Activity 8

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Information about Activity 8

Published on April 6, 2014

Author: Lily10251


Monica Gonzalez EDF 2085 Dr. Annmarie Masi A c t i v i t y 8 Family Tree: Tracing One’s Roots and Family Experiences Purpose To discover your family’s experiences in past generations and compare them with those of immigrants and refugees today. Instructions Respond to the reflective questions below. Most people in the United States can trace their family history, or roots, to someplace other than where they currently reside. Speak with family members and look through old family photographs (if you have any) to trace your family’s heritage as far back as possible. If you were adopted or do not know your ancestors, respond in terms of an adoptive or foster family, or one with which you closely identify. Respond to the following questions as best you can and share your responses with others. From what parts of the world did your family (or families) originate? Both sides of my family come from Cuba. What motivated your ancestors to leave their homeland for a New World? When did they leave? If your ancestors were always in North America, what was their life like prior to European contact? Both sides of my family left Cuba because of the communist regime. My maternal grandmother left in April of 1962 and my paternal grandmother and grandfather left in June of 1966.

What hardships did your ancestors face in previous generations, either when they first arrived or soon after contact? What did they do to overcome any hardships? Do they recall any prejudice that was experienced? When my maternal grandmother came from Cuba she was only 19 years old. Unfortunately she had to come alone because her husband was already in New York working to save money for the baby they had on the way. Her uncle who was living in Ohio at the time was the one that claimed her and she had to go and stay with him until her parents were able to join her. Some things that were difficult for her to overcome included the climate change, the language barrier, being away from her family for the first time in her life not knowing if she would ever see them again, and being pregnant with her first child. Although she had a lot of things against her my grandmother persevered. She learned English and took things one day at a time. She focused her energy on raising my mom until she was reunited with her family in 1966. My paternal grandparents came to the U.S. on the Freedom Flights, my grandmother had 3 small children with her including my father who at the time was two years old. When they arrived in Miami, they faced many hardships. My grandfather struggled to find work because of the language barrier, and my grandmother was at home with 3 children while my grandfather was out trying to make ends meet. Finally things started to look up after a few months without work my grandfather found a job as a bartender at the Fountain Bleu hotel in Miami Beach. He and my grandmother both learned English and were able to give their children everything they needed. What did your ancestors do in the previous two or three generations? How did this influence what the family does today? On my mother’s side of the family for the past three generations all the women have been educators! So I am definitely following in their footsteps. On my father’s side of the family the women have been homemakers, and the men have made businesses of their own. All of my family

have been very hard working individuals, to this day most of the women in my family are teachers or studying to be teachers, and the men are running their own businesses. What languages did your ancestors speak? What has happened to these languages in your family today? My ancestors spoke Spanish. Today my family speaks English and Spanish. It is actually really hard to keep the language, I speak English more throughout the day. I only speak Spanish when I speak to my grandmother, I am trying my best to teach it to my daughter because I know the importance of being bilingual. What family traditions or practices have been performed over the years that are special or unique to your family? One tradition that I love is that on holidays the whole family gets together for the entire day! We all participate in cooking the meal, it’s really fun because everyone contributes! It gives everyone a chance to catch up, sometimes it’s hard to keep up with everyone, and so getting together for a whole day of holiday fun is the perfect way to keep us close as a family.

What do you know of the meaning behind your family name? How, if at all, has it changed over the years? Do you know the reason for any changes? The only thing I know about my family name “Gonzalez” is that it originates from Spain, and that it is extremely common for Latin’s to have this last name. I don’t think that it has changed at all over the years. How are the experiences of your family similar to or different from those faced by various immigrants or refugees today? I believe that most families go through similar situations when migrating from other countries, I think that it could have been easier for my family because of the fact that they came so many years ago, I think things may be harder now a days because life was simpler back then. The cost of living is way more now than it was in the 1960’s and I think that a lot of immigrants today have to stay on welfare longer than they did back when my family arrived from Cuba. I think it might even be harder for someone to find a job now than it was 50 years ago. In what ways was this exercise easy or difficult for you to do? Under what circumstances might an exercise like this be difficult for a student to do? What might you do as a teacher to modify it in special circumstances? This exercise wasn’t really that difficult for me to do because thankfully both my maternal and paternal grandmothers are still here and they were able to give me lots of information. I think it may be difficult if the student doesn’t have a big family, or if they are

adopted, or if they don’t have grandparents who are living. As a teacher I would have them find out the origin of their last name as an alternative assignment.

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