The Story of Magaly Landivar

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American Dream Series

The Story of Magaly Landivar

By Maria Danniella Gutiérrez- Salem

The adventure of parenting leads us to make decisions on behalf of our children, sometimes painful, but in the end successful. Our interviewee was born in Ecuador and lived in the city of Cuenca, the capital of Azuay province. This is such a beautiful city that in 1999 it was named by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. However, like most Latin American countries, this country is not safe from violence and economic hardship. That is why Magaly’s mother, when she found that her parents had obtained visas to live in the United States, came with them, leaving her husband and children in Ecuador.

Was this family breakup very difficult? “Yes it was, but we all understood that it was a necessary sacrifice for our family. My brothers and I were in Ecuador under the care of my paternal grandmother and an aunt. Only six months passed when, in 2006, the family met again here in Danbury. We are very close and have always had the support of our grandparents. In Ecuador, my mother was a homemaker, but here in the United States, in order to have a better education, she decided to work in a factory and support my father in the landscaping company that he owns.

Do you admire your parents a lot? I then saw her eyes sparkle as she spoke of them: “The truth is that I admire the fact that they sacrificed so much to give us the best. I must also say that my mother is simple, kind, sweet and willing to find the good in everyone. My father is a friendly and helpful man. I grew up watching my parents help people around us. They do not know the phrase ‘I can’t.’ I also have an aunt that I consider an extraordinary human being. She is a single mother who has succeeded not only with her son, but also had a leading role in our upbringing and education. She is a very consistent woman, thoughtful, analytical. For me, she is simply my second mother.

What are you doing now? “I am studying Business Management at Western Connecticut State University and working to pay for my studies. I want to provide for my family; I want to help my parents because they worked so hard for us so we could have everything. My biggest dream is to contribute to the welfare of my family both here in America and in Ecuador. I think we cannot be happy when those around us are not happy. Sometimes, a small sacrifice may result in the well-being of an entire family. Every day, I think that my mother made the right decision in bringing us to the land of opportunity.”

How do you enjoy your free time? “In the summer, we have many family gatherings where we enjoy the food. I love ceviche. My mother is an expert at cooking seafood and fish. I think this is because in Ecuador it’s a very popular kind of food. There are excellent restaurants in Danbury that offer our typical food. I think it is important to preserve our cultural richness in all aspects; but clearly we cannot forget that we are in the United States, so it is nice to adopt their culture too. It’s better than one celebration, we have two celebrations.”

What would your final message be? “With dedication and effort, we can be whatever we want to be in this country. I know that by studying I am guiding my destiny to success. Sometimes it’s hard but we should not look back, rather forward, with our heads held high and hearts full of optimism.”

Danniella Maria Gutiérrez-Salem practiced law in Venezuela before going after her own American dream and becoming a writer in the United States. mdgutier@gmail.com.

 

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August 31, 2016

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