58 letters on the American Dream from San Marcos University students, San Diego, California, USA
letter 7: Ashley

Ashley Heffner

GEL 101

 I am half German and half Italian. My great grandparents from both sides of my family decided to move to the United States because they saw a better opportunity not only for themselves, but for their children. On my dad’s side of the family, moving from Italy was a farming issue as well as necessity. They decided to move to California because they were farmers originally from Italy, but came here for a better prospect. On my mom’s side of the family moving from Germany was a chance for a better life. Her family was poor in Germany and came over when my great grand father had enough money to bring his wife and children over. When they first came to the United States they lived in Minnesota. Later after my mom and her siblings were born they moved to many different states including Idaho, South Dakota, Arizona, and finally ended up here in California.

 My family’s immigrant dreams were simply a better future for their children. They wanted their children to succeed and make a better life for themselves. I think the reason my great grandparents decided to move to America was because it was new and told the story of new opportunities and a new and brighter future.

 I love living in southern California. It is a great place and has everything. Here there is perfect whether almost everyday and though you can’t go anywhere without there being traffic, that is one thing I am willing to sacrifice to live in this awesome state.

I generally have never really felt any racial discrimination towards me or anyone else in my family.


 In my mind this picture shows me what it is that my great grandparents saw in America. They saw a place where they would be able to have a new beginning. Though this picture is true in content, about all people wanting to come to America, I feel that is only tends to show the Mexican people coming to America, when in reality it has been all types of different people and not only the Latinos. What the sun, American flag, and beautiful green grass mean to me is that it is seen as a place of wonder and awe, where anything and everything can happen for anyone. The image of people entering, carrying everything they have on their backs symbolizes to me what it is that makes America great. People can come here with nothing and end up with everything.