Updated: Mar 19
Due to COVID, it's not easy to feel the warmth of home: fresh deditos out the oven, hugs from our mothers, or anecdotes from our grandfathers. Although it's difficult, I remember my conversations with different immigrants such as Martha in these moments. She never fails to bring me the warmth of an icy winter day.
Amidst the biting cold, I approached my school's front desk for my first shift as a temporary secretary. I set down my weighty books and began to answer phone calls. A woman rolled a squeaking cart filled with Fabuloso, the same product my mom used to clean my room back home. I pointed it out and introduced myself. With her vibrant smile, Martha told me her story of fleeing El Salvador's civil war and immigrating to the U.S.
Since that day, we'd spend part of the evening talking and laughing, despite her insisting that I do my school work. Martha would ask about my day while I helped her clean my school's classrooms. She'd tell me about her part-time jobs and adoration for Valdez coffee.
My connection with Martha has a different kind of value to me as a minority in the US. I consider Martha family and our evening conversations a home. After a long day at school stressing about my work, Martha's laughter and feelings of gratitude for living in the U.S. brought me to appreciate the value of my education and my journey as well.
Martha inspired "Voices of Migrants," which shows the courage behind migrants' stories. Though I couldn't see her during quarantine, sharing migrants' journeys reminds me of the crisp warmth I'd find in our conversations and Martha's gratitude during an icy winter day.