Katelyn Yesenia Robalino

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Katelyn Yesenia Robalino is a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her major is Studio Art. She plans to become an art therapist or an art teacher. Robalino is an important interviewee because her mother and father both have different educational levels. Her mother has a communications degree, and this means that Robalino can relate academically to her. However, due to personality differences, she sometimes fails to connect with her mother. In contrast, Robalino's father did not receive an education. Even though sometimes she can't connect with her parents in terms of academics, she does relate to them through her Christian faith.



Katelyn Robalino: Oh it has to, can’t be longer than 45?
Antonio De Jesús Alanís: This is Antonio De Jesús Alanís interviewing Katelyn Yesenia Robalino, in the Stone Center Library in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It is April 10 2013. So, Yesenia, can you talk about your general family history, where your parents come from? And, just something general about that?
KR: OK so, my dad is from Ecuador, and he moved here when he was twenty-one when he married my mom. My mom was eighteen when she married him. My mom did grow up in the United States but her mom came from Ecuador to the United States when she was probably in her thirties. My mom’s dad, so my grandpa, my maternal grandfather he came to the United States from Puerto Rico when he was in his late teens probably. So she is a daughter of immigrants and I’m kind of the daughter of the immigrant, so that’s why I say I’m like one and a half generation, because it’s not really a like second generation, but it’s not really fist. It’s somewhere in between. So yeah.
AA: And your dad again, he is an immigrant from?
KR: Ecuador.
AA: And your mom is from? Can you talk about your mom now?
KR: Yeah, she grew up here. So she was born her and she grew up here but her mom came from Ecuador when she was in her thirties, like in her early thirties, and my mom’s dad so my maternal grandfather he came from Puerto Rico, when he was about, somewhere in his late teens I think, I think he came to New York. Yeah, that’s where they met.
AA: And now can you talk about their education?
KR: My grandparents?
AA: Your, sure, if you’d like to talk about--?
KR: I can talk about both of them. I mean like all of them
AA: Sure, do you feel that your parent’s education has affected you in some way? Or did your grandparents go to school?
KR: So the only one of out of the four grandparents, well my gran passed away when I was a freshman, like my mom’s mom but out of my four grandparent that I had only my grandpa. My dad’s dad, so my paternal grandfather he went to school and he finished school and I think he got his graduate or something. He’s like a vet, so he works in the farm and takes care of the animals, so he’s like the only professional. But my grandma she finished high school but she never went to college. Like my dad’s mom, so my paternal grandmother she finished high school and then my maternal grandmother she finished high school too. And my mom always told me that she was always proud of that, which is always interesting, but for us is it’s just high school, but for her I think, because she grew up in Ecuador and she was a woman probably in the 50s or the 6os I’m assuming that must have been a big deal, and so my mom says that she’s always proud of it, and she had her high school diploma out, because she as really happy that she graduated but her husband so my maternal grandfather he grew up in the country in Puerto Rico, so he’s not actually very educated at all. My grandpa only finished school up until third grade or fourth grade. When he writes me birthdate cards and stuff he writes in all capital letters. He doesn’t have that much education so yeah.
AA: Right, can you talk about your mom’s education?
KR: OK, so my mom because she got graduated because she graduated high school and then she got married the year after, she didn’t go to college because she got married and aid that’s what she did. My dad finished high school. He got left back in highs school for misconduct not for academic reasons. So he finished high school. He took a couple of classes in a community college in New York but he never like finished or anything. My mom when I was probably twelve or so, I was in middle school. No I was not twelve. Maybe I was like ten, she decided to enroll in school and you know try to get a degree. So she was in school for about two years and then when I was twelve we found out that she was pregnant with my sister, my younger sister, whose she’s like seven now. So she stopped going to school for that because when she was pregnant she was like: “Well, I should probably stop for a little while.” And of course things changed because was not in school for a really long time, probably for at least four years because we moved to North Carolina when I was fifteen and then we had to wait for her one year residency so you can get the instate tuition or whatever. She finally returned back to school and finished her two years when I was a junior and then she graduated when I was a senior to get her bachelors or whatever. I think it’s communications and she has a minor in journalism?
AA: Does she work in that field?
