From an outside perspective, the life of an immigrant seems extremely difficult. Venturing around a foreign country without documentation and taking only the jobs you can find (which aren’t many) doesn’t exactly sound like Shangri-La. But even with the lack of money that our parents can potentially make, many of us first generation kids can find wealth in different aspects of life.
Speaking from a Mexican point of view, the types of food that we have at the ready are worth dying for. I cannot count the number of times I cried due to pure happiness because my mom cooked tacos. My monstrous hunger is consistently tamed by the simplicity of beans, meat, and tortillas.
If somebody was to simply drive around the east side of Los Angeles it wouldn’t be long until they found people selling varieties of foods and treats on the streets. I have cousins that live in Irvine who drive all the way over to East L.A. just to get some “real tacos.”
There’s just no denying that Mexican foods are popular all over the United States. We have fast food chains like Taco Bell inspired by Mexican food favorites that are found across our country. Now obviously first generation individuals aren’t the only ones who can enjoy foreign food, but it’s nice to know that our country is the reason that so many people have smiles on their faces while they eat.
Contrary to the rest of America, many people who live in East L.A. like to go outside of the house every once in while. Unless it’s raining, it wouldn’t be uncommon to drive around the city and find people on the streets enjoying the day. There’s families walking to the market, kids riding their bikes on sidewalks, and the occasional soccer game that’s happening in the middle of the street.
It’s sad to say that as of lately people just don’t enjoy the outside anymore. There just seems to be a different attitude here in East L.A. that looks down upon people who spend their entire day indoors instead of getting a little sunlight.
East L.A. is composed of primarily first generation students and because we’re all the same it’s hard to see what makes any of us special. Indeed, many here grow up with little opportunity, little money, and little to look forward to and thus it’s easy to forget how rich in culture we are compared to the rest of the country when our wallets are empty. Our lives are surrounded by poverty, but the culture we adopt from our parents almost makes up for that.