Fabi Olsen, a woman who immigrated to the U.S and began a new life here. Where she only
spoke Spanish, and went to college and got her degree in nursing. She overcame her hardships and had a family of her own.
Describe the moment you realized when you wanted to go to the U.S?
I was excited I was happy. My mother was already here in the U.S and it was a special moment coming here and spend time and live with her.
Did you immigrate with anybody? If so, with who?
I did. I came with my older brother Victor and my sister Noemi.”
Did you leave anybody behind?
I left my maternal grandfather, an aunt, and uncles which I consider them my brothers my sisters because I grew up with them. I grew up at my grandparents’ house back in Mexico.
What was the process like immigrating to the U.S?
It wasn’t too bad, considering the fact that there is.... (takes a breath) Here in the U.S, there’s a
large population of Hispanics so culture-wise it wasn’t too bad. People speak Spanish, there’s a lot of groceries at the supermarkets, with the... you know Spanish spices and....And ingredients and all the stuff. So it wasn’t really that bad.
What did you expect the U.S to be like before you got here?
(You hear baby noises in the background) That’s when you are little you watch a lot of those Hollywood movies, so (she laughs a bit). I expected it to be beautiful, I lot of green with big houses and people well dressed, nice clothes (she laughs some more). Just.. Just different.
How was your experience like going to college in the U.S?
After high school, when I finished high school I put myself in college. It was hard at times, with some of my classes, I used to study a lot; pretty much day and night. And when I didn’t understand words or phrases I always carried with me an English to Spanish dictionary, and that becomes very handy. And it used to help me with things that I didn’t understand. So it was pretty handy.
How did people treat you when you first got to the U.S?
I didn’t really see any or feel any difference. In college, I used to want to be friends with people with different backgrounds in mind. I wanted to practice my English. I know I used to watch TV a lot in order to understand and speak the language and umm. I also wanted to understand other people’s race, beliefs and learn from them.
Why did you choose to become a nurse in the U.S?
I started working in the healthcare industry, right after college ummm. When (stutters a bit) when I went to college there was a waiting list to go to the nursing program and I just got tired of waiting in a way. So I started working at the healthcare industry in surgery and umm my coworker and along with my boss encouraged me to go back to school to pursue my nursing career. Which I did and I worked at it for almost 20 years.
Did you miss your family when you came to the US?
I did I.. miss the others are left behind but we.. we keep in touch. They come here to visit and I got over there once a year or so.
This oral history was completed as part of Mr. Sepulveda's English class in Spring 2021. The narrative is shared with the narrator's permission and has been lightly edited for clarity.