KR: No, my, my mom actually is a stay-home mom so she doesn’t. She’s actually trying to find a job now because I think she does want to work because our medical bills are kind of high because my dad got surgery in the summer. Yeah, so we do, she wants to do. She actually, the job’s that she’s had she’s been a certified translator for a little while now? She needs to go get it renewed actually, because she needs to get it renewed, like her certification. She was doing that; I guess it was like for related, not really though? She does Mary K like she’s the Mary K consultant, but mostly she’s just, I mean she does like being at home and spending time with my sisters because my sister is seven and my other sister is seventeen. So that’s kind of been like her main thing. I think we’ve been able to do that, so it’s OK. I think she definitely wants to kind of step into a more professional setting now that we’re older like Rachel, she’s getting more school-age and more independent.
AA: Can you talk about your dad’s education now and when he comes from?
KR: OK, so my dad grew up in Ecuador in Ambato, which is a small own; probably about two hours away from Quito and he I mean he went to high school and you know, like I said, he got left back twice for misconduct because he likes to mess around. I know my dad really likes science and he’s really good at math because right now he’s in mortgages and he processes loans and stuff. But he doesn’t really like it. He’s not enjoy it, but he knows he has to do it because he has to support us. So, that’s something that he’s doing to support us so that’s something that I really respect about him that even though he doesn’t really like it he still does it because you know he has to provide for his family. But I know that he would like to be doing something else. And I know that he does. My mom wants him to go to school and get a degree, at least like an associates or something, in something that he’s like interesting in. But I think that he’s a little bit discouraged about it and not as confident. He think it’s late for him you know. My dad’s he’s forty two or forty-three. But we would like to see him doing something else; because we know what he’s doing right now doesn’t make him happy necessarily.
AA: Now that we talked about your parent’s and their education background, can we talk about yours? Like what are you studying, what do you do?
KR: So I got here, I’m in UNC and my major is, I’m a double major, studio art and Italian is my other major. I didn’t actually come into college thinking I was coming to be a studio art major because I didn’t know what I wanted d do. I knew I wanted to do something creative because I did a lot of interior design projects in High School that I really liked and enjoyed. I thought I wanted do something in the interior design industry but I realized that it wasn’t really practical and not a very stable job outlook and so I came to college and I just knew that I wanted to learn Italian. So: “I’ll just make it a major, because language is not a difficult of a major. It’s definitely like an easy balance to add an easy major to it and I didn’t consider studio art at first because I didn’t think it was practical and I was very intimidated by the program because I figured like: “oh everyone here has taken art in high school. And must know what they’re doing.” But then I realized you know, if this is what I want to do and this is what I enjoy, and its’ something I think I would be good at and I have the capability to do, I should invest in that, and see where I am and my potential in that. And so I took my first studio art class ART 101 last semester and absolutely loved it and never felt so sure about something I enjoyed and just felt this is exactly where I want to be and where I know I’m supposed to be, and so that was really cool and yeah. I like my major so far.
AA: And which was this class that you fell in love with?
KR: ART 101. It’s like, I really liked my professor too. I felt that she really challenged us and really pushed us. And even though she wasn’t easy. Some people assume art it’s so easy. It’s a joke. No. It’s not. It’s actually really time consuming, a really huge investment, and money wise and time wise. Just like anything else is I think but she I always felt like she gave us a grade and told us what she wanted. Every grade that I got from here I felt she gave me what exactly what I had earned no more no less, I always felt like. When she said OK I had an A- this is why. OK I can see why. I understand, I can always like learn from what she was telling me. She wasn’t a teacher like I don’t understand why I got a B on this. You know you have those professors and you’re just frustrated because you feel that there’s nothing that I can do, like I’m not learning from those experiences. I never felt like that in that class. I don’t remember what that class us called. It’s called “Idea and Form” it’s a hybrid kind of studio art class because it’s a lot of contemporary art history, staring from the early 20th century and like on. from on and on to the twenty-first century but then you also do projects based on the time periods that we studied. I really, thought that was a good class.
AA: So can you talk about when you decided to become an art, an Italian double major, what were your parent’s response to that? Did they have any response to this?
