Editor's Note: This week, we are running a series of articles on St. Louis Park residents who moved here from all corners of the globe. Everyone we interviewed was in an Adult Options in Education class at . Adult Options in Education offers a variety of programs geared toward people looking to improve their English writing, reading and speaking skills. For more info on Adult Options in Education, visit its website.
Name: Jesus Ramirez
Birth Country: Mexico
First Year in United States: 1997
St. Louis Park Patch: Why did you move to America?
Ramirez: There was no work down there. I was looking for better opportunities, to get something better in life.
St. Louis Park Patch: What have you enjoyed about life in the United States?
Ramirez: I’ve enjoyed a lot of things. Here, you can buy a car really cheap. Down there, that’s one of your dreams, but you’ll never get to that point because you won’t have enough money. Here, you can go wherever you want. There is transportation. You can go to a park, to downtown. Down there, we don’t have that … I met my wife here, too.
St. Louis Park Patch: When did you get married?
Ramirez: We got married in 2003. Actually, we had known each other for 13 years.
St. Louis Park Patch: How did you meet her?
Ramirez: We worked together for a few months in a restaurant, McDonald’s in Bloomington. She was actually dating someone else. I didn’t know that … Then she quit, and we started dating. Now we have a daughter. She’s 3 years old. And another one is on the way. Don't know yet if it's a boy or girl.
St. Louis Park Patch: What challenges have you faced living here?
Ramirez: The main one for me was the language. When I moved here, I didn’t speak a single word in English. To get a job, you have to speak English.
St. Louis Park Patch: How do you think your English is now? Do you feel there is still some room for improvement?
Ramirez: Oh yeah, definitely. I will still say something and think, “That doesn’t sound right because of the way I pronounce (a word)." I think that’s definitely something I can improve.
St. Louis Park Patch: Talk about the classes you’ve been taking. How long have you been in them, and what have you learned?
Ramirez: I’ve learned a lot. Like grammar, pronunciation and spelling. It’s helped me a lot. I started here in 2005. Did it for a few years, and then my daughter was born, so I stopped coming back. Now, my daughter goes to family learning, so she’s over at () learning English and I’m over here learning.
St. Louis Park Patch: Do you work currently?
Ramirez: No, I don’t. But I’m in the process of getting a job in the next month, so I hope I can get it.
St. Louis Park Patch: Do you have other family here?
Ramirez: No, not really. I have some cousins, but they’re not (closely related). We barely see each other.
St. Louis Park Patch: Do you ever to go back home to visit?
Ramirez: Yeah, actually I was just there last year. And I’m planning on going on the Day of the Dead (Nov. 1) … So that will be kind of fun.
Ramirez: What did your family think about your decision to move here?
St. Louis Park Patch: I think it was a little hard for them at first. They were like, “We’re not going to be able to see him.” I said, “If you guys want to come, you can come.” But the process of getting a green card is very, very hard.
St. Louis Park Patch: Do you feel you’ve been welcomed here?
Ramirez: Oh yeah, definitely. Of course, once in a while, you can encounter someone who will say something to you, like racial comments. But otherwise, Minnesota has been so nice for me … The last 15 years, I’ve just enjoyed life here.
St. Louis Park Patch: Did you move straight to Minnesota when you came from Mexico?
Ramirez: Yes. I actually had a friend who was living here at the time. And then I made some American friends, too.
St. Louis Park Patch: What are some of your goals down the road?
Ramirez: I want to get my GED done, for sure. After that, I kind of want to get a career. I’ve been thinking about three things: mechanic or plumber or electrician. I kind of want to learn those things. If I can get one of those (jobs), that would be awesome for me.
St. Louis Park Patch: That would mean going to more school, right?
Ramirez: Yeah, a trade school. Maybe in a small college.
St. Louis Park Patch: Do you know when you might get your GED?
Ramirez: I’m not sure, because I feel I’m still a little behind on some writing. That’s the main problem for me.
St. Louis Park Patch: Anything else interesting about you?
Ramirez: I like to go watch the Vikings. I've went only once—they're expensive. (And) I just love to play American football ... I used to go all the time to Twins games. I went to that new stadium last year. It's pretty cool ... My wife, she hates sports. Everytime I turn on the TV to watch a game, she's like, "I don't know why I married you" (laughing). I told my daughter, "When you grow up, should we just go by ourselves?" She said, "Yeah, we can go."