María Ruiz

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Maria Ruiz discusses her life growing up, and her family’s migratory experience from El Salvador to the United States. Maria talks about her parents’ motives for migrating and how their reasons resemble current motives from Latin American immigrants, the primary factor being economic self-improvement. She says that her parents never talk about their personal journey crossing the border because they do not want her to worry about their past. She also discusses how dangerous El Salvador can be because of the Mara Salvatrucha, a very violent street gang that is centered in this country. Maria discusses how the gang robbed a family friend. She then progresses to talking about the journeys of her parents. Both of her parents grew up without their parents and she discusses how they overcame many obstacles. Maria ends this interview discussing the different social dynamics she and her parents have experienced in the United States.



Luis Acosta: Hello, This is Luis Acosta. The day is March 10th, 2015. The time is 10:24 pm. We are in Carmichael residence hall, the 4th floor in a room and I’m here with Maria Ruiz.
Maria Ruiz: Mhmm.
LA: So to start off Maria, can you tell me a little bit about yourself and also thank you for being here today, taking the time to do this.
MR: Yeah, no problem. So my name is Maria Ruiz. I’m currently from Henderson, North Carolina and I attend UNC- Chapel Hill.
LA: Can you tell us maybe what your major is and like what you’re involved in with on campus.
MR: As of now I’m majoring in nursing and I volunteer at two or an elementary school where I go and help children out to improve their English or Spanish. Also, go to a school to help adults that are non-native English speakers improve their English.
LA: Ok. Maria, can you tell us maybe where you were born?
MR: I was born in Oxford, North Carolina but I grew up in Henderson, North Carolina.
LA: How is it growing up in Henderson, North Carolina, or like why did you move from Oxford to Henderson?
MR: Well, I think at that time when my mom was about to have me, she was in Oxford so I guess the hospital that was nearest to her was in Oxford. I mean, Henderson was the original place that my parents immigrated to when they came from El Salvador. Let’s see… yeah, I remember also living with my aunt for a couple of years, or a couple of months in Roanoke Rapids because at that time my mother was still in El Salvador and my dad was working. So I stayed with her for a while… my aunt for a while.
LA: And your dad was working in El Salvador?
MR: Oh no. My dad was already in the US and he was working just at a Chinese restaurant.
LA: He was working in Henderson? So like he couldn’t, I guess, take care of you?
MR: Well I was, I was like four years old so. Ok so my dad came to the US first and then two years later, my mother came and she had me. Then, when I was about three years old or four, three to four years old, they decided to go back to El Salvador because they thought that they had gained enough money to go build a house in El Salvador. But then when they were in El Salvador, they realized that the situation, la situacion en que ellos estaban no era facil. They ran out of money. I mean, they built the house but they needed a job so my dad decided to go back to the US and my mom stayed for, stayed in El Salvador. I left with my dad to the US and so for a couple of months my dad was working and he didn’t have [SIC] …. I guess my aunt took care of me, while my mother came to the US. Yeah… then a couple of months later, my mom came.
LA: Ok. So were you ever in El Salvador at any of those times or did you ever live there? Because…?
MR: …Yeah, I lived there for a year because when I was three, when I was three years old we, we went back to El Salvador. We lived there for a year but during that year, my parents thought “Ok, yeah. We need to go back to the US because we need more money, we needed stable job.” [SIC] They wanted a better life for me because they knew that if I stayed, we stayed in El Salvador, it was going to be a little chance that I would go to school, have an education, and obviously [00:05:00] they wanted a better life for me, so we went back. I only lived in El Salvador for like a year.
LA: Do you remember any of that? You might not because you were kind of young, but I’m just curious.
MR: Yeah. I do. I remember fighting a lot with my cousin. She was at around my age. She’s… I’m twenty and she’s twenty too. We’re the same age. That time, we were three or four and used to argue all the time, but me and her were so close. I remember when my grandpa once had, he had bought us boots, identical boots. I saw that he gave her, her pair of boots first and I got really jealous. I think I did something mean to her and I think I broke her toy. A few minutes later, my grandpa comes out with my shoes and I was just like, really happy because I thought that my grandpa wasn’t going to give me anything. I remember that really clearly and I remember when I used to go to get tortillas with her when I was little. At one of those times, I remember my mom used to tell me “no le vayas agarrar dulces a ninguna persona que no conoces porque si agarras un dulce, te puedes morir.” I used to… so when she told me that, I made sure that I did not get any candy from anyone. Actually, she was like if I grab the candy, que me iban a robar. So then, I actually asked her a few weeks ago. I said “mom why did you used to tell me not to grab candies from strangers?” she was like “because during that time, estaban robando los ninos. Entonces si agarraba un dulce era una manera de traer los ninos y llevarselos.” Yeah, that’s why she told me not to grab any candies.
