Blog Archives

The Mexican Dog Whisperer

cesarCesar Millan, aka: “The Dog Whisperer” is another immigrant that came to the USA following his dreams. Born in Culiacán, Sinaloa in México, “The Dog Whisperer” crossed the USA border when he was 21 years old. He didn’t know anyone in the USA or even knew how to speak English, but there was no obstacle for him to pursue his dreams.

He grew up in a farm surrounded by wild dogs, and that is how he became intrigued by their behavior and eventually training dogs became his passion. How did he end up in a TV show?

First, he knew that training dogs was what he wanted to do.

Second, he started from the bottom. As an “illegal immigrant”, he started working in a dog grooming store with the most aggressive dogs (yes, “illegal immigrants” get highly paid and competitive jobs!)

Third, he saw the opportunity and took advantage of it. While working as a limousine driver, he came across Jada Pinkett Smith who became one of Millan’s first clients and supporters (she also helped him learn English)

Fourth, he opened the “Dog Psychology Center” in South Los Angeles where he worked with large breed dogs.

Fifth, he became a permanent resident in 2000 and US citizen in 2009.

Sixth, he continued with his passion which ultimately opened the doors to his TV show.

Seventh, despite all the ups and downs of having a “celebrity” status, criticisms, professional/business issues and personal matters; he hasn’t given up doing what he loves which is rehabilitating dogs.

If you have a dream, you have to follow it, and accomplish it. Now, on the other hand, do you still think that “illegal immigrants” take jobs away from “Americans”? Do you still think that “illegal immigrants” do more damage than good to the American society? Cesar Millan, is just another immigrant showing that dreams do come true in the USA.

Photo credit: Cesar Millan wordpress


2013 Boston Marathon Explosion and Immigration


Many questions remain unanswered in the latest disaster that our country had to suffer. Innocent lives were lost, many people were injured, and the whole world watched the events occurred last week in Boston, MA.

Social media played a very important role in sharing the latest news, pictures and capturing the alleged people who were responsible for this horrific act.

I first heard of the Boston Marathon explosions via Twitter; five minutes later, all the TV stations were interrupting their normal programming to inform the viewers of the happenings. I was horrified, sad and paralyzed. I couldn’t believe what the TV stations were showing.

The feelings I had were similar to when I woke up to the news that morning of 9-11 and I couldn’t help to remember the car bomb explosions that happened in Peru many years ago.

However, what made me more upset, were the news after the explosion. The two brothers responsible for this abomination. Two immigrant brothers! I couldn’t believe it. Two very young minds wasted and perhaps lost future. How could these two young men were able to do something so horrible? I don’t know. I don’t understand.

The USA opened its doors to these two young men and their family. The immigrated to this beautiful country, just like many of us, following that DREAM. The dream of freedom and a better future. What a waste! How devastating for their parents! How much pain and destruction these two young men have left as a result of their actions!

How would this disaster affect immigration? Why do people want to come to this country? In previous posts, I have always advocated that immigrants come to the USA in search of the DREAM. What happened? What happens when the DREAM becomes a nightmare?

Moreover, how is this going to affect the immigration reform? Will it truncate the DREAMS of the many illegal immigrants that are in hope of a decision from our politicians? I hope that politicians take a closer look at the whole picture, and legalize the status of the many illegal immigrants that live in the USA. It is actually sarcastic that legal immigrants are the ones responsible for many of the massacres occurred in our country.

I think it is unacceptable that legal immigrants destroy this beautiful country. It is so contradictory, it doesn’t make sense to me.

I am not taking sides, but the majority of illegal immigrants are Hispanics, and we do not want to destroy this country or hurt its citizens. We just want to work and contribute to our society. We are just trying to make our DREAMS a reality.

Photo credit:

La Morenita


La Morenita music and wireless is one of the stores that is located along the “Boulevard of Dreams”: Wells Avenue in Reno, NV.

The store owner, Miguel Reyna, took the time of his busy day and was kind enough to talk to me about his story and his dreams.

