“So you learned some of my trevesuras – Girl you should have met me when I was a child!”


Maria when she was little.

In 2004, Maria Abrajan and her mother left her home in Mexico and moved to the United States after deciding to move closer to her father in California. When Maria was 11, her mother gave birth to her younger brother Sebastian Abrajan.

Maria, now 24 years old, graduated from UC Irvine with high marks two years ago and is now taking classes in order to help her become a fashion designer to follow her dream.

But she has to juggle it with her office job, which is where she gets her money for her projects and materials. She is able to manage them both with a little help from her boss, who allowed her to enter her online classes at work.

Sebastian recently talked to Maria about what it’s been like for her to live in America and also her childhood and school years.


[unaudable noise]
Sebastian Abrajan: My name is Sebastian Abrajan. I am thirteen years old. Today is September….. 11 and I am speaking with Maria Abrajan, who is my sister. We are recording this interview in California. What did you want to be when you grew up?
Maria Abrajan: When I was young.. I was thinking of.. pursuing a career in-to be a doctor. But after learning that I like to design.. I am currently pursuing a career in fashion design.
SA: What um steps did you take into being a designer?
MA: Currently I am going to school.. to be a fashion designer. Before that I pursued a career in business and administration. Since it was one of the career options that had to be done with being a fashion designer.
SA: Hm…  Can you tell me about where you grew up and what it was like?
MA: Well, I was born in Mexico… and I lived there for six.. no seven years before moving to the United States and I have lived in California, LA, for a portion, and I have lived for a certain time at Irvine for school.
SA: What schools did you go to here while here?
MA: I went to Vernon City Elementary School until I was at seventh grade. Then I moved to another school and then I moved to a high school in downtown LA and then I moved to another school for my starting tenth grade until I finished 12th grade and then I went to university at the University of Irvine (UC Irvine) and then I am goin-currently going to Trade Tech….
SA: Were there any teachers who had a particularly strong influence on your life? Can you tell me about them?
MA: Hmm… There were counselors I had in elementary school who affected my self esteem in school. I had teachers, a good portion of my teachers at my high school in tenth grade strived or more instead of the same lane hmm. I guess one of them would be Mrs. Florez. She was my, I forget for what class  she has. But she motivated me to like, “You have to strive to hold to- for more and not just stay the same.” She motivated me to apply for; I was really AP in Spanish literature and from there I took a bunch of AP classes.
SA: What did you think your life would be like when you were older had your life turned differently than you imagined?
MA: umm…Well I wanted to study fashion design but I have to start but since um based on my economic status at the time I decided to pursue a career that would be paid based on my status. So instead of taking fashion design I pursued a career in business and administration. Currently I am working for a food company. It was not something I thought of.
SA: How many jobs have you had?
MA:  Well I did a lot of volunteer work, so it is normally volunteer work, but so far I have two jobs I guess. One job was during my time at a university. Right now [mumble].
SA: Can you tell me where you came from and what the experience of coming to the United States was like for you?
MA: Well I came from Mexico and coming here was not a good experience in the beginning for me. I did not know the language, some of the cultural differences, and coming here was not just a great feeling for me. So after adapting I knew I was able to live comfortably, but so far in the beginning I hated it.
SA: What did teachers do to help you change? Or help you change to the new environment?
MA: In the beginning they did try to  have somebody that was- spoke Spanish and tried to like interact with the teacher as a translator or like someone between the teacher and I. So I can interact. That was one way they tried to help me out and slowly after a while I didn’t need a translator… so yeah.
SA: What was the hardest thing to adjust in this coun-[sneeze] try!
MA: So I guess the language barrier for me but not so much the language barrier but my parents both have to go to work in order to provide food at the table. Before when in Mexico I had one parent with me and here I had to be taken care of by somebody else. Which wa- hit me hard.
SA: Can you tell me about someone who had a big influence in your life and what lesson did that person teach you?
MA: Hmm well one counselor for high school. I had thought of pursuing a fashion career in fashion and I didn’t know where to start and I had one of the counselors at FIDM, which is fashion school, send me an email to see if I could go and do a interview and see if I like it. I didn’t want to go but my counselor was like, “If you really want to pursue a career in fashion you might as well go” and thanks to that I was able to create my own plan in deciding where to go-
[Door is opened]
MA: -and that is how I decided to pursue a career.
[door is slammed shut]
SA: What was one of the worst things you did as a kid?
MA: ….Okay so this happened in Mexico! In Mexico it is very different from the United States. There are not a lot of roads  in- the roads are not like here in the time I was at Mexico. They were like dirt and rock instead of like-
SA: Hm. Yeah concrete.
MA: So I decided that since my aunt was in sixth grade at the time she was supposed to take me home and I get frustrated easily. So there was this girl who happened to be in the same grade an she was like, “Oh you want to go home?” and I am, “Yes, I want to go home.” So I went with her and there was this hill which I am afraid of and still am afraid to this day of going down hills and going up hills for some reason and I was like, “You know what I am going to do it.” So I went down the hill talking to her and I was like, “Oh okay I made it down” and when we then went down the hill there was a point were we had to separate.  She went her way and I went my way and I ran home and my mom was like, “What are you doing here!? You are supposed to be at school! Where is Brenda!?” and I am like, “I couldn’t find her so I came with my friend home.” And I am in first grade and she was screaming with me, “Why did you do that?!” and I was like, “I want to go home and she was not there!” I got in trouble for that..
SA: Did the teachers ever find out?
MA: Well in Mexico it is not the same as in the United States. They are not that strict over there it is more like, “If you go to school, you go to school, if you don’t, you don’t.” There is not like, “You could go to jail if your child doesn’t go to school.” Over there they don’t care.
SA: Do you have any other favorite stories from your childhood?
MA: There was one time also in Mexico. It was raining and my aunt and my uncle wanted to go play outside in the rain and I wanted to be a part of it. I was like six or five years old so I decided  to go outside in the rain and my mom and my grandma got angry because they were yelling, “Hey you guys are going to get sick get inside!” I was like, “No I wanna play in the mud and play with the rain!” and they got angry at us. “Go back inside so you won’t get sick!” and I believe we got sick so…
SA: What did you play in the rain?
MA: I don’t know I guess since I was born in a city similar to LA that I was not allowed to play in the rain and I was just extremely sick. I will  get sick just by the rain so when I was finally free I decided I might as well enjoy it so I decided to play in the rain.
[New challenger! / DAD!?/]
SA: Thank you for the interview. 
MA: So you learned some of my trevesuras – Girl you should have met me when I was a child!
SA: What the hell happened to the other one? Did she actually make it home ?
MA: Aquí no es como allá.
SA: I know but did you see her after that day?
MA: Yeah.
SA: Did she get in trouble with her parents?
MA: No she would walk by herself home.
MA: She was not like moi.