LA: So why did your parents migrate from El Salvador to begin with?
MR: I guess for the same reasons many come to the US. To find better, find financial stability because a lot of my dad’s side came to the US and I guess they were living better than in El Salvador. Yeah, that was their primary reason, my father’s reason. Then my mom came along with him.
LA: Does your journey to crossing over, was it dangerous like how a lot of undocumented Mexicans do it? Was it similar to that or was it a different process? [SIC]
MR: Well, actually my parents don’t… I wonder that all the time. They don’t really talk about their experience while crossing the border. I guess it’s because it’s just so, so tragic. I don’t know. They did mention my uncle’s journey to the US, because he recently came to the US and they were talking about how durante el camino, he got really, really skinny. He didn’t eat. He was dehydrated. I don’t know, they don’t really talk about it which, I guess they don’t want to remind themselves of what they went through. I guess it’s pretty bad. They actually did cross illegally or undocumented to the United States.
LA: The journey seems similar to what a lot of people from Mexico do in Central America then. So going off of that, I was wondering maybe like, I don’t know if you’ve seen much of this in the news, how gang violence and the Maras, have you like, I guess is it prevalent in El Salvador or is it more of just a lot of hype from the media?
MR: No. It’s actually very prevalent. I remember I went actually around four years ago to, or actually about six years ago. The first time I went after a long time, to go visit my family again with my mom and my sister, [00:10:00] we were sleeping or staying in one of my aunt’s house. Like around 5, 6 am in the morning, we hear, como se dice, gun shots. It’s outside. I remember my aunt frantically went and closed all the doors and the windows. Later that day, we found out that someone was shot in the neighborhood across from where my aunt lived. I guess there was no really, there was no known reason but they did know that the Mara Salvatrucha was involved. I remember going to the funeral that night. Also, actually my aunt, who lives here in the US, went to El Salvador a couple of years ago. One of her friends was driving in a car and they got stopped by la Mara Salvatrucha. They told the man to stop, to get out the car, to hand in everything he had. He had on him his wallet. My aunt’s friend was a US citizen. They were visiting El Salvador, so he had everything in there his identity, his credit card, debit cards, and he had cash on him as well. He had to turn in everything but luckily he apparently had his passport with him so they weren’t… He managed to wait to not turn, to not give in everything to them, and keep the passport. I remember he said that they were like they had a gun to his forehead and told him that if he didn’t turn in everything he had, they were gonna shoot him right there. He says that he, he knew he felt that someone was spying and following him and so when he got stopped, they asked for everything. Yeah, it is very prevalent and it’s more dangerous nowadays. I actually have a couple of friends, well not friends, but people that I know that are in the Mara Salvatrucha. So yeah…You can’t walk in El Salvador being, feeling safe. I remember when I went, about four years ago, everywhere… it’s just the atmosphere, that environment feels so dangerous to me. I don’t know if it’s just because coming from the U… and also because they know. I feel like people there can tell that I am from the US. I probably act differently, speak differently, I don’t know… dress differently so they have, they know that I’m not from, like I don’t live in El Salvador. It’s just, you get all these stares from a lot of people. So yeah…
LA: Do you think the Mara Salvatruchas are reasons maybe your parents left at the beginning, or were they not around at that time?
