Photo Album

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

My dad was born and raised in La Paz Bolivia. He moved here in 1997, soon after finishing college at at UMSA (Universidad Mayor de San Andres), with a degree in biology. He met my mom in 1999, and they married in 2000. When I commented on how lucky he was to have met his soulmate so soon, he says it didn't feel that way at the time- he said those two years were the hardest of his life. He explained that moving to America was a struggle - even though he did so legally, and even though he had his family waiting for him (his father had moved to New York when he was 9 years old after losing his job as a mining engineer, and began to work and save money to bring his family over), he said that moving to the U.S. when you don't know English is like starting from square one; it's a rough place to start and very few give you a break.

Until last year, I had never seen a picture of my dad from his childhood. The photos of him only date back to when he met my mom, and follow us through the years following. Last year we finally got to see a photo album of him and his siblings when they were young. Looking at the album was jarring- we began to see memories of a life we had never heard of or imagined, with faces so similar to our own we might have been twins. Seeing this album was some sort of proof, a kind of evidence of the life my dad had before us, one which was vastly different from the one I live now. It was also a little sad, opening a door that had been closed for so long it seemed like a world of fantasy instead of a memory. 

Place(s): La Paz, Bolivia
Year: 1997

– JY

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant