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Interview with Alma Campuzano and Roberto Holguin

Campuzano, Alma
Holguin, Roberto
Valladares, Evelyn
Date of Interview: 
Cultural identification; Relationships with people and places
Alma Campuzano talks about the differences between the US and Mexico.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Evelyn Valladares interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
EV (Evelyn Valladares): This is Evelyn Valladares, today I am going to interview Alma and Roberto, today is the seventeenth of March of 2004 and it's six-thirteen in the afternoon. Hello, Alma. Hello Roberto. How are you?
AC (Alma Campuzano): Fine.
RH (Roberto Holguin): Fine.
EV: Well, I am thankful with you for your time and for being here with me to answer some questions and to know a little bit more about Mexico, which is your country of origin, right?
AC: Yes.
EV: Let's see, tell me a little, what is it that you like the most about the United States?
AC: I like, about, I mean more, [pause], here, I mean, you get free books-.
EV: Uh-huh.
AC: -There are less people in the classrooms-.
EV: Uh-huh.
AC: -And you can, err, [pause] concentrate more in your things.
EV: OK. For example, in the school you go to, around how many students are there in your classes?
AC: Oh, there are around 20 in each classroom.
EV: Uh-huh. And how many classes are you taking?
AC: Uh, four per day.
EV: Uh-huh and, uh, for example in Mexico, how was the school you used to go to?
AC: It was, it was smaller than the one we have here-.
EV: Uh-huh.
AC: -And for each classroom there were around 40, 50 students.
EV: Uh-huh. Did you have a teacher for each subject or a teacher for \\ everybody? \\
AC: \\ No, it was \\ a teacher for all of the subjects.
EV: OK, OK. And around how many students were there in each classroom?
AC: 40.
EV: 40? In every class?
AC: I don't know, I just studied elementary school down there.
EV: OK. Uh-huh, fine and the, the textbooks are free or you have to pay for them?
AC: No, uh, when you go to high school, you have to buy them.
EV: Uh-huh. Are they expensive?
AC: Um, yes.
EV: Uh-huh.
AC: And you also have to buy the uniform and all that? Lunch?
EV: Uh-huh. And the school you used to go to, was it a private school or a public one?
AC: Public.
EV: Uh-huh. OK. And you, Roberto, what is it that you like the most about the United States?
RH: Uh, there are more job opportunities-.
EV: Uh-huh.
RH: -And there is more technology at school-.
RH: -Schools are bigger and they have more teachers-.
EV: Uh-huh.
RH: -And here, teachers, they come, for each subject you have a different teacher.
EV: Do you like that, that there are lots of teachers-.
RH: Yes.
EV: -At school, instead of having just one, you like to have several?
RH: Yes.
EV: Uh-huh. And you also like to have to change classrooms every time you have a different class or would you like to have just one classroom like in Mexico?
RH: Well, yes, I would like to have just one classroom.
EV: Uh-huh, so that you don't have to move that much?
RH: Yes, so that you don't move.
EV: Are there many students in your school?
RH: At the one we go to now?
EV: Uh-huh.
RH: Yes, yes, there are like, it's big.
EV: Uh-huh. And, for example, at your school, uh, the one in here, do you have access to computers, right?
RH: Yes.
EV: And how is the computer system in Mexico? Do you have computer classes?
RH: Down there is less advanced.
EV: Uh-huh.
RH: Not all the classrooms have them.
EV: But can you study computer science as a subject?
RH: Yes, yes, you can.
EV: OK. And approximately how many computers were there at the school in Mexico?
RH: Down there they teach computer classes-.
EV: Uh-huh.
RH: -And there are about five per classroom.
EV: OK. OK. \\ Well-. \\
RH: \\ ( ) \\
EV: -And besides school here, what is another thing that you like the most, compared to Mexico?
RH: \\ ( ) \\
EV: \\ For \\ example, food, weather.
AC: There is a better atmosphere down there.