MR: Well, I’m not sure. I know that my mom, when she was young, like really young, four years old, durante ese tiempo estaba la guerra, a war in El Salvador. I don’t know what the actual name of the war was. Guerras del El Salvador? Like 19… 1980’s I’m guessing. During that time, vinieron los guerrilleros, is that what you would say, and they destroyed everything they had. My grandpa, she used to live with my grandpa, because my mother’s father died when she was like three. Oh yeah, actually that’s also interesting because they killed my mother’s father thinking… they killed… pero they mistaken him for a different person. [00:15:00] I don’t know if the killing was by la Mara but I know he was killed and he was mistaken for the wrong person. Durante la Guerra, los guerrilleros le destruyeron toda la tierra, todos los terrrenos que tenian mis abuelos, los animales, la casa, so they had to move and migrate. My mom vivio una grande, grande pobresa. She had to start from scratch. The only thing they took with them cuando estaba la Guerra fueron, como me cuenta ella verdad, she could probably tell me more details, she could, her stories… more detailed. Pero lo que de ella me cuenta es que lo único que se llevó con ella fue la ropa en que ella andaba. Dice que se acuerda, y pues su familia andaba con ella. So, dice que ella recuerda verse escondido en el monte from los guerrilleros because si los miraban los matarian. When everything, when the war was over, her family had to start from scratch and that was very, very difficult. Como te digo, mas que no tenian ni a su papa, so she grew up with her abuelos. They didn’t have anything. I guess… yeah that’s that. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why my mom married my dad, or not. She needed help. She wanted a way out and guessing, she knew that my dad had plans to move to the US. She also wanted a better life for her because she knew that her grandparents couldn’t support her even if they wanted to because of la Guerra.
LA: So your mom just grew up with her mom then?
MR: Yeah, well… Actually my mom grew up with her grandparents. She didn’t really grow up with her mom.
LA: Ok, so just her mom wasn’t around then?
MR: No, no she tells me that para ella, su abuela es como la mama de ella y su abuelo, who actually passed away, como el papa de ella. Es porque no tuvo eso.
LA: Sounds tragic then. Well, what about your dad? Did he have any struggles like that as well?
MR: Well, my dad’s family is really huge. He has like 13 siblings, he has 13 siblings and he tells me that both of his parents died when he was twelve, eleven. My dad had a really rough, both my parents had the roughest childhood experience growing up. It was just terrible. I mean taking care of 13 children, 13 children and… with, no tenia padre ni madre. Su hermana mayor cuidaba de ellos, de el and he just remembers it. When he tells me about it he doesn’t mention it a lot because, I don’t know. Pero que su hermana le daba, cuando era tiempo de comer. No tenian. Eran pobres. No les alcanzaban para todos. Actually the other day they were telling me that, de un pollo entero, lo unico le daba la hermana era… a fraction of a wing. A fraction of a wing, not even the full wing, just a fraction of a wing. Now he, my mom was telling me that the other day, casi… he was, he got teary… teary eyed porque le estaba contando que ahora el puede gozar de un pollo entero… el se lo puede comer, se lo puede comer todo pero cuando estaba nino, cuando estaba joven, no… nunca. El se decia, se decia espero llegar un dia donde pueda comerme todo un pollo entero y no un pedasito de una ala. [00:20:00] Yeah, my dad… I admire him a lot. He’s been through a lot and he’s accomplished so much ever since he came to the US. He’s very ambitious, super ambitious. To this day, this he’s very ambitious that I really look up to him. Even though he’s struggled so much, I feel like he was in a situation that he couldn’t control as a child. He grew up poor, he didn’t have any parents, he found out a way to escape all of that, he came to the US, and he’s worked his way on up. He’s tried to get connections ever since he got to the US. He met this American and he became best friends with him. They worked together. Then now my dad is a US citizen and he is proud of that. He is proud of that because he feels that he has earned it and he deserves it just like, you know the rest of us.
LA: So going off of that, I’m assuming you speak Spanish at home. Correct?
MR: Oh yes, yes mainly Spanish. My dad is like I said, he’s been super the ambitious one. He speaks English. He actually, currently goes to an American church. He participates in church like events and everything they’re having. Obviously, when we’re at home all of us speak Spanish because my mother… her English is not that well. She didn’t really… I guess she felt like there was no, no really much of a need to learn English that well just because she… she’s still not a US citizen but she’s a resident. I guess she doesn’t feel that belonging to the US and she knows that she’s not going to get a better job anytime soon because she didn’t get an education. The place where she works at now there’s like really no need to know English. I mean, you just work in a factory. She makes pillows. That’s all she does.
LA: So wait, what does your dad do?
MR: My dad… he actually, he’s a truck driver. At one point in his time, he actually owned, he had his own business. He had his own business and yeah… he drives trucks.
LA: And did he, how far did your dad reach in high school because I know you mentioned your mom reached to… what was it again? Just briefly.
MR: My mom didn’t. She got to, what you would say it, equivalent to 9th grade here. My dad now he probably went to what’s equivalent to 4th, 5th grade. Yeah…
LA: Why specifically did they choose to come to North Carolina, of all the states in the United States?
