Even though we were told about pickpocketers and scams locals used on tourists, I got tricked into one. As we were walking up the hill to the Cathedral in Granada to meet with our tour guide. I was stopped by a lady who handed me a rosemary branch and said

“un regalo para ti” a gift for you,

Me being unaware of what was happening I took it. Then she proceeded to ask me where I was from.

“California,” I said.

She then grabs my hand and says

“Ahhh okay, tus papás están orgullosos y tienes todo el apoyo con lo que decidas hacer, no hay nada que ellos no crean que puedas hacer! Te van esperar con un regalo cuando regreses” (Your parents are proud of what you’re doing, you have their support on whatever you decide to do, there is nothing that you can’t do. They have a gift waiting for you when you get back.)

“Aver la otra Mano” (let me see your other hand)

“Veo que en el amor te han lastimado pero no te preocupes que alguien te va hacer olvidar todo.” (I’ve seen you have been hurt when it comes to love, but someone will come along and make you forget everything from the past.)

Once she was done she says “I don’t ask for anything but I’ll take whatever you want to give me” in Spanish.

I hand her my coins because that is all I have. She then says “It’s bad luck to give me coins but I have change”

I tell her “Coins are all I have”

And at that moment, Nuria (a program specialist) comes and tells me “We have to go!”

I walk away and meet with the rest of the group.

Knowing Spanish has been a big help in communicating. This interaction made me feel a little different, I was feeling a little down. It was nice to hear my parents are proud but it also made me think.

Then a conversation with Nuria. (our program specialist) helped me feel better

Nuria asked me how I was feeling.

The only way I could answer was “drained” but I feel guilty being here because my parents are immigrants. I’m not sure if they’ll ever get to experience what I’m seeing firsthand. Every time I talk to my dad on the phone he says the same thing

“Todo esta muy bonito” (everything is beautiful over there).

My mom’s question before I hang up is “aver Que nos enseñas mañana” (let’s see what you’ll show us tomorrow).

Nuria reminded me that they must be super proud! (Which they are) I still wish they could visit though.

Nuria then told me about her experience with college and how her parents struggled to help her go to school so she could have a better future. (Something my parents did when they crossed the border).

Nuria sharing her experience reminded me that our parents made sacrifices for us in hopes we will get ahead in life. This conversation reminded me why I’m here and how nothing can take this experience away from me. I worked hard and so did my parents. This conversation is important to me because it made me feel great and made me more aware of my family’s sacrifices for my brothers and me. While we have each other, they haven’t seen their parents in years. It’s only been a few weeks for me and I can’t wait to hug them. I wonder how they feel. This is a fantastic experience and I can’t wait for the stories I’ll be able to share with them when I get back (and pictures).

This emotion was not something I planned for or prepared for! Everyone talks about being excited and about being nervous but the guilt would have never crossed my mind.

Also after my conversation with one of the professors I realized that my parents want me to go to college they want me to have these experiences. Not only are they living through me but my accomplishments are theirs as well. They won’t forget and I sure won’t either.

This is all for them!