family's annual tradition in Guatemala: going to the cemetery and honoring the dead. For example, he would leave flowers and food such as pumpkin or corn along with water or soda on his grandmother's grave. This year, participate in the holiday in a different way, by contributing to the Day of the Dead in your work, helping to pave a way for others to celebrate in the United States.

After his family, Edwin misses the food he grew up with. He simply says that "the tortilla here has an aroma that I don't like." He misses pinol, broth and pipián, foods that are served at different events and celebrations at home. One of them is her mother's birthday, which will be in a few days, and which she regrets missing for the first time. 

It is difficult for Edwin to be away from his family, but at the same time he is here for her, this is something he struggles with. 

Having been here in the United States for "such a short time," Edwin finds it difficult to say much about his relationship with American culture, but hopes to learn English so he will have more opportunities.

While he will soon celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas in Redwood City with his uncle and cousin, at the same time, he would like to maintain and share his culture through food at home, celebrations at church, and conversations with others. , so as not to lose his "Guatemalan roots."

You may be interested in: like a tree

Peninsula 360 Press
Peninsula 360 Presshttps://peninsula360press.com
Study of cross-cultural digital communication


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