It all started about 13 years ago, when Miguel and his wife moved to the “biggest little city” looking for a better life. They moved from California and started their own business. Miguel named his store in honor of his wife. “La Morenita” is a diminutive of dark woman in Spanish, of course.

Miguel is originally from Mexico, but in Reno, he has been able to attain the quality of life that he couldn’t in California. However, he has more dreams, he wants to continue his education. As an entrepreneur, he believes that in order to succeed, the business owner needs to “adapt” to the changes of the environment.

La Morenita offers a variety of CD’s and books and targets the Hispanic market in the Reno area; moreover, the store also offers affordable cellular phones and plans without a contract. Miguel also sponsors several soccer teams in town and he is planning some exciting changes and upgrades to the store. Next time, if you are close by Midtown in Reno, stop by La Morenita and check out some music and literature in Spanish.

Photo credit: La Morenita Music and Wireless Facebook

America for America

americaI have always wonder why some parents choose to name their children after countries, continents, days of the week, months, and even fruits?

Although, I may never understand their reasons, America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”) is using her name to promote the “latino vote” and the passing of the “Immigration Reform”. Last year, she started a campaign to encourage Latinos to vote and to not be scared of their immigrant status.

America is a second generation latina born from Hondurans parents that came to the US in the mid 70’s. Perhaps she didn’t have to deal first hand with immigration status issues, but her parents and relatives may had. She definitely has an easier life than her ancestors and probably she may have not become who she is now if her family was deported.

The United States of America, aka as “America” is the “land of the free, where dreams come true”. America is the country that attracts millions of tourist from all over the world; many of them stay in this beautiful country because they see the opportunities this beautiful country offers, opportunities that perhaps their native countries do not have.

I wouldn’t like to have “people break into my home illegally”, but I do believe in dreams and opportunities. Would you tend a hand to a person that wants to better himself or herself? I would.

Many people in “America” do not like immigrants, especially those that entered this country illegally. Many people want the illegal immigrants to go back to where they came from; however, many other people support an immigration reform. America Ferrera, among other celebrities, politicians and people of influence that have hispanic heritage are among those supporters of a reform to legalized the status of many people who call US their home.

Do you support the Immigration Reform? Yes/No Why? and What are you doing to support your cause?

Photo credit:

A Rainbow of Poems and Numbers in the White House


Few months ago, Richard Blanco became the first Latino, openly gay and youngest fifth poet to receive the honor to read at the inauguration of a United States president. He wrote “One Today,” for the occasion.

As I started researching more about this another successful Hispanic man, I find out that him and I share more than the Latino heritage.

Richard Blanco is a Civil Engineer and a poet. I am a Civil Engineer, and until yesterday’s post “Ode to Cesar Chavez”, I was a dormant poet. I used to write poems in Spanish when I was still living in Peru. I decided to concentrate more in the numbers (as they are universal) so when I came to the USA, I continue my education as an engineer.

I would have never imagine to find another Latino engineer that writes beautiful poetry. Although, I am not as well known poet nor as successful as Richard Blanco; I am aware of the similarities between us.

He has inspired me to start writing poetry again, despite I am an engineer. He has inspire the US to follow our dreams and accept each one of us just the way we are. He is giving us an example to be comfortable with who we are regardless of what other people say or think and regardless were we come from.

On an interview, Blanco expresses that after being the inaugural poet, he felt like he was “finally being home”. His statement reminded me of one of my first posts “Please don’t ask me where I’m from”, and made me realized that I have still not experienced that moment when it is all clear where you belong. What was that moment in your life when you finally realized that you were home?

Photo Credit: Dodge Poetry

Ode to Cesar Chavez


Today, the world celebrated your 86th birthday.

Today, I write to you in this form for the first time in 17 years.

From the farms to the www,

State Holiday in California, Colorado and Texas.

Many people call your name,

other people “google” your name.

cesar chavez doodle

Cesar Chavez, the man,

Cesar Chavez, the labor leader,

Cesar Chavez, the civil rights activist.

Would you fight for what is right?

Would you die for what is right?

Would you boycott and go on hunger strikes for what is right?