KR: Yeah, I mean my mom’s always just, she’s actually doesn’t she wants me to change my major, the Italian major, she just doesn’t think that, she jus says that: “You don’t have to major in Italian to learn Italian, you can do that in your own time.” She doesn’t necessarily think that I need to make a major out of it. We actually got into an argument about it a couple of weekends ago and it was not fun. She just doesn’t-- because I’m not sure that I will be able to graduate on time that’s the thing as well, but that’s only because the studio art major is so many hours it’s not because o the Italian major which she doesn’t understand. I mean they’ve always known that I like doing creative stuff, and just being creative, because I really do like to write as well. I took a creative writing class last semester that I really liked and I thought of doing that minor but it’s really competitive so I changed my mind. But, I know, they were pretty happy about it, I mean. I think for them it’s as long as they see that I’m doing--, because I guess our spiritual life is really important to us, so they always say that: as long as we see you that you’re living in God’s will, and like that you’re doing what he wants you to do, that’s all we want for you. I think that’s pretty cool, in that sense it’s cool to see my parents. I know they appreciate seeing me like live out. What they feel is what God’s calling me to do and so. They’ve always liked the stuff, like I told you. I always send them pictures of what I’m doing, they get exited about it. I know my mom always just tells us, “Hey, we’re proud of you.” And stuff. She says it a lot. My first year, I think it was because she really missed me; “ Hey just wanted to let you know that we’re proud of you. We love you, we really miss you, wish you were here.” OK, I felt kind of bad, I actually, I’m so glad I’m not at home because I mean I miss my parents and stuff. I do miss them sometimes, but I like being here too. So it’s kind of hard, that contrast.
AA: So your parents are not like other parents who judge their children based on what they do. For instance, they do something in a language, they major in, I don’t know, Spanish and they’re questioning them: “What are you going to do with that? Have they ever asked you anything about that?
KR: Yeah, I mean, I think my mom wasn’t too worried because she thought that I might figure it out. I was only a freshmen last year, so she knew that I had an Italian major but that that would very well change, and of course it did. I mean, she, yeah, she didn’t just want me to be an Italian major. She knew that I was already thinking about adding a major, I just wasn’t sure what that was yet. So yeah she wasn’t too worried about it I think at the time. She’s a little more worried right t now because if I major in both she thinks that I will have to take summer classes, an summer classes are a lot of money, she doesn't want me to take loans out. Like I don’t think it’s worth it to, so--That’s where we’re having our rift. It’s financial stuff.
AA: So now, how do you involve your parents in what you do? Apart from feeling supported?
KR: I wish, gosh. I really do wish I could involve them more because I do feel bad because I just, I kind of expect them. I mean I don’t do this in purpose since I talk about my art to all my friends all the time; and since I see my friends all the time I just kind of just forget that I don’t, forget that I’m not as detailed with my parents about what I’m doing. Oh: “here’s this assignment that I got today.” Because, I don’t talk to them as often. I try to talk to them like once a week. But I don’t always, but I feel bad, but when I do see them. A couple of weekends a go they were here. They came to the art lab to visit me, to see what I was doing. And they were just always asking me all these questions: “Oh what’s that do, what’s that? I don’t know, I just use this space, but it doesn’t men that I know everything about the building. It’s like you going being in a classroom and like die. And someone comes in, oh what is this office? I don’t know anything about the building? I just take classes in here? It doesn’t mean that I’m an expert. I just lost my patience with them. My mom was just upset at me and jus thought I was being rude. I mean I was, but she was also being annoying. Yeah, I don’t think I involve them as much as should and I wish I did but I don’t know how most kind of you know?
AA: Do you feel that the reason you don’t involve them a lot is because you have different educational backgrounds?
KR: I feel like that with my dad sometimes, I guess more with my dad because like I said he only--. Like I said, English is his second language. I feel like it’s harder to communicate with him sometimes and I do speak Spanish it’s just that I’m not used to speaking it all the time any more, like I use to, which is really bad because I need to practice. I think with my mom it’s a little different because she did go to college and has seen a little bit what college life is like. So sometimes I feel that I can talk to her a little bit more about stuff. But then other times like what I said, it seems like it’s hard because she’s not a studio art major or she was this CR this major, or anything art related. My parents aren’t really artsy inclined. Which I’m not really sure where I got that from to be honest. Neither of my parents are like, my dad is really good at math, he’s good at organization. So I guess that’s a skill. My mom is just a mess, like organizational wise. She has, she doesn't have her stuff together so they’re kind of opposite that way. I don’t know where I got my arts skills then. Somewhere in between that I guess.
AA: Now when you were in high school, how were you parents involved in your education. I’m talking about when you were applying to school? Were they supportive? Did they know what do to? Did they give you advise?
