Grazy discusses how her family's immigration to the United States impacted her upbringing and her values and experiences in the U.S.
“I wanted to start my story off with my Dad immigrating from Brazil to the United States. He did this in 1989. At first he came to the U.S. to send money back to my mom and my sister that were back in Brazil, and he was just here working, and he thought he might as well just immigrate our family over to the States. They came over in 99’ and that’s when I was born too in the U.S. I think their experience of being immigrants here was definitely one that had an impact on me growing up. I think that they had a lot of troubles with just being in a new place in general. I think moving, period, is hard, I can’t imagine having to move from one country to another where it’s hard to get used to new people around you, new surroundings. Growing up I always had that in the back of my mind of the sacrifices my parents made to come over here and just their story of pushing forward just to better my future, my sister future, my brothers future by being here. I think their pushing through in this country definitely motivated me, I feel like it adds pressure for you to feel like you always have to succeed, you always feel like you have to do good, you always have to hit different milestones and always work your way up and I would always feel pressure, not because my parents would necessarily put it on me but, I would always think back to them sacrificing their whole life to come to the U.S., and the U.S. is seen as like the land of opportunity, there’s this overall message of if you immigrated to the U.S. you are lucky, you are allowed in the borders. I think today it is definitely a lot harder to immigrate here than when my parents did it, but I think that there’s this message of immigrants are sort of second class citizens almost, because goes Americans just have a leg over everyone. I think being born here, I just thought “Oh ok I have to succeed, I have to make my parents trip here worthwhile.” and it was a lot of pressure growing up and it felt, it felt like I was never reaching that finish line of “Ok I made it.” It was always something else, and I feel like growing up now I can look back and say that all that I have accomplished, it was the best I could do at that time and, my parents were always proud of me and whatever I did, every milestone I hit, every little award that I got, I knew my parents knew that I pushed myself. Especially with them seeing me struggle in school, every grade I got I know they knew it was my best. But it’s hard to feel like youre never enough and, if anything, growing up here made me appreciate things more. I feel like one of the gifts they’ve given me is empathizing with others and having more sympathy for others. I think it’s something that of course if you’re not from a family of people that immigrated, of course you can feel for others, you sort of, view immigration issues differently, you see how the countries government works differently in a way, I just feel like you view people differently. I would never think of someone as an alien to this country, and so many people are so ok with saying that term in referring to people and their stories that way. The majority of my dad’s life has been spent in the U.S., and for someone to look at him and think “Oh he doesn’t belong here”, he’s contributed so much, and everyone contributes so much with what they bring culturally to the U.S. when they are from outside of the U.S., like so much of our food is from different cultures and the U.S., I think we wouldn’t be what we are today without these people.”