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Maria Olson

Maria Olson

Immigrant from Mexico City & Airline Employee

Born: Mexico City, Mexico
Heritage: Mexican

My advice to everybody is to pay attention in school and enjoy school and enjoy being kids. The older you get the harder it gets because of more responsibility. Enjoy being a kid.

Maria Olson

Immigrant from Mexico City & Airline Employee

My name is Maria Olson. I was born in Mexico City on March 25, 1966. Before I got married my name was Maria Isabel Teran Rodriguez. When we are born we use the mother’s name and the father’s last name. Everyone in Mexico grows up with two last names. My family had seven kids. Every day the girls would cook breakfast and the boys would set the table. On a school day we would go to school at seven in the morning and come home at four and have dinner with our parents at the table. It was important that we all sit together for dinner. Everyone would have to say how their day was. Dad would then go back to work. We would do homework and sit and watch TV. On the weekends Dad would take us for a bike ride. Afterwards he would put us to work to do chores.

When I moved to Minnesota I had a lot of new experiences. Here you see cows and squirrels. In Mexico you don’t see squirrels, and I had never seen a real cow until I came to Minnesota. When I came here I was living on a farm with a family. I had to take care of cows and chickens. My life was totally different. In Mexico I went to an all-girls school. But here I went to a school with boys and girls. Here we have snow, which we never see in Mexico. Over there the climate is the same year-round. America gives me a lot of experiences. There is a lot of diversity in this country. It feels good to get the opportunities that we have here.

In Mexico people always celebrate. On April 30th we celebrate all of the children. All of the kids go to school, but they have activities for the children. It’s a day to appreciate what the kids do and who they want to be. Another holiday is the Day of the Dead. We have big bread out on the table and people come to eat and celebrate with candles. There are big parties for three days in a row. There is also the Quinceañera. When girls turn 15 years old there is a big party for them. They have a dance and put on a dress that is like a gown and the girls dance with boys. It’s a classic dance. It takes two months to have that party for the girls. They are not considered girls anymore.

It’s hard to learn English when you’re not young. It took six months to understand what people were saying. The hardest thing is the pronunciation. Sometimes the sounds and reading is hard. In Mexico when you write, you write the sound of the vowels. To write in English is difficult because it’s not always the sound you hear that you are supposed to write. A lot of people can read in Spanish because the letter they see is also the sound it makes. For me it’s easier to read and to speak in Spanish.

Notation: Download PDF

Honoring Maria Olson

When I First Came to America

The weather changes
From hot to cold
Traveling north from Mexico
When those cold winds start to blow
I find a way back home
When I first came to America
I couldn’t even say hello
In the United States of America
Where I call home

I was born in Mexico City
40 years ago
Four brothers
a father and mother
Two sisters at home
The older you get the harder it is
To speak another tongue
That is why, you should all learn Spanish
now that you are young.

When I first came to America
I saw my first cow
In the United States of America
Where I live now

The first job I had
Was working on a farm
Feeding chickens, milking cows
working in the barn
Then I worked as a teacher
Then for the airlines
To be the first at the gate
the last to say goodbye

When I first came to America
A man proposed to me
In the United Sates of America
I got married

First, we had one boy
and then, we had twins
From the time, they were born,
I would speak to them
In both English
and Spanish at home
That is why
they can all speak Spanish
down in Mexico
When I first came to America
I came with six kings
In the United States of America
With gifts to bring

On Christmas Day
We leave shoes at the door
Baking bread
On the Day of the Dead
For those who’ve come before
Every culture has traditions
and I have one too
And that is why I have come
to share my life with you

When I first came to America

Words by LARRY LONG with Mrs. Machovsky’s 4th grade class at FAIR School
(Crystal, Minnesota)

© Larry Long 2007 / BMI