Ana Perez Martinez


Ana Perez Martinez


Andrew Velazquez


Ana Perez Martinez


Central Connecticut State University


Jacob: There we go.

Andrew: So essentially all we’re really looking for for this, is you can either tell us about your necklace or you can just tell us about experience in your life of living here in Connecticut, either through your parents and their lives, or really honestly whatever you want to tell us is valuable, we’re happy to have you.

Ana: Ok

Jacob: Can I get your name one more time?

Ana: Ana, A-N-A, Perez Martinez.

Jacob: Perez Martinez, thank you very much.

Andrew: Whenever you’re ready.

Ana: Alright, well I was actually born in Mexico. My parents were born in Mexico, my grandparents on both sides —all born in Mexico. My little sister is the first one, like in my direct family born in the United States.

Andrew: Wow ok.

Ana: So we went from Mexico actually to North Carolina, because we had family there. Then we went from North Carolina to Illinois and we lived there for the majority of my childhood. And I came when I was very little, I was like four, maybe five. Once I was in Illinois I graduated highschool, did community college out there, and just looked for the best option—

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Ana: —for me to go from community college to, to my four year and I ended up at CCSU. I applied to a bunch of places.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ana: But it, this was just the most like, affordable. I have to pay my own tuition.

Andrew: Wow, that's tough.

Ana: So I need to find something that makes sense. Um… yeah we, we still have a lot of family in Mexico, actually a majority of my family is in Mexico.

Andrew: Wow.

Ana: Only about my mom’s siblings are here, all of my dad’s side is out there. So it's weird not knowing a majority of your family.

Andrew: They’re just, they’re just people that are out there in the world, yeah.

Ana: Yeah.

Andrew: So you’re still, your family’s still in, your immediate family is still in Illinois?

Ana: Yes, yeah.

Andrew: Wow cool.

Ana: My sister’s actually in, she’d probably be even awesomer to interview, she's in the National Guard in Illinois.

Andrew: Wow.

Ana: And that's how she's paying for college.

Andrew: Interesting.

Ana: And I’m just working. (laughs)

Andrew: That is such a pivotal part of the immigrant experience for so many people, despite ethnicities in America, is they come to the United States and they join the military. Either to find a way to, uh find a place in the country or to just, it's a means to an end and making some money.

Ana: And I mean she likes what she does too.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ana: And when she just was really… she eventually wants to go on into like FBI, bigger—

Andrew: Cool.

Ana: She, she's doing psychology, so she’s going to do like criminal behavior psychology and such.

Andrew: Awesome

Ana: And she said that military like background is really gonna help her like get into that.

Andrew: Absolutely.

Ana: Um, I, I’m studying engineering here, mechanical engineering so—

Andrew: Awesome, what do you want to do with that?

Ana: I just wanna work in a company that just kinda, innovates things, makes things different. I like machines, and numbers, and math, so I’ve…I just found it and I’ve been working on it for a long time because I’ve been having to do classes part time.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ana: It's whatever I can afford and pay for even if, this, this semester I’m only taking two classes, next semester I might only take one.

Andrew: Hey—

Ana: The goal is to finish.

Andrew: Slow and steady. So long as you’re doing well, you will finish at some point, you know what I mean—

Ana: Yeah.

Andrew: Good for you and that's excellent. You being from Illinois, I want to change questions a little bit and just ask, so your perception of Connecticut is purely just as someone who is from a family that's new to the United States and your individual perception of Connecticut is just, this is where I go to school. So I was wondering, what does Connecticut mean to you, or have you got any opportunity to explore the state at all and what do you think you’ll bring back with you to the Midwest from here?

Ana: Um I don’t-

Andrew: Other than degree.

Ana: Yea I don’t know if I’ll go back to live in the midwest. I think this kinda helped me just, as an individual—
Andrew: Yeah.

Ana: Live somewhere else in the country—

Andrew: Yeah.

Ana: And figure that out.

Andrew: Wow.

Ana: Um I, I’m like no one in my family obviously lives out here so maybe I’ll be able to live wherever else after this. But, Connecticut…when I was in Illinois I didn’t even know where Connecticut was on map like (laughs) it was so little—

Andrew: (laughs) Fair enough yeah.

Ana: I just knew it was one of the little states um, but it was, it's been really cool. I mean Illinois is all flat.

Andrew: Yea.

Ana: It’s all cornfields, so coming out here, it's kinda cool to see like the hills and valleys. Being so close to Boston, being so close to New York.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ana: I’ve been here now… it’s gonna be three years in August, so a little bit over two years. And it's been kinda scary, but kinda, kinda fun to explore. Um, I don’t know, it’s been a weird ride. I met my boyfriend here on campus and now we live together in Bristol. Um, and so he’s been showing me around, because he was born in Bristol, lived here all his life—

Andrew: Awesome, so he's your tour guide.

Ana: Yes!

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Ana: So he shows me everything, and he’s just like I don’t know. And he’s a history major so he’s like—

Andrew: Awesome.

Ana: ‘Oh yea here’s this—’

Andrew: One of us—

Ana: —‘place and this place else’ and it’s like… I don’t know, it’s cool. It, I didn’t know there was so much history here, and it’s also cool to just see things of like, oh yea George Washington, and the beginning of the whole country, and I’m like that’s insane, like—

Andrew: Thats, yeah we’re just, yeah we’re just livin here.

Ana: Like right in the middle of all that. And like we went, we went on a field trip for the history club actually to Salem! And that was so cool.

Andrew: Oh, you were on that! That’s great!

Ana: Yea!

Andrew: Good to know .