EV: Down there in Mexico?
AC: \\ Yes. \\
RH: \\ Things \\ are outdoors.
AC: And because down there you go out and you can walk and you find a park in every corner. [Laughs]
EV: Uh-huh.
AC: And [laughs] here, instead you are home almost all the time.
EV: Uh-huh.
RH: Down there everybody gets out at the same time, from the first year to the last one, they all get out at the same time.
EV: Oh. OK, like at break time.
RH: And in here, they get out by, by blocks.
EV: Uh-huh.
RH: Here they have the, uh, lunch periods.
EV: Uh-huh. And, well, talking for example a little bit about teenagers, how do you see teenagers from here and the ones from Mexico?
AC: Here, when you are at high school, you want to become an individual-.
EV: Uh-huh. Independent.
AC: -Independent-.
EV: Uh-huh.
AC: -And in Mexico you are with your friends, you have a good time, whereas here you get pregnant and live with your boyfriend without getting married.
EV: Uh-huh. Do you think that here there is more freedom, that parents give their children more freedom than parents do in Mexico?
AC: [Pause]
EV: What do you think, Roberto?
RH: There isn't that much freedom.
EV: Not here?
RH: Unless you take it yourself, parents don't give you too much freedom.
EV: Are you talking about here, the United States?
RH: Yes, about the United States.
RH: And in Mexico, down there, well, you can be free.
EV: Uh-huh.
RH: You can go anywhere you want.
EV: But in Mexico, for example, you can, if you are 16 or 18 years old, can you go to a party until late at night?
RH: No. Down there they give us an hour, I mean, a time to come back.
EV: OK. They tell you the time you need to be back home.
RH: Yes.
EV: Do you like that, the way they do it in Mexico?
RH: Well, it is fine, but I don't like it.
AC: [Laughs]
EV: Uh-huh. It depends, right?
RH: Yes.
EV: -On what you are going to do. Well, and for example, music. What kind of music do you listen to in here?
AC: Here, Hispanics listen to a group, the ones who come here-.
RH: From other countries.
AC: -From States such as Guadalajara-.
EV: Uh-huh.
AC: -And all that, er, they listen to rancheras-.
EV: Uh-huh, uh-huh.
AC: -And others, er, tropical music, pop, rock in Spanish, and in Mexico I used to listen to, almost all the time, I mean, I used to listen only to pop music.
EV: Uh-huh.
AC: -And before I listen to more of it.
EV: Uh-huh. And you, Roberto, what kind of music do you listen to here?
RH: Here, only rap.
EV: Rap? \\ Uh-huh. \\
RH: \\ Yes. \\ And also tropical music.
EV: And in Mexico did you also listen \\ to that kind of music? \\
RH: \\ No, in Mexico, we don't. \\ That kind of music is not heard down there. The place I am from, people like to listen to rancheras.
EV: Uh-huh. Bien. Bueno, and regarding food, what kind of food you like from here and what kind of music you miss from Mexico?
AC: Oh, I miss food sold on the street [laughs].
EV: Food sold on the street. And tell me, how is that kind of food?
AC: That is, for example, you get to a square-.
EV: Uh-huh.
AC: -And you find, you find a booth where they sell cakes \\ [laughs]-. \\
EV: \\ Uh-huh. \\
AC: -Tacos, chips.
EV: Hot dogs?
AC: No.
EV: Not \\ that much. \\
AC: \\ Uh, \\ no, no. And here, well, you cook food that makes you fat [laughs].
EV: Uh-huh. But, here, have you seen that kind of food on the street-.
AC: No.
EV: -The way they have it in Mexico?
AC: No. The flavor is different. ( )
EV: Uh-huh. And would you like it if there were those kinds of booths on the streets that sell cakes and all that?
AC: Um.
RH: Yes.
EV: Uh-huh. And, why do you think they don't have it here?
RH: Because here they have restaurants-.
EV: Uh-huh.