You gave voice to those whose rights got forgotten,

You helped those who thought they had no choice.

From good son, good husband, good father, good man;

A Mexican American that knew what to do

and inspired a movement.

Who would have thought that your birth date today created a controversy?

Is it your legacy?

Is it your name?

Is it that your dream is finally becoming a reality?

Have your voice been heard?

Have your sacrifice gotten rewarded?

Cesar Chavez, your name…

I didn’t know, now I do.

Forever remembered…

In the farms, in the www…

That’s your birthday present.

Happy birthday, Viva Don Cesar Chavez!

I’m sure that wherever you are now,

you are continuing leading the movement for what’s right.

Photo Credit: 1-Cesar Chavez Bio, 2-Google Doodle  

“Life is a Dream”

dreamI still remember when I started reading the book “Life is a Dream” written by the Spanish author Pedro Calderon de la Barca. I was only 15 years old, and like a typical teenager, I thought life was a dream. Three years later I had to wake up from that dream into reality and I decided to take life by the horns. At 18 years old, I made the decision to come to the United States looking for the “American Dream”.

My journey started as my eighteenth year birthday present from fate and destiny, since somehow, all along, I always knew that my life was going to change as soon as I become an adult. As a self-fulfilling prophecy and against all odds, I came to the USA and Reno, Nevada became my new hometown.

I didn’t choose Reno, Reno chose me. I had never even heard of Reno, until few months before confirming that I was going to be able to come to the US. My mom had a childhood friend that lived in Reno, and she convinced her that it was better for me to come live with her instead of going either to Miami, Florida or with my cousins in Saint Louis, Missouri.

Until that moment, I had no total control of my life. My parents made decisions and I followed. I was glad that my parents gave me permission to come to the US, with the promise to come back in 6 months. That promise has extended to years now, as I will eventually go back to Peru, only after I finish what I have set to do in the US.

In Peru, I was in college pursuing a Civil Engineering degree. I wasn’t going to stop following that dream, so I got admitted to the University of Nevada, Reno to continue my education. In 2007, I accomplished that dream; however, little I knew then that other dream was about to start.

In 2009, my passion for Traffic Engineering pushed me to continue to Graduate School, and last year 2012, I graduated with a Master of Science in Civil Engineering. Once again, I had already started another dream. I am now pursuing a Master in Business Administration which I hope to accomplish by the end of this year (Fall 2013).

The clock is ticking and I have not set another dream for me yet; although, I have a passion for learning different languages and cultures. Perhaps, the next chapters of my life will include traveling the world and/or taking classes to learn other languages. I don’t know, but the sky is the limit, right? Who would have thought that a girl from Chiclayo, Peru that had never even heard of Reno, Nevada would have become the 14-year-old Nevadan that made some of her dreams a reality.  What dreams have you accomplished? What of your dreams are now your reality?

What would you do…for a Dream?

SmuggledMany people do the unthinkable, the unexpected. Many people even die in the odyssey to conquer their dreams.

We have heard stories of what many immigrants do in order to accomplish the “American Dream”.

Several of these stories are heartbreaking and they make you wonder why do some people are so desperate to cross the border and remind here illegally. Are these stories real? Yes they are.

Immigrants, specially the ones that come from south of the border, do the unimaginable to come to the USA. That is what Ramon Hamilton, a Dominican-American actor and director, documented in his 2012 film “Smuggled”

In my opinion, “extreme circumstances call for extreme measures”. I can only imagine what the situation is for those people on the other side of the border in order for them to risk their lives to come to the USA.

My situation was different, and probably I would not be willing to do and suffer what many immigrants do just to cross the border and change their lives looking for the “American Dream”. However, I feel extremely proud and honored to belong to this group of people who are willing to do anything for a better life, I am a Hispanic immigrant in the USA. I feel that we, the immigrants, have the duty to make things happen  in memory of those that lost the battle while fighting for their dreams. We are their legacy, we are their aspiration.

My dream is that one day, instead of immigrants being seen as a plague or a bad disease that happened to this country, we will be seen as the main contributors to this country’s development and success. I believe that we are on our way to make that a reality.