MR: I don’t know. I’ve been meaning to ask them that. It’s probably because like I said, my father’s side of the family, a lot of them started to migrate here. Maybe they came here to North Carolina. He just followed their footsteps but I’m not sure why they went to North Carolina. That’s a good question.
LA: I know Henderson and Oxford. In that area there’s a lot of agriculture, especially in the tobacco fields. Do you… did your dad ever work in that industry?
MR: No, not that I know of he didn’t. He worked in construction but… yeah.
LA: So the only places you’ve lived, in the US, have been Henderson, North Carolina, and Roanoke Rapids, and…
MR: … A couple of months.
LA: … El Salvador, right?
MR: Yeah, for like a year.
LA: Ok. So who helped you settle into Henderson?
MR: Who helped my family I guess?
LA: Yeah, who helped you and your parents? You’re an only sibling right?
MR: No. I actually have a younger sister. She’s fifteen. I don’t know who helped us settle here.
LA: So no like, friendly Latinos in the area that’s like “awe yeah. you moving into our neighborhood. We’ll meet you and greet you.” Nothing like that?
MR: Well no. They haven’t mentioned that. I don’t know how. I just know that they, [00:25:00] there was this one American that became best friends. Yeah, he passed away and it was just, he was like a grandfather to me. I remember that my mom tells me that when she was pregnant, he was the one who held a baby shower for her. So yeah, even before I was born, this American has been there for them.
LA: OK. That’s cool. So you mentioned that you’ve been back to El Salvador. Do your cousins interact with you differently knowing that you’re an American... an American?
MR: My cousins… definitely. Yeah, they do. They think I’m rich, which I’m not rich. I’m probably better off than them in El Salvador but they get the impression that I’m just living like a queen, and I get everything I want, and I get the latest technology, and that I get the latest styles in clothing. I don’t know. That’s far away from the truth. Actually, they… because I have a couple of cousin’s whose parents are in the US, their parents actually send them more advanced technology than the one I have, which I find pretty funny, because they’re receiving more stuff than I am. Yeah, they think that I am really wealthy and rich.
LA: If people were to look at you, would they ever mistake you for being maybe Mexican, Honduran, or is their first guess always “oh, you’re from El Salvador?”
MR: No. They don’t… sometimes they don’t know what to… I don’t know, they’re just… No, they don’t say anything. They just ask. They just know that I’m not Mexican. When they ask, “Are you Mexican?” I’d be like “no.” They’d be like “yeah, you didn’t really look Mexican.” They don’t know, they can’t say right off the back that I’m Salvadoran.
LA: OK. So basically people think you’re mainly Latino right?
MR: Yeah, Yup. I definitely think I look Latino.
LA: OK, nice. Have you had any sort of different situations here, in Henderson mainly or even here in Chapel Hill, about where you felt uncomfortable around people who are from the same culture as you?
MR: Oh yeah. Are we talk about specifically in Chapel Hill where I go to UNC? [SIC]
LA: Or back home. Maybe like one or two examples. I don’t know if you have a lot you know…
MR: That I feel uncomfortable with?
LA: Where you’re like, say you’re in a situation where like you’re the only Latina and maybe growing up all your friends might have been, I don’t know southern country. Then you’re just “I don’t know what this is.” I don’t know, something like, where you felt uncomfortable?
MR: Uhh…
LA: Not discriminating specifically but just uncomfortable?
MR: Uncomfortable… Well where I’m from in Henderson, I grew up mainly with African Americans and Hispanics, plus I go to Hispanic church so I didn’t really feel uncomfortable. Then my 11th, junior year of high school I went to a different school, North Carolina School of Science and Math, and I… I don’t know… Como diria, not really uncomfortable with who was there, I guess I really missed home but that really… the people. When I did get to… when I came to Chapel Hill, now I feel uncomfortable a lot of times. And not just because I feel like I’m really aware of the vast majority, how the vast majority of students are American. I just feel this disconnection. I just, I miss home so much because at home is where I have Hispanics. When I think about an African American, I feel like they’re closer to Hispanics. We’ve seen the same struggles. Yeah, I feel really uncomfortable around in Chapel Hill with so many… I don’t discriminate but just with so many Americans around. I missed, [00:30:00] I miss my culture, my people.
