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Know Your Culture: My Immigration Story



Today I’m off to New York City to partake in the Latism conference. This will be the first time I’ve attended this gathering, I’ve always wanted to, but something always came up date-wise. This is definitely a good time to go. I’m one of 100 Latina bloggers invited to visit the United Nations on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. It’s part of the 2013 Latism Blogueras Retreat.


Yes, I’m thinking what you are thinking…WHAT?? It’s really happening. I’m packing up my yarn and glitter and heading to the Big Apple!

I’ve known for a couple weeks, but it has been a super-duper top secret topic, they are finally announcing it today to the public. We’re all staying at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan and will be participating in a lot of different leadership panels, workshops, discussions and even playing sports games with kids from the Big Brother Big Sister program at the U.S. Open.

One of the homework assignments we had was to write a blog post titled, “My Immigrant Story.” Immigration reform is a hot topic in our country and I never get into politics on my blog. I believe art and creativity is something that unites people from all walks of life, and I like to be a catalyst for that. But, like each and every one of us, I have an immigration story to share.

And it’s not political at all, it’s my history.

Here is the story of how I ended up in Phoenix, Arizona. This is from my dad’s lineage. My great-grandparents on my dad’s side were born in Mexico during the late 1800s. My great-grandfather on my Nana Cano’s side used to manage a farm in Sonora by day, and after hours he had his own business making and selling blankets. He passed along that “craftypreneur” trait to my nana (and avid seamstress and artist), who passed it along to my dad (jewelry maker, sewer, and tinker), who passed it down to me (crafty chica). Back to the story! My great-grandfather  eventually moved the family to Arizona and my Nana Cano was born in Phoenix in 1913. OK, now, on my Tata’s side, my great-grandfather was a miner in Zacatecas (my great-grandmother, a housewife) and he moved the family to what is now New Mexico in 1910 – yes, during the Mexican revolution! Then my tata was born in New Mexico in 1912. His family eventually moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where my tata met my nana, they fell in love, got married and had nine kids – one of which was my dad! He met my mom, they fell in love and here I am!

My pop and mom!

My Uncle Joe filled me in on all the details before I left for my trip. I literally choked up as he told me all this information. How could I go so long without knowing all these details? Especially the part about my great-grandfather working so hard and running a creative enterprise, it makes me feel like carrying on a family tradition. I’m excited to return from my trip and spend more time with my Uncle Joe to get even more scoop.

Here I am in NYC!

I leave for New York with a strong sense of pride. Not only for my Mexican heritage (fourth generation!), also for being an Arizonan – a Phoenician! My grandparents and parents were born right here in our town, my dad even helped design the city streets as an engineer for the city of Phoenix. As much as I travel all over the country, and as much controversy we have here because of immigration, Phoenix, Arizona will always be the anchor that this crafty chica calls home.

Now it’s your turn! What is your immigration story? How did you and your family end up where you are now? It doesn’t matter what background or ethnicity, we all have a story to tell, so spill! Let’s pretend we’re at a huge craft table with supplies galore and chit-chatting the night away!

Crafty Chica Tour (sponsored by Buick & La Quinta!)

Oilcloth Travel Mugs


3 thoughts on “Know Your Culture: My Immigration Story”

  1. Kathy, thank you so much for sharing your story. Sometimes I think we get caught up in the politics, we forget the good stuff.
    My family is from the Yuma area. Many generations have lived along the Gila river. My old nana (great grandmother) told us that one day our family was Mexican and the next we were American.
    Have a wonderful time in NYC learning about all the different Latin cultures that are proud to call America their home.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story! As I write this I am listening to my children sort their craft paper for valentine hearts. I was born in Mexico and my parents brought us (I also have a brother) back in the 80’s. My husband is also Mexicano, he came to the US around the same time we did. I can honestly say that we are living the American dream: educated, great jobs, nice house, debt and crafting. I will always be grateful for the risk my parents took to leave their home so we would have an opportunity to have this lifestyle. I am inspired by your work and your zest! I hope to someday share a crafting table with you.


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