Ana: That was the coolest thing. And I was like, oh man -

Andrew: Excellent, good you keep-

Jacob: We wanna do it again!

Ana: Yea?

Jacob: Yeah.

Andrew: Yea we're thinkin about—

Ana: That was so fun, and it was like cool to see. We did, went to a couple museums because oh course he's like, wants to see the history of it.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Ana: But, you don’t really get that deep of a history, in Illinois—

Andrew: Yeah.

Ana: Like I have Chicago, and we go down there and see all of like, the architecture side, but nothing is like old as out here.

Andrew: The colonial history doesn’t go back as far there —

Ana: But it’s pretty cool to see it all like that. And the nature is gorgeous. I’ve been to the sound once, but it was really cool, really different.

Andrew: Oh yeah, the forests here are wonderful. And it’s interesting because they really up until about one hundred and fifty years ago the state was really mostly just farm fields, so the trees have spring up since then.
Have you noticed anything about the Latino community here in the state at all since you’ve been here, or do you have any thoughts on that?

Ana: So…I’m Mexican, and it’s a little bit isolating. I used to work retail so I would have a lot of (Latino) customers, but the majority of my customers were Puerto Rican, Dominican…

Jacob: — two Puerto Ricans right here.

Ana: Yeah! Yeah. There was no, there was a few, a very, very few, I can count on one hand how many Mexican families, Mexican customers I would see and so it’s really weird and isolating to not see my culture because I come from Chicagoland suburbia, so it’s all Mexican out there. There’s rarely any Puerto Rican or any other type of Hispanic people out there, and it’s like crazy to see that. And also I haven’t found any good place for tacos yet. I found one...but like, it’s weird to not have tacos on every corner. So it’s different.

Andrew: It’s Italian food, and Puerto Rican food up here, and like…that’s it. And Chinese food.

Ana: I don’t know where it is, but there’s one place in Hartford that I found that’s good. I don’t know where it is.

Jacob: I was going to say Hartford, Hartford is probably your best bet.

Ana: Yeah, and I did go down to New Haven to the food trucks.

Andrew: Cool.

Ana: That was alright, that wasn’t too bad.

Andrew: Right by the warf—

Ana: Yeah, right by Ikea, I’ve been searching, I’ve been searching.

Andrew: That’s awesome, that’s so cool that you’re…there are so many people who live here in this state and when you talk to them about it they don’t have anything to get excited about. So it’s wonderful sit down to speak to you as someone who came cause like, going to to school, something new, gonna see how it goes. And had such a positive experience in the state so far. I don’t want to—

Ana: I’ve moved around a bit so it’s like —

Andrew: Yeah, you have a bunch of experiences elsewhere. You think you’ll probably end up somewhere else somewhere too?

Ana: I want to try the West Coast, you know? Maybe like, Washington or California or something out there. California is kind of expensive.

Andrew: And water out there.

Ana: Yeah, but I would miss the snow. It’s weird, I’ve gotten so used to snow. So I would probably live in the north.

Andrew: That’s something I always laugh about too, being a diaspora Puerto Rican, is like, I love the winter time. If I were to ever live down on the Island, if I were to ever live down there it would feel…just…something would be wrong without having the snow.

Ana: Yeah.

Andrew: I don’t want to keep you too long. Thank you so much for this. I have one last question for you and it’s just for people like us at CCSU, even people who are Latinos or anything like that. For someone who came to the United States as an immigrant, for someone who came to Connecticut as a student, lots of new experiences for you, what is one thing that you would want for us naturalized Americans to know, if we were totally ignorant to your experience, you have one thing you want us to know, what would that be?

Ana: (pause)

Andrew: No pressure.

Ana: Everyone’s story is different and I think it is important to know where your personal family comes from. Like, for example, my boyfriend’s not hispanic. But he knows that his Dad’s grandparents were from Italy, like straight from Italy. And I think it’s important to know your personal history like that. So, even if you’re…I don’t think that like…my sister for example…that was like three sentences.

Andrew: No worries.

Ana: My sister was born here. So she’s technically an American. I don’t even know if she has Mexican citizenship through my parents. She should, but I don’t know if we’ve ever figured that out. But she knows a lot of our culture because we’ve passed that down to her. We haven’t let her just…on her own. So if you haven’t had like, the fortune to have someone to pass that down to you, then look into it on your own. Just to see where you come from. Just to see where you come from, you know? I think that that’s important to know.

Andrew: That’s wonderful.

Ana: I mean that’s…I don’t know if you want to talk about my necklace next..

Andrew: No please, go right ahead, absolutely —

Ana: That’s kindof what this reminds me of, I got this (necklace) in Mexico when I was baptized. And it actually has my wrong initials on it, because my Godfather didn’t know my initials.


But it’s OK.

Andrew: That’s part of it. That’s part of it.

Ana: That’s part of it. But it has the Virgen de Guadalupe which is the Virgin Mary, but in the stair of Guadalupe where she appeared to us. And she’s so, so iconic in Mexican culture and it’s part of like, it just reminds me. Like every day, just where I’m from. And it is nice to have a token of that. And it’s cool because it reminds me that like…I don’t know…specifically in Mexico, religion is so intertwined with our culture. Like we’re very superstitious, but we’ll also have this huge, like, Catholic mix, so it’s not two separate things to us, it’s not like —

Andrew: It’s all one spiritual experience—

Ana: So just things like that, just finding…I would suggest just finding things out about your personal family. Because I know people come from all these different places, and their parents might have grandparents that came from four different countries or something, you know? So it’s like, cool to find out.

Andrew: That’s excellent, thank you so much.




“Ana Perez Martinez,” Latino History Harvest, accessed June 17, 2024,

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