KR: Yeah, I mean, it’s been a big help and like starting college stuff was my aunt and uncles so my dad’s my mom’s brother whose in California I think they’re the only people in my close extended family that are professionals like they’ve gotten graduate school. Like they’re very successful. So he went to community college for two years, and then he went to UCLA and for graduate school he went to NYU. So he was probably one of the first people in my life that was like: "Hey college is very important.” My parents have been too, but at that point my mom hadn’t even finished her four-year-degree. It’s hard to take advise from someone who hasn’t been it that position yet. Probably I remember, I remember the first time I started thinking about college seriously in high school when he took me on. He invited me to stay with them in San Francisco and we went to see Stanford and Berkley. So that was really cool. To actually see. You know, picture yourself in college, which I feel like. I mean my parents are, as much as my mom did take me, my mom as really more involved, my dad was just because of my dad works, and because you know he was working. You know, he’s the bread winner. My mom stay -home mom and that was kind of what she did "Hey, you know this is important. She’s always said school is important. So she did, she was very supportive I think in high school. I think it was easier for her to be supportive because I was like there, living in their house so she was always like making sure I was doing my homework. I just remember when I was, especially when I was younger in elementary school we were only allowed to watch TV on Fridays. Like one show. Because she didn’t want us washing TV. She made us read a lot when I was younger. She really likes to read too. My mom has always been more involved because she has been more involved because she’s been there more than my dad. But she’s been supportive, especially when I was applying for colleges. She just wanted to make sure that I was getting the most financial aid that I could and I mean, I didn’t apply to that many schools you know, I told her that if I didn’t into the schools that I wanted, I was just going to go into community colleges. She was OK, but I’d rather, for us it’s always been all about the money. As long as you know we’re saving the most money and you’re not getting into debt, because she doesn’t think it’s good to get into debt so young, especially for undergraduate, because undergraduate is not as important as grad school. And I feel that people put to so much emphasis, but it’s really not worth it to take out basically a mortgage for your undergraduate education, that’s not what, like no. I don’t. You’ve never thought that was a good idea. So that’s been something we’ve been on the same page on I think for the most part. So yeah, in high school I was that just always what you know we wanted to get a scholarship and not have to worry about your undergraduate paying off, a bunch of money.
AA: Since you mentioned graduate school, are you contemplating on continuing into higher education, after four years here?
KR: Yeah, I mean I definitely do, I don’t know if I want to do t right away. I might, I think, there’s some stuff I might want to do before. I just hope that I don’t get like you know you know how a lot of people leave school and then its’ hard for them to go back that’s what I heard. That’s what people take me to not take a huge break. But yeah, I think I would like to go to graduate school. Maybe take like a year or two off in between. I would like to? Studio art is too specific I think I’d want to do something like you know more general. You know, in like a professional career. I don’ t want to be like an artist. That’s what I don’t want to do.
AA: Ah, you don’t want to be an artist?
KR: Yeah,
AA: So, what would you like to work on?
KR: Well, I mean I picked to be a studio art major because I originally thought I would like to work in like doing art therapy stuff because I do also enjoy, really enjoy working with kids. And I think, but I do like being creative, but I don’t want to be creative just for the sake of creating art. Which I know, art helps people but more something hands on I guess. I think you know art therapy would provide that opportunity but I’m also looking at art education, like being an art teacher or something. So that would be like two career fields that I’m looking into for graduate school.
AA: When you were applying for, let’s go back to your education, when you were applying for college. Were your parents concerned about distance where the school was? Was it more about the money? Did it matter for them that you went to live somewhere else, in another state?
KR: I don’t think it would have mattered. My mom yeah, they would be sad. They’d only be sad because they’d miss me a lot. It was scary because I’m the first kid to go away to college and no one else in my extended family has gone away to college. So this is kind of a big deal, and I never thought about that before. Because, I mean, all of my cousins are younger than me, on my dad’s side. My older cousin on my mom’s side dropped out of high school, or had their GEDs, so I’m like the first kid to go away to college, like actually go away to a state university. You know, I don’t know anyone else who has done that so. Yeah I think for them it was of the things, money was the first thing. Distance was the second. I mean I know that if I’d gotten a scholarship to somewhere that was like in another state they would have been OK with it because my sister now, she applied to three schools out of state and the only school that she applied in state was Chapel Hill. But she didn’t get any good financial aid from the other schools. She actually applied to Berkeley. So she wouldn’t have gone there because like I said money was most important. They would have been sad if I liked moved somewhere really far. I think if I’d gotten a full ride they would have been like: “ you need to take that opportunity. That’s if you’re, that’s not something you an just get every day.” So.
AA: ( ) Now going back to your parents, do you ever feel there’s a gap between you because of their personal immigrating histories? You mentioned that your mom was born here, but she comes from immigrant parents herself, and your dad’s an immigrant from Ecuador? Do you ever feel there’s a gap between? This immigration, emigrating from another country to here? Does that ever make you feel that it affects that?
KR: Yeah, I mean. I think more from my dad more from my mom. My mom did grow up here. She’s kind of seeing both sides of it. Like I told you, my dad is like it’s not that he doesn’t understand English he does, but he processes things a lot better in Spanish. And so, it’s like. Sometimes I have to say things two or three times. He’ll be like, “So, oh” Oh, that’s literally what I just, literally just said that. That’s also how my dad’s is. My dad’s kind of like, he gets distracted a little bit. He kind of stays in his own world. So I feel that he doesn’t listen to me. But that’s my dad’s personality, like even in Spanish, I’ll be talking like dad, are you like not paying attention? That might be just how my dad is. But yeah, sometimes I definitely feel like a gap. At least education wise. Not like in other aspects, like definitely. Education wise. I mean, it’s not like I can sit here and talk to him about my classes in depth or anything. I don’t know. I feel that like I’ll tell them what I’m doing and tuff. I feel like I can only keep his attention span for so long? My mom like can, can talk to her more about it. Not with my dad so much.
AA: How does it make you feel, not being able to connect with your dad as much as you would connect with your mom?
KR: I mean, I feel bad. I wish I could. I know there’s other ways I can connect with my dad. Like not education related, like, I’d said because we are Christians and that’s a really big part of our lives. And so like I think that spiritually, we connect sometimes more. Like that’s how we connect more, because he’d be like ask me how I’m doing in that sense and I tell him like oh “ this is what I read in the bible.” We’d talk about a sermon that we listened to and we really liked and he send me sermons. So yeah, but it sucks that I feel that sometimes I can’t share part of my life with him or he doesn’t necessarily understand it all the way. And I wish that he did. It’s also I don’t make a conscious effort like if I were a little bit more patient, I think I could. You know. I think he’d be willing to listen, but also he loses attention really quickly sometimes. My mom knows that and so she kind of also encourages me to like include my dad and you know. If he wants to know about what’s going on in your life, like even if he doesn’t necessarily understand. He still wants to know because he cares about you. So. Yeah.
AA: And now can you talk a little bit more to your connection to your mom academically?
KR: No no, no, no, no. You’re good. I’m trying to think of something that I didn’t say. I guess since she did go college, she didn’t go away from college but since she graduated from college, like she understands a little bit more a little bit more about how the system works, like getting gen eds done, and like. You know like finishing trying to finish your major on time and stuff. So, I feel that sometimes I can talk to her about that because you know, right now. I still have a philosophy credit to finish, and so I’m like telling her like “ oh my God, there’s all these philosophy classes that are like being offered and none of them look good.” but I still have to finish my philosophy major, my philosophy credit I mean. And she’s just like: “Yeah, I took this class and it wasn’t very fun.” You know, it’s just something that you just kind of have to do. Get it over with. Whereas my dad, he does that: “well philosophy what’s all that about? “Well the general education requirements of college are blah, blah, blah. Like all these general education requirements that he doesn’t know about. So it’s easier with my mom in that sense. Like I said, neither of them are, or had any experience with like art too much other than what the stuff I did in high school, in like supporting me in interior design stuff. Yeah, I don’t know if that answers your question.
AA: Sure. Another question that I might have is. To whom do you credit your academic success so far?
KR: To whom?
AA: Yes.
KR: Oh, that’s hard.
AA: It can be various reasons, various people.
KR: Yeah, I mean it’s definitely various people. I think my mom probably, majority. I mean my dad definitely because it’s hard because I know that it’s not his fault. That he can’t be there because he did have to work. But a lot of it is my mom like I said. She’s always loved to read and she’s always thought that was important and like I said we were younger we couldn't watch that much TV because she thought it was important that we should get our work done first. So then, she, I think that she wanted to instill that ethic, that work ethic in us. Yeah, definitely my mom definitely teachers that I’ve had who have looked after me, and just that I’ve really admired and looked up to. Just to, just a select few, just probably a couple of—from top of my head--right now. And like I guess, God. I don’t, I mean, that definitely be something just because like I said I am a Christian and that’s a huge part of my life and like I know, I know that this is something you know. I’m called to do everything in Christ and I know that if I want something, like if I know, if I’m living in his will I shouldn't just be like half doing something, I should be doing it all for him and for his glory. If I want to do something for his glory it shouldn’t be something just half way done, it should be done well because that’s what’s pleasing to him. So yeah.
AA: So now, have you addressed to your dad about your feelings sometimes? About how sometimes you feel disconnected? A little, academically?
KR: No, I’ve never have I think I feel like it’s probably something that we both feel but we never talk about it. It’s kind of hard to talk to my dad sometimes. Yeah, but I’ve told him that’s how I feel. I probably should though. I feel that it would open communication better.
AA: Now can we talk about, you mention you have a sister? And her name is again?
KR: I have two sisters, so my younger sister, two younger sisters Naomi is seventeen and she’s a senior. She’s coming here next year actually. So I’m really exited about that and. And my youngest sister Rachel is seven. So she’s in second grade. And she’s living it. Yeah.
AA: And now, this is just your perception about their relationships to their, to your mom and dad. Do you see any similarities between your sisters being able to communicate to your mom differently than with your dad?
KR: Yeah, I think so. Especially for Naomi more because she’s you know going away to college now. She gets frustrated with my mom for different reasons because sometimes, it’s not something, I don’t know if it’s a problem that I had maybe I did have it because I’m the first child so there’s also that aspect of you know, first child versus second child. I think she feels like our mom just likes me more, which is not true. She just has rifts with my mom more than I do because she’s there and she’s a little bit sassy. I’m not that sassy. I’m not like atrevida like that. She say something to my mom, like why did you say that? That’s not a good idea, why would you do that? Anyway, I know that, when I was talking to my sister a few weekends ago, or last weekend when they came to visit me. She was just saying how, she knows how mom is going to be really annoyed at her because they’re getting their report cards soon and she had an A in a class and she’s just did poorly in one exam because she didn’t study and though she got a high B, so that brought her grade down to a high B, whereas her grade in that class was a low A. and so She knows “I can get it back up again.” But on the report card it’s going o say that it went from an A to a B. So mom’s going to be like “What happened? Why did you do that?” So that’s one example specifically. But I don’t know about Rachel as much just because she’s so much younger. But she’s also the third child so that’s another aspect that plays differently. I feel that my parents tried very hard being very structured with us, but as with Rachel, she’s like so spoiled. She gets, I mean, she does, she’s told us get all her homework done before she watches TV. But she watches more TV than I ever did. But that’s also because she’s growing up alone, she’s almost like a lone child, she has nobody her age in her house to play with. For me and my sister always had each other, so that was a little bit different I think. So that’s like an aspect that plays into that I think.
AA: And now with Naomi and your father, how does he, like what’s the relationship right now, for instance when she was applying to come to UNC-Chapel Hill. How did your dad play a role in her life at that moment?
KR: Actually, I’m not sure. I don’t know because she doesn’t complain. Well the thing is that me and my sister when we talk to teach other we complain about my mother a lot so we can vent about that. But we don’t really complain about dad as much because my dad is pretty chill. Like he kind of goes with the flow. And I know that’s he’s exited for us to be at the same school because I’ll be here, and I’m exited for her to come, I’ll be looking out for her, you know, then they can just come to the same place when they visit their kids, so that’s kind of convenient for them I think. But, I know that he wanted her to come here. They didn’t want her to go away to California, so they’re happy that she’s coming her. I don’t know if he played such a big role you know, doing anything specific actually. That’s more of my mom’s thing like I said because does stay at home, so she’s kind of at our backs about school stuff more than our dad can be just because he can’t like I said, because he works.
AA: Sometimes, you mentioned, and it’s very curious that you used the word atrevida, in Spanish, about your sister, when she’s saying something she’s not supported to say according to you. Why would you use the word in Spanish and not something in English?
KR: Wait.
AA: You said something very out there, she has audacity to say something, but you used a word in Spanish, which was very curious of you to use. Why would you use a word in Spanish and not in English to express the same?
KR: I don’t know. I just feel that there’s some words in Spanish that explain stuff—they don’t , there’s not word for English for them. I know that audacity is kind of the word, but it’s not the same thing. There are some words, like desesperada, too I feel that’s not a word for like it’s like anxious but like not really anxious; you know. I don’t know. I feel that sometimes Spanish is better expressing like emotions, better than English just that English is sometimes ehh.
