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The World We Share: Meet Nancy

The World We Share: Meet Nancy

June 6, 2024 4 min read

When Nancy thinks of her native Tepetongo, a town in Mexico, she thinks of the earthy smell after a heavy rainfall and the camaraderie that exists between family, friends, and neighbors. While most of her fond memories are rooted in her childhood, Nancy lived in Mexico well into her adulthood, graduating from college and even joining the workforce.

From Mexico to the US: Nancy’s migration story begins

Her migration story started by chance when she answered the call to support an aunt whose husband had fallen ill. She moved to California to help out and started working as a cashier in a supermarket to make ends meet. Though it wasn’t her intention to stay for long, Nancy started to build a life for herself, even reconnecting with an old friend from Tepetongo who is now her husband.

“Even though I had a good job there [because I] graduated from college, you can say that I saw I had an opportunity to grow more here,” shared Nancy.

Nancy’s smile is infectious, and throughout our interview, she comes off as warm and positive. She tells us she believes her personality and outlook on life are learned behaviors form her grandfather and mom. Throughout her childhood, they led by example. For instance, her grandfather sold vegetables and would often give his produce away to families that couldn’t afford to put food on the table.

Challenges: Language Barrier, Anxiety, Grief, and Being far from Family

Aside from being far from her loved ones, the most challenging aspects of moving to the United States was the language barrier. Today, Nancy works as a Sales Associate at Ria and has been living in California for over twelve years. And though she’s treasured her time in the Golden State, there was one life-changing moment she wished she would’ve been back in Mexico for.

“Yes, there were moments I still carry with me. In my case, I lost part of my family in a car crash. My mom, sister, and three nieces passed away. It was a difficult moment because it’s a heavy blow that you’re not expecting, especially when you’re in a another country, and I just shut down,” said Nancy.

At first, Nancy thought she wouldn’t be able to travel on such short notice and was riddled with anxiety and grief. She desperately wished to be reunited with the surviving members of the family so she could be there for them, hug them, and share in the anguish they were all feeling. Thankfully, Nancy was able to travel though the reality of the accident remained.

“It’s very hard and it gets you thinking about people who have no way of going back to their families, of hugging them. In that moment I had to be strong because I had a younger sister. If I wavered, she’d also fall apart,” she said.

Courage, Resilience, Opportunities and the American Dream

It goes without saying that Nancy is a fighter. She believes in getting up no matter how many times life gets you down. And despite it all, she believes in the American Dream, though she says people need to know how to reach that dream.

“It was hard at first because I was a cashier at a supermarket. It was something new for me but I liked it, and here we are, twelve years later. I really love customer-facing roles. It makes me feel like I’m helping a family member. When they tell me ‘May God bless you’, that’s worth more than money.”

Nancy believes everyone should fight for their dreams, no matter the circumstances. At her age, she feels she’s achieved every goal she set for herself, including raising a family of her own. She urges fellow migrants to do the same, to never let themselves waver and to help each other out whenever they have the chance.

“Being brave is facing life. Just because you fell doesn’t mean you have to stay there. Get up and let’s go for more. Squeeze the motivation out of your heart from being far from your loved ones and go do what you came here to do.”

Looking to send money to Mexico? We’ve got you covered! Visit any of our locations or download the Ria Money Transfer app to get started.

About the author

Gabrielle van Welie

Gabrielle van Welie is Ria's Global Content Manager. Originally from Dominican Republic, she specializes in the cultural impact of remittances and migration across the globe.

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