Immigrants to America, This Family Redefines the American Dream

When the Rodriguez family moved to the U.S. in the 70s, they dreamt of a better life. "We had to make it," she admits. Once immigrants, their hard work and family helped see them through to the American dream.

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Immigrants to America, This Family Redefines the American Dream

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When the Rodriguez family moved to the U.S. in the 70s, they dreamt of a better life. "We had to make it," she admits. Once immigrants, their hard work and family helped see them through to the American dream.


When the possibility of a dream coming to fruition looks like it’s quickly diminishing, there is a certain kind of strength that arises, pushing one to endure. This strength is resilience and is something that Carmen Rodriguez so clearly embodies as she reflects on her experience immigrating to the United States in this episode of In My Day. Sitting next to her husband, whose health is declining and who doesn’t speak English, Carmen remembers moving from Guadalajara to the United States, one year after her husband, with the hope that they would have the opportunity to have a better life. Together, the two opened their restaurant, Gilbert’s, in Santa Monica in 1974. Today, Carmen’s husband sits next to her to support her as he did during the beginning stages of starting a business. Their first months in business were extremely difficult. Other people told them they wouldn’t make it, but Carmen insisted that they would, that they had to. Despite the discouragement from other people, Carmen’s brother was supportive of their venture, saying, “Don’t worry; you’re [going to] make it.” And they did. Eventually, by word of mouth, people began to hear about the restaurant, and “now it’s a big success,” Carmen says. But it didn’t come easy, and truly, nothing worth having ever does. It will be risky and require everything you have, but in Carmen’s case, it was worth the risk. “[If] you want something, you have to work for [it],” she advises. What’s your dream? Do people tell you it’ll never happen? Are you unable to shake the feeling that it’s something you should go after and give everything to? If you can relate to the pressing longing for more, for taking the leap, this episode is for you. To hear more about how a persistent work ethic can pay off, and about the beautiful gesture Carmen’s brother made every day in order to help the restaurant get more business, check out the video above.

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