LA: I guess going off of that, so you said you hung out around a lot of African Americans and then when you got to Science and Math you hung out around, I guess a diverse group…
MR: Yeah…
LA: Cause that’s pretty diverse. Did you ever do anything that, maybe that’s pretty… that’s very culturally, like a cultural custom around the people. Say it might be a custom to only cut your hair whenever there’s a moon, a full moon or something like that. That might be more of a superstition but you get what I’m saying… a little bit? [SIC]
MR: Uhh…
LA: Or maybe eating different things, like tortillas. I don’t know if tortillas, if Salvadorans eat tortillas too but maybe you eat tortillas and your friend looks at you like “what’s that?”
MR: No, I… actually no. I remember that… yeah during that time I had just came from El Salvador and I had bought mangos tiernos. They’re from El Salvador. They’re the best things. I want some of them. I remember pulling them out and… actually my two roommates were African American and I remember bringing como se llaman esas cosas? The little jello… gelatin little desserts that they sell in like… it’s like kind of a candy. I don’t know. I see a lot of Hispanics eat them… I don’t know. They looked at me really weird and thought that like, why was I eating that? They questioned. [SIC] But no, no. There’s not like a big event where it was really different and people noticed.
LA: So going on, maybe now as a follow up, have you ever been discriminated against like where it’s been like “oh” straight up something completely racist towards you… or your family?
MR: No. I do remember that, I don’t know if she was trying to be, if she was being racist but when I had gotten accepted to Science and Math, I was the only Hispanic and the other two were African Americans and one was just American. One of my friends told me that the only reason I had gotten accepted was because I was Hispanic and not because I was really smart like the rest of my peers. To this day I see her and still remember the exact same words she told me. It hurt a lot because I guess she said that the only reason I got through life was because I was Hispanic and people nowadays in colleges want diversity. I guess… I don’t know if you would call that discrimination but… yeah.
LA: OK. Yeah, obviously you got in because you got in. You’re here now but yeah, a lot of people like to blame that as a factor. So what… How would you compare the society you grew up in here compared to the society in Salvador or would you say this is like more… I don’t know. How would you describe it?
MR: Society how…
LA: Like gender roles, racial interactions, like from El Salvador compared to here. Do women just mainly do like stay at home moms in El Salvador and then men go to work? Like that or like…
MR: … Oh yeah…
LA: Here, it’s like anyone does it? Like just a few examples. I don’t know how it is in El Salvador.
MR: Well I mean definitely in El Salvador you see patriarchy. Actually it’s still practiced in my household. The man just think that he has control over everything and anything and it’s all his decisions. Yeah, we struggle a lot with that actually, still because my dad thinks he’s just the man of the household but we manage to work through it. I feel like it’s pretty obvious in the US, women have more power, more liberty to do what they want [00:35:00], whereas in Mexico… in El Salvador they, they have to depend. It’s like there’s this dependence on a man for some reason. They’re usually the ones taking care of all their kids, cooking, yeah.
LA: So would you say that during this whole journey, here in the US, that you stayed pretty close to your roots from El Salvador or do you think you’ve kind of developed a more diverse kind of personality, like just taking everything from everything? Do you understand a little bit?
MR: Yeah, it’s just a lot, a lot to ask. I feel like part yes and no. I mean in the Hispanic culture you know this family and gatherings… having a family is just, it’s really important to be with your family. Till this day my parents still ask me all the time, whether I’m coming home or not every weekend and when I don’t, they’re disappointed or really sad. I guess I try to practice that… convivir con mi familia. As far as my liberty as a teenager, as an individual, I think it’s much more greater in the US than it would have been in El Salvador because obviously, I’m in college. I can do whatever I want when they’re not around, you know? I feel like in El Salvador you have to estar bajo control y el dominio de tus padres until you decide to leave home and say that you’re ready to leave, you found… ready to be independent. Here in the US, I feel like they still help you out. Even though I’m not home all the time, they still take, like help me out. I don’t know… if that makes any sense. So as far as assimilation into the American culture, I feel like my dad has definitely assimilated. He feels, actually he feels that he needs to assimilate and he says be like the Americans or have a lot of American connections because currently, he goes to an American church. He is a devoted, I guess… como se dice…. Devoted… Christian… member! Devoted member, there you go. He tried really hard to learn English in order to be able to communicate with everyone, all the Americans as he says. Then at home we don’t even cook Salvadoran food. We cook Chinese food. We cook… sometimes we cook Mexican food. Actually we do. We cook tacos and then some tostadas. Una vez cocine yo sapor con salsa verde. We don’t even really cook Salvadoran food. Sometimes I wonder, “What is Salvadoran food?” People ask me all the time, I’m like “Actually I don’t know.” Yeah, I guess common American food like hotdogs, hamburgers.