AA: And you speak Spanish? But not as much as you used to? And you spoke Spanish when?
KR: Spanish was definitely my first language, I think of course my dad. When I was really little his English was not as good. Like the first job he had, he didn’t speak English at all. Also, I remember he telling me when he would order his lunch he would just point at the things that he wanted on his burger because he couldn’t speak English, he would just say that, that that. They didn’t, he didn’t talk to the people that he ordered from. I spoke English. I spoke Spanish first, and they tried to put me in a ESL course actually because I never, I knew English I just never had to speak it, so I didn’t. So my mom put, I think in my pre-K, Spanish was my first language. No, she had to argue: “She speaks English just that we don’t speak English at home that often. it's not that I couldn’t, I just didn’t because I didn’t need to. So I know my Spanish was pretty good. I went to school and then didn’t need to speak Spanish as much, and especially when I got older probably when I was in like middle school, high school I didn’t need to use it as much. Although we went a couple of times to Ecuador and that always helps because, I think I just need to practice. Like if I just practiced, like I was forced to use it and it would get better and it would be fine. And then we moved to North Carolina, which it makes a huge difference because we moved in in New York until I was fifteen, and all of our fiends were Hispanic, we went to bilingual church, and so I didn’t have any friends that were white. All of my friends ethnic I guess. Most of them were Hispanic, so I always needed to use Spanish because a lot of our friends, family friends don’t speak any English either. I think that’s different, here especially for my youngest sister Rachel growing up because growing up, none of her friends, most of her friends aren’t Hispanic. We do have some family friends that are. She’s never been forced to speak Spanish like we had, which it was kind of a necessity, whereas for her it’s just there, but she doesn’t need to and she doesn’t. She’s not really willing to which is really sad for me to see her lose that ability to speak Spanish.
AA: OK, so. When you moved to, this is just going to be like a general question about what you think, when you moved from New York to North Carolina, you mentioned that you had Hispanic friends, did you meet any of your friends who were first generation college-bound students, and did you ever head about, I don’t know about their experience with their parents because they didn’t go to school themselves?
KR: Like here in North Carolina or New York?
AA: Hispanic friends here in north Carolina.
KR: No, I don’t actually have that many Hispanic friends. It makes me sad, I should. I have a few, but most of them, I feel that the people that I have met that are Hispanic, and their parents are professionals have gone to college. I haven’t met anybody. I haven’t met an, many first-generation college students actually in general. Just Latinos ones, but I’m also not involved in the Latino like the CHISPA stuff, or anything like that. No, I guess, probably not. I haven’t thought about it, until like now when you asked me to interview.
AA: So now, let’s just talk about, in a general way. How do you feel that in a family that parents haven’t been to school, or just didn’t go to school in their home countries and now they have children who are now in college and they’re are studying something. How would you feel their relationships would be?
KR: I don’t know. I mean, for me it’s been OK for the most part. Like I think. Even though my parents don’t always understand, they’re very supportive because it is definitely a spiritual thing living in God’s will and as long as they know that’s what I’m doing, they’re supportive of that. Maybe for other families where spiritual, I guess I could see where that would be hard, when I talk to my aunt and uncle they’re not very religious or into their spirituality. They’re culturally catholic. But they’re for me they’re just like: “all we want to see you is, all we want you to be successful, it’s all I hear from them. “You have to be successful, you know, make a good income and have a good like, social economic status and just be with that, but my parents that’s never something that my parents have said to do, like “We want you to be successful and make,” because I think they define success differently than what we do because success isn’t about making money, you know, having all this wealth or success necessarily. It’s living out as we’re supposed to be living as Christians. Loving people. Which you know, before doing God will honor that. So it probably is different for most people because I know I’ve been very blessed with that. Bu I could see how that could be really hard. Because people, like I said they wouldn’t understand, that’s not something they could identity with maybe necessarily.
AA: So, would you like to give us a last thought or a last anecdote or something just to end the interview? Some last thought you might have, something you might have forgotten to say?
KR: I don’t know you have to ask me a question to prompt me because I’m not really sure.
AA: I think I have most of my questions sadly. So, this is the end of the interview. This is Antonio De Jesús Alanís and I just interviewed Katelyn Yesenia Robalino, and today it’s April 10 2013.