RH: -And the city is bigger and that.
EV: Of course. And, for example, the, where you used to live in Mexico, what city was it?
RH: Down there I didn't, well-.
AC: Well, I \\ uh-. \\
EV: \\ In \\ Mexico City?
AC: No, uh, uhm, in the State-.
EV: Uh-huh.
AC: -Toluca-.
EV: Uh-huh.
AC: -Which is about two hours from D.F.
EV: Uh-huh.
RH: \\ ( ) \\
EV: \\ And you \\ Roberto? Where did you live in Mexico?
RH: Uh, I used to live in something like a town-.
EV: Uh-huh.
RH: -Right? It's a small town with streets and the houses very close to each other-.
EV: Uh-huh.
RH: -And that's why we call it a town. ( )
EV: Uh-huh, uh-huh. And, for example, when you had to go from one place to the other and you didn't have a car to do it, could you ride a bus? Do you also call it a bus \\ the-. \\
RH: \\ Taxi. \\
EV: -Or taxi?
AC: Truck.
EV: Uh-huh. How do you compare that transportation system against the one in here? Do you have access to buses in \\ here? \\
RH: \\ To \\ go to school?
EV: For example to go to a mall-.
RH: Oh, OK.
EV: -Or-.
AC: Here you have to walk a lot to ride a, a bus-.
EV: \\ Uh-huh. \\
AC: \\ -Bus. \\ In Mexico, uh, like, there are lots of them.
EV: Uh-huh.
AC: You raise your hand and the bus or taxi stops and that's all-.
EV: Uh-huh.
AC: -But in Mexico, there are not many. I mean, if you have a car ( )-.
EV: \\ Is it difficult? \\
AC: \\ -( ) \\ Yes because the bus is always crowded.
EV: Uh-huh. Are taxis cheap or expensive?
RH: No, well, they charge like [pause], like 10 pesos-.
EV: Uh-huh.
RH: -Which is a dollar.
EV: One dollar?
RH: Uh-huh.
EV: For a, what do you call the trip you make by taxi? We call it "carrera." What do you call it?
RH: Uh, a ride?
AC: [Laughs]
EV: A ride? In Mexico?
RH: No, it is not a ride.
EV: Uh-huh.
RH: I don't know what they call it, uh, a "viaje."
EV: Oh, OK, a "viaje," OK. So, taxis there are much more inexpensive than in here, right?
RH: Yes.
EV: OK. Well, and , um, if you had, uh, the opportunity to go back to Mexico, would you do it?
RH: Yes, yes.
EV: You would?
RH: Yes.
EV: Why would you like to live down there? You mean, to live there for good?
RH: No, not for good.
EV: Uh-huh. For a long period of time?
RH: Yes, only for a long period of time.
EV: \\ And what would you do? \\
RH: \\ Well, only for \\ vacations.
EV: Oh, on vacations.
RH: Yeah.
EV: Uh-huh. And what would you do \\ on vacations? \\
RH: \\ And here I would have \\ my own job and go there only on vacations.
EV: Oh, then we are talking, for example, about having a job here and going there on vacations.
RH: Yes.
EV: And where would you go on vacations in Mexico?
RH: Where my family is.
EV: Do you have a lot of relatives down there?
RH: Almost all of my relatives are down there.
EV: How many are there, approximately?
RH: A total?
EV: Uh-huh.
RH: Around 50.
EV: Wow. It's a lot. Who is there? Your grandparents?
RH: My grandparents, my uncles, my cousins,and all that.
EV: Do you miss them \\ a lot? \\
RH: \\ Down there \\ is where most of my family is, besides mother's side of the family-.
EV: Uh-huh.
RH: -And also my father's side of the family-.
RH: -And here there are \\ my-. \\
EV: \\ All of \\ your grandparents are alive?
RH: Yes.
EV: Do you miss them?
RH: Of course.
EV: What do you miss about them, about your grandparents?
