Growing up, I never wondered whether I belonged in my mother’s or my father’s world. I belonged in both. As a child, I spent my summers in southern Texas, where my mom was born. My great-aunts fawned over my light eyes, Abuelita Santos baked mounds of my favorite empanadas, and I sat for hours with my grandmother, listening to her stories. I never noticed when she reverted to Spanish; English and Spanish intermixed in their home. She told me how Grandpa worked up from nothing, accepting his first job as a valet when he did not even know how to drive. She told me that I should always give money to the bell ringers at Christmas, because the Salvation Army had brought her all her Christmas presents when she was young. My grandma is shy among white people. As a Spanish-speaking child in a public school, she was humiliated by her white teachers and still remembers the store owners who ordered her away, because they did not serve Mexicans. My grandpa is bolder, having succeeded in a predominantly white world, but he is still guarded. I am their pride, the second person in their family to graduate college, the first of my generation. No one in their family has ever earned a graduate degree.
Back home in Missouri, I lived in another world. We led a typical, middle-class lifestyle, but our close proximity to my father’s parents never let me forget our roots. My father grew up in southeasten Missouri, where survival meant mining lead or scratching a subsistence out of the Ozark hills. My paternal grandfather did both when he came home from fighting in Korea. He was never wealthy or well-educated, but he was proud when my grandmother received her GED. He put my father through college and now dotes on me, hoping that he will live to see me earn the family’s first graduate degree.
I am proud of where I came from. My grandparents taught me to love their respective cultures, to value hard work and to cherish family history. The joining of their two cultures was not peaceful by any means, but I matured through it. Outbursts of prejudice at holiday gatherings taught me empathy. Being the only person without a predetermined side in the fight taught me independence. Frustration with close-mindedness showed me the importance of curiosity. All of these lessons will make me a better attorney, especially as I defend immigrant and refugee clients, as I hope to do someday.
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If you reread this ds, you'll realize in the first 200 or so words there is very little about you, and a lot about your relatives. this is your DS. write about your heritage has shaped you, not your grandmother etc, etc. provide a little more insight about what your complex background means to you.
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