Some people are willing to do whatever it takes in order to accomplish their dreams. What would you be willing to do for a dream?

Photo credit: NBC Latino

Dreams Are Real

 DREAL : Dreams Are Real from Maribel Serrano on Vimeo.

[vimeo 56403953 w=500 h=281]DREAL : Dreams Are Real from Maribel Serrano on Vimeo

Are dreams real? I believe so. Afterall; many of us are following our dreams either by pursuing higher education or a business venture. How much effort would you invest in order to achieve a dream?

I came across a story in the @latinocal which is a news article from Los Angeles, California (sorry the articles are in Spanish). The article’s name is “DREAL: Dreams are Real”. After reading it and watching the movie, I was inspired and reaffirmed that no matter how hard it may seem, or how unreachable a goal may be…when there is will, there is a way.

Chatting with one of my friends this weekend, I expressed my convictions about dreams and how people overcome adversity and achieve their dreams. My friend attempted to shattered my passionate beliefs about achievement of dreams. He sais that dreams are not real, and that people have to give up dreams in order to survive and meet everyday’s responsibilities. He is a very successful business man from Los Angeles area. He is hispanic.

I got very disappointed with his statements. I could not believe what I was hearing. His parents migrated from Latin America to the US in the 70’s and he was born here (second generation Hispanics). He attended college and by first impression; he is living the “American Dream”. However, his deep reality, is different.

I asked him what his dream was, and he told me that “he wanted to be an artist”. Then I asked him why he is not following his dream, and he sadly told me that “he has a family to support and being an artist do not pay the bills”.

I felt really sad for him. He doesn’t even look like the artist type to me, and if I wouldn’t have had this conversation with him, I would have never guessed his situation.

This conversation made me realized that many times success is measured by what other people can see/perceive; however, success is deeper than that. There is more to making dreams come true. First, you got to believe that dreams are real, just like Maribel Serrano’s DREAL. Second, you got to count your blessings and do the best with what you have. Maribel and many other Hispanic immigrants do not have the privileges of being legally admitted in this country. My friend has those privileges, but he has given up on his dreams (of being an artist). Third, you got to fight for those dreams until they become your reality. Maribel is fighting for her dream. She wants to become succesful and being able to work in the US. She is not alone in this dream. There are about 1.5 million of DREAMERS in the US, young people like Maribel that would benefit if the “Dream Act” passes and allows these young people to better themselves in our country.

Dreams are real. Follow Maribel and the DREAMER’s example and fight for your dreams, whatever they are. Don’t become a succesful business man with the broken wings of an artist. Nothing is impossible…sometimes it takes a little effort.

From Prison To Reason

Have you seen this man?

Pride and Glory

Jason Rodriguez

His name is Jason Rodriguez and he is an actor. Without formal acting experience, Director Gavin O’Conner cast him for a principal role in “Pride and Glory,” along with Colin Farrel. Edward Norton, John Voight and John Ortiz.

Pride and Glory

pride and glory movie

However, Jason’s story is not the typical glamorous story; he spent the majority of his life in jail. His story is featured in the article Jason Rodriguez: The Road to Holliwood…via prison and he is also sharing a documentary about his life on Ebru TV called “Soul Survivors.”. I believe he is a great example of strength and hope that people can turn their lives around. He is very impressive; I am sure it takes a lot of will power to change from bad to good.

I am glad and proud of him, not only for changing his life around, but for being another successful Hispanic man making progress in the USA. He is another succesful story that despite all the odds and difficulties he is making his way to achieve his goals and leave his mark in this world.

Stories like his make me wonder about the interaction of the environment and the person. I have always thought that the person is the ultimate responsible for his/her destiny, regardless the environment. It is true that it is easier for some people to succeed because the environment is appropriate and facilitates it. In Jason’s case, he had the environment against him, but he had an additional ingredient in his life, something that we all have and sometimes fail to recognize and take advantage of….LUCK.

Do you believe in luck? Do you believe in destiny? Do you think immigrants are lucky to be in the USA, or was it their destiny to be here?

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