RH: Uh, their meals.
EV: Uh-huh. Did they tell you stories, for example, when you were little?
RH: Uh, yes, I loved them.
AC: \\ [Laughs] \\
EV: \\ Uh-huh. \\ Do you remember the songs they sang to you, or not that much?
RH: Uh, no, not that much.
EV: OK. So you say that you would go back to Mexico only on vacations.
RH: Yes.
EV: OK. And you would live here.
RH: Yes, I would live here.
EV: Uh-huh. And if for example you met a girl and fell in love and you got married, where would you live, here or in Mexico?
RH: Here, it depends. If we had a, if we made a decision-.
EV: Uh-huh.
RH: -Of going to Mexico, then we would go to Mexico-.
EV: Uh-huh.
RH: -But I, I would prefer to live here.
EV: Because you told me that here you have more job opportunities, right?
RH: Yes.
EV: Uh-huh. And what about you, Alma? If you had the opportunity to live over there once again, would you do it?
AC: No.
EV: \\ You wouldn't? \\
AC: \\ For \\ vacations, because I am already used to living here and here I have what, everything I need. I mean, I have what I don't have in Mexico. ( ) You have to work to get things and sometimes, I mean, high school is difficult because you have to buy uniforms, books, pay your tuition, and all that-.
EV: Uh-huh.
AC: -And here, I like Mexico, but I am already used to living here.
EV: Of course, of course. And the same question I asked Roberto, if you fell in love and got married, where would you live? Here or in Mexico?
AC: Here, I think.
EV: Here? You would continue living here and you would have your children here and everything?
AC: Uh, yes.
EV: OK. And you also say that you would go to Mexico only for vacations.
AC: Uh-huh.
EV: Where would you go, also to visit your family?
AC: To visit my family, yes, because here I only have a cousin and those are all the relatives I have here, my family and a cousin ( )and my grandmother is down there, I have some uncles and cousins-.
EV: Uh-huh.
AC: -And, um, I have not seen them. I have not seen either my grandparents or my uncles. ( )
EV: Uh-huh, uh-huh. Well, one last question, what is what you like the most about Mexico?
RH: Its traditions.
EV: Its traditions.
RH: Yes.
EV: Uh-huh. OK. Do you think they have more traditions down there than here?
RH: Yes.
EV: Uh-huh. And you Alma, what do you miss the most about Mexico?
AC: The posadas.
EV: What are posadas?
AC: It's when Christmastime is near-.
EV: Uh-huh.
AC: -And they have pinatas, meals, \\ and such. \\
EV: \\ Where \\ do they hold them?
AC: I mean, where I used to live, a whole street was closed, then some mothers agreed on, they started, it's like a party and some people cooked food, others made a pinata, and so-.
EV: And when did they hold them, on the weekends?
AC: No, it was just once a year, but I don't remember when.
EV: Like in December-.
AC: \\ Uh-huh. \\
EV: \\ -Or \\ so?
AC: Yes.
EV: And down there, if you throw a big party and they play very loud music until five in the morning, do you have any problems with the police, for example? Do they knock at your \\ door-. \\
AC: \\ No. \\
EV: -And they tell you, "Look, you cannot continue," uh, "playing that loud music."
AC: No.
EV: Uh-huh. And here, how is it?
AC: Here, I mean ( ), because around here is only older people-.
EV: Uh-huh.
AC: -Older people, err, they go to sleep early, they are tired and they call the police around eleven o'clock.
EV: Uh-huh, uh-huh. That's also a difference, \\ right?
AC: \\ Yes. \\
EV: Yes. One has to adapt to the country's norms, where you live, right? That's very important. Well, Alma and Roberto, I really thank you again for your time and for all of the information that you have given us and your collaboration in this project. I wish you the best in your studies and in your future job.
AC: Uh-huh.
RH: OK. Thank you.
AC: Thank you.
EV: \\ So long. \\
RH: \\ So long. \\