Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The American Dream

Rajan is the light of our life and the center of our universe. He has brought so much joy and light to both of mine and Darshan's family and he is adored by all. It occurred to me recently, though, that he is the symbol of so much more than that... 

He is the ultimate symbol of the 'American Dream.' 

He is the son of a first generation born Indian father, 4th generation Mexican mother, the great-grandson of a Marine as well as an Army veteran, and he is the grandson of two Indian immigrants. He represents years of struggle, hard work, emigration, determination, and success from both sides of his family. 

This being his first 4th of July, I thought it would be great to share what the American Dream means to all four of his grandparents, mine and Darshan's parents, so that we could keep them for him to read for when he is old enough to understand and appreciate his heritage. 

For us, being American means so much, and for our families it has meant the ultimate sacrifice and achievement. 

Please enjoy, as I have, in reading the struggles and success of four people chasing and living their American Dreams. 

Looking back at my life and being raised by my Marine dad, I realize how proud that made me to be American. As I got older and was able to hear and understand his stories that he shared with my brother and I, it made me realize all of the beauty that this country stood for. My dad came from a hard working family and was a first generation Mexican-American. My Grandfather who was an immigrant from Mexico was an engineer for Santa Fe Railroads, and my Grandmother stayed home and raised 6 boys and 2 daughters. My dad was a basketball star and an all-around great son growing up, and I remember him telling my brother and I that since he was a young boy he always knew he wanted to be a U.S. Marine. As soon as he graduated from Colton High School in Southern California he enlisted straight into the Marines and was sent to fight the War in Korea where he fought as a true soldier  for his country, The United States of America. My brother and I were his first priority, as he was a single father because our mother passed away when we were just babies. My dad always taught my brother and I to have great work ethic and to treat people fair. I always had a lot of pride growing up when I would tell me friends about my dad and my coworkers as I grew older. Even now, as an adult and a grandfather myself, my eyes still tear up knowing that my Pop was a true American soldier and was the best dad I could have ever wished for. From the time he was 70 and until he passed away, he served as an honor guard for Semper Fi 1 for his fellow Marine soldiers who had lost their lives in Afghanistan. I will always hold with pride and envision him in his 'Dress Blues and Shiny Shoes.' I  was proud to be the son of a Marine as a young boy, and you better believe I still am. Myself, my brother, our children and grandchildren are the legacy of a proud U.S. Marine soldier and we thank him for chasing his American Dream so that we could live ours. 

- Patrick Ramos (Rajan's Papa)

I am a proud American who was born in the U.S. and am second generation. Although my heritage is Mexican both of my parents were born and raised in America with American culture and traditions. I don't speak Spanish because we were never raised to speak Spanish in our house because growing up my parents took pride in taking in American culture and that meant speaking English. As a little girl I remember dreaming about all of the things I could be when I grew up. Although I became a young mother, the beautiful thing about this country is that I could still make a nice living for myself and my children. Being a single mother my dreams turned into dreams I had for my children and I made my life about helping them achieve their goals. It is thanks to this beautiful country that we live in that all three of my kids were able to work hard to become what they wanted as adults. I love looking at my grandchildren and knowing the country we live in and the sacrifices I made that they can dream the biggest dreams. Looking at my children and the lives they live make me proud of the family I have built and proud of where we come from. 

- Annette Yglesias (Rajan's Nana)

The American Dream to us meant 'freedom.' Freedom to dream the impossible and freedom to fulfill and accomplish whatever one wishes to achieve. We came to America from India for our future generations to have the opportunities and abilities that we didn't have. We worked hard and lived frugally, but we made life comfortable for our first-generation-born son, even if it meant shopping at thrift stores. In America and because of the sacrifices we made, Dinesh went to school in Texas to be an engineer and Jigisha became an OBGYN. Jigisha had been a practicing doctor in India but when she came to the U.S. she had to reapply and finish medical school in the U.S. because she had dreams of becoming a women's health care doctor in America and wanted to accomplish those dreams because she knew she could, and most importantly, she knew she had to do it for our son and our legacy for our family. After our son graduated from high school, we instilled in him that he could be anything he dreamed of. After years of working for Wells Fargo he left to achieve his dream of becoming a business owner, and because we live in the U.S. we were able to see him achieve his own personal goals. He works hard and his family makes sacrifices as we also did, but because we live in this beautiful country, he has the opportunities to make it big. My grandson is raised in a loving environment with encouragement to embrace his own capacity to dream to be whatever he wants to be. As an American, he can dream to be a doctor like his Grandma, and Engineer like his Grandpa, a business owner like his Dad, a teacher like his Mom, or President of the United States of America. 

- Dr. Jigisha & Dinesh Upadhyaya (Rajan's Grandma 'Ba' and Grandpa 'Dada')

Thank you to this beautiful country for helping us all to achieve our dreams. 

We all are living The American Dream

With love,