LA: OK. Nice. I think the Chinese food is pretty funny. I wish I could cook Chinese food. Another quick question. What was life like in the hometown? What was the hometown called if you don’t mind me asking in El Salvador? Was it San Salvador?
MR: El lugar donde vive mi mama y su familia es La Nueva Luna. I don’t know… for that. Pero donde vive mis otros tio, mi tia es en Acajutla. So it’s more like the city where my other aunts live and my other half of the other part of the family lives in like the countryside [00:40:00].
LA: So your mom and dad lived in a little village?
MR: Yeah like a little, in the country.
LA: OK. What do people normally do there for work?
MR: They go out to trabajar en la, in the fields. My… creo que step-grandfather you’d say, he works en la cana fields. Si no, mi otro tio anda cuidando sus vacas. That’s all they do; Ciudar vacas, work on the fields.
LA: OK. That seems simple, nice, not really stress, high stress like it is over here.
MR: No it’s not but you don’t get paid much. Actually, you don’t get paid at all. Yeah, it’s pretty, pretty bad.
LA: OK, so there’s a catch to that. OK, so who usually migrates from the people of your parent’s hometowns?
MR: Who usually migrate..?
LA: So like people of a certain age. Do they… do people migrate mid-twenties, five, ten year old, I don’t know? What age do they usually migrate like I said, guys or girls? Who usually migrates? People like that or do only people with visas or just people who haven’t? Everyone who migrates, anyone can migrate as long as they’re just trying to get a job in the US. What group of people usually migrate?
MR: In my family?
LA: General. If you know in general. If you don’t know in general, just go with your family.
MR: Well, in my family all of my aunts and uncles migrated when they were in their twenties. They were young, like twenties. Mainly twenties. A lot of my family had migrated when they were in their early twenties.
LA: Do you know anything about the people in those parts of Salvador, or not really?
MR: Do I know people from other parts?
LA: Do you know why the rest of the people move? Do a lot of people migrate from your hometown to begin with? Like your parent’s hometown?
MR: I know for my aunt’s and my aunt’s case. [SIC] I mean she had two children and she didn’t have enough money to support them so she went to the US to start working and send them money. She actually never went back for her children.
LA: So along with that do, like what legal people would say “unaccompanied minors.” [SIC] Do you think there’s a lot of little kids crossing over the border to get to here just so they could be with their families from El Salvador?
MR: I don’t see that in my case. I don’t know. I have a bunch of cousins who aren’t with their families. Actually the majority, probably 90, 95 percent of my cousins in El Salvador don’t have their parents with them, or both of their parents at least. It’s just either the mother has migrated or the father.
LA: OK. As we get ready to wrap up. Let me ask just a general question. Who do you think has helped you along your journey to… journey here in the US and journey to school? Who’s always been there, you think?
MR: Definitely my parents. Like I said, ever since I was little, they pushed me to do well in school all of the time. There’s not a day they didn’t tell me to focus and do well in school, get good grades in school, and my mom would set herself as an example. She used to be like when she was little, whenever she made below a 90, she would tear up her paper and throw it in the trash can. I don’t know, it’s just they instilled in me the importance of education and importance of doing well in school. My dad too. He was like how… he didn’t really have a chance to go to that, he was mistreated, and at a really young age he had to start working. My parents have always been there to push me through.
LA: Have you been able to meet any sort of teachers or positive role models that have helped you along the way too? Maybe one or two?
MR: Yeah, in 8th grade [00:45:00] I had a math teacher who said, always saw the potential in me. She… Actually, I had a lot of teachers in middle school who saw potential in me. I was really quiet but they knew that I could be really successful as long as I kept pushing and moving forward. One of my teachers in 8th grade was the one who told me about the school of Science and Math. So if it wasn’t for her, I would have definitely have not known nothing about Science and Math. I don’t even think I would be here in Chapel Hill because the reason I got… I guess coming from Science and Math, I wanted to go to a good school and had the benefit of applying and getting accepted into UNC because I went to a really good high school.
LA: So you wouldn’t take anything back, if you go back?
MR: No. I wouldn’t
LA: OK, Nice. Are there any… we’re just about to get done… are there any final comments you’d like to share?
MR: No, I don’t have any.
LA: Alright sounds good. Once again, thank you Maria. This is Luis Acosta. I am here with Maria Ruiz in Carmichael dorm. It is March… No, April 10th 2015. It’s 11:22 pm. Buh bye.