House on hidalgo street By Sylvana Mijares

My Name

My uncle has my grandpa's name.

My aunt has my grandma's name.

But my mom, being the third child, had to get a more, special name. Itzel.

This is what made my mom feel unique, unlike her siblings who just had to get their parents name.

My mom wanted my brother to have a unique name too, but instead got my dad's name. He is now Antonio the fifth.

She wanted me to have a special name, all for myself. And that's how my name came to be.

Sylvana means from the forest, which doesn't fit me whatsoever.

I was raised in Mexico city, one of the most populated cities in the world.

My name is unique, I've ever met another Sylvana in my life, and I most likely won't.

It's a name of my own and I don't share it.

I'm different than others and so is my name, it fits me.

I even like it when people say my name wrong, it embeds in their memory and usually results in them complementing my name.

new house, new country

From the noisy streets to clear highways.

22 story house, to 3 bedroom apartment.

Mexico city, to austin texas.

A truck with 5 people compacted in it and my with the trailer. Ahead is a 17 hour forever-trip.

Going through mexico, looking out the window, the endless skyscrapers, the never-ending highway construction.

Saying bye to all my memories and moments. The family, the food, the volcanos and millions of mountains.

Everything will be kept in the rear mirror and the future is in the hands of the road ahead.

I'm not saying we are leaving for good, we will be back. But only to visit.

The longer we travel, the more the landscape changes. At the border, we see dessert with no end and hundreds of tiny sand tornados.

Obviously, it took longer than expected. Apparently someone needs to pee every 5 minutes.

We passed the border, and finally, the United States. everyone immediately noticed the difference.

We’ll get used to it.


Its that time again, being the new one somewhere. A new dojo.

It's not only strength, its discipline. This dojo is not like any other i've been to, everyone here is a family. I immediately felt a part of it.

It was all different, the masters and instructors all spoke korean to each other. During the stretches, we counted in korean, we greeted each other in korean, thanked each other in korean.

The stretches, were tough. Really tough. 100 fist push ups, 100 5 finger push ups, then 3 fingers, then 2, then your thumb. 100 jump squats, and many other workouts. But, that was only the warm ups.

The real thing was about to start. The training. Imagine the warm ups, but 1000 times worse.

It was so much harder than anything i've ever done. We don't use targets and shield, not here, here, we kick each other as hard as possible. Teaching resistance and strength.

At the end, we stretched again to prevent soreness and we shook everyones hand and hugged the masters and instructors.

I felt so good afterwards, I to this day get the same feeling after class, that feeling of relief, like is a huge weight was lifted from your shoulders.

I could not move the next day but it was so worth it.

The training might bring tears to your eyes, cat sized bruises and open wounds to on feet but in the end, you're getting the best training possible.

From masters who were in the korean secret police and went to the university of taekwondo, training 8-10 hours daily.

We don't only learn taekwondo, we also practice hapkido, combat aikido, judo and jujitsu.

I am so happy that i joined Korean tiger, it has taken me very far. And I'm planning on going even further.


My vignettes shaped who I am. Specially moving from Mexico to the United States. If it wasn't for that move, I don't know who I would be or even how differently I would act. It was difficult, changing language and life style. The first school that I went to had an option to take your core classes in Spanish. I took the opportunity but my brother didn't. When I started school, I already knew everything we were “learning”. That made me realize how much higher mexico has its standards in education. We had to write about photosynthesis and I wrote 5 pages on it while everyone else wrote 2 sentences max, because I was set mexico's standards. In math we were just adding, when I already knew algebra. The united states is really delayed in its education. I started school before I was 1 year old, and finished kindergarten at 4, I was always 3-4 years younger than everyone else. When I came to the US, they said that my age and grade didn't match so they sent me back to where I should be in correlation with my age. I was supposed to graduate before I turned 15. Now i'm turning 15 this year and i'm still in middle school. My school in mexico was trilingual, with Spanish and french being the main every-day languages and English once every 2 weeks. When I came to the US, I had no idea what to do or say. I didn't know English. I settled with reading the french or Spanish translation but then learned English in about a month. In all, i'm glad we moved.

Just like in house on mango street, I came into a place where there were people of my race. Somewhere where we could fit in while we adjust. The apartments even offered English classes for parents. My mom took the classes and taught me and my brother some from her notes. In those apartments I saw snow for the first time, I experienced really hot temperatures for the first time, I experienced way more freedom than in mexico. I saw my first tornado, my first time going to sea world, eating actual american pie. We fit in in our apartments, almost everyone spoke Spanish, we talked with the neighbors and they all helped us get used to the new life. My dog had to learn how to live indoors, and it took him a while to learn that he’s not allowed to get on the table to eat with us. It was a really nice area, Kyle Texas. A little town with a lot of history.


Created with images by seier+seier - "tegnestuen vandkunsten, dianas have housing, hørsholm 1991" • seier+seier - "tegnestuen vandkunsten, dianas have housing, hørsholm 1991"

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