Juliana Pepaj

Relationship: Im/migrant

My father came to the United States of America in 1994 and my mother came in 1995. I was born in Detroit, Michigan on October 14, 1996 to two hardworking and selfless immigrants. As much as life was simplistic it was quite difficult at times. My parents owned a restaurant working day in and day out. The photo represents my old house. We moved out of Hamtramck, MI to Sterling Heights, MI. After years and years of hard work my parents bought their dream home, the home they imagined they would grow old in. The photo is of my old living room. It was decorated by my mother. This photo represents sadness. It represents trauma and years that will never be returned to those who lived in it. As happy as we were in it we were not able to enjoy it much longer. My mother lived in this home for about a year and she was deported in 2011. This house became so empty. It became the only tangible thing we tried to preserve. Like as if it held our family together. In 2016 my father was deported as well. The house became even more empty and lonely. The three bedroom home became a house. Something that looked so good, actually turned to be so bad. It just showed our family that a house is not a home if the people you love don’t live in it. It became a constant reminder of what could of been. As much as I tried to preserve my parents blood, sweat and tears, it was time to let go. Time to move on. My brother and I decided to move to New York. Our lives moved on for the better, but this house that could have been a home will always be that thing that could of been.

Place(s): Detroit, New York, Albania
Year: 1994

– J

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant