Human Library: Gian Molero
Country of origin: Venezuela
Journey: "I moved here to the United States around 2003. In Venezuela we had a president at the time who wanted to move the country from a democracy to something similar to a communist regime, and my husband and I did not want to raise our family there. We had three kids at the time, and we had careers and were very successful. My husband came here on a student Visa, and I had to start from scratch; I didn't speak any English and didn't have a Visa to work. I thought I'd never teach again. Eventually I learned English and I pursued graduate studies.
Mrs. Gian Molero’s move from Venezuela to the U.S. not only was a difficult journey for her and her family, but there were also some unforgettable memories made in the process, and she sat down to discuss them with Arya and Ava F.
Ava and Arya F.: How does your story tie in with this month’s theme of citizenship?
Mrs. Molero: I am originally from Venezuela and in my country, about 14 years ago, the political situation was beginning to change into what we would call a communist regime. We didn’t want to live somewhere with a government like that, so we decided to move to America. The only problem was that there was no legal way to do that other than coming as students. My husband and I already had careers, and we also had three boys, so this was very difficult to do, but my husband ended up applying for a program at UCLA. He got accepted, so we moved here as students who had three kids and couldn’t speak any English. It was a very difficult process, but we knew that it would be worth it.
AF: How was the moving process for you? Was it hard to learn things such as customs, language, and traditions?
GM: My husband already knew English because he lived in America when he was a kid, but it was extremely difficult for me. Even though I studied English often in Venezuela, I was used to writing down words, not speaking the language. So when I moved here, I couldn’t say anything. It was also very difficult to study and learn more English because I had to devote a majority of my time to my boys, who were all very young when we moved.
AF: What was life like before you came to America?
GM: My husband and I were at the top of our careers. He owned a very successful recording studio and I was training to become the principal at the school that I was working at. We had to give up our jobs, leave our family, and basically start from scratch when we came to the U.S. In Venezuela, I had a higher quality of life and I ended up giving a lot of it up.
AF: What were some things you had to give up when you moved?
GM: Well, of course, one of the first things was my family. My entire family lived in the same city, and we would see everyone at least every week. My culture was very family-oriented and most of the kids were used to growing up alongside their cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents, so when we moved here we had no relatives so we had to give up raising our children in that way. We also had to give up our status, whether it was where we ate, or where we lived.
AF: Do you still visit your country often?
GM: No I don’t. The last time I went to Venezuela was 10 years ago, and I haven’t been since.
AF: What was something that helped you/ comforted you when you first moved to America?
GM: Well, my sons were in preschool when we moved, so when I took them to preschool in the U.S, I made friends with some of the moms there, and I am still best friends with some of them today, and I would say that they helped me a lot through the process. They were sort of like the family I didn’t have.
AF: Do you still practice traditions or celebrate holidays from Venezuela?
GM: Yes, so in Venezuela, Christmas is a big celebration. You play a certain type of music, decorate your entire house, have special foods, and that's one of the big holidays that I celebrate in my household. In Venezuela, birthday parties are also a huge thing. Unlike in the U.S, where you typically just invite your child’s friends, you invite everybody, no matter their age to come and celebrate with your family. So, that is another one of the traditions that is constantly practiced in my house.