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Moises Denis interview, January 11, 2019: transcript






Interviewed by Marcela Rodriguez-Campo. Laurents Bañuelos-Benites, Maribel Calderón, and Barbara Tabach also participate in the questioning. Moises "Mo" Denis is a Cuban American born in Brooklyn, New York. He served as the first Latino Majority Leader in the Nevada State Senate and has been involved in public service for over 30 years. As a leader in the Church of Latter Day Saints and his involvement with supporting Latinx initiatives, Mo has been able to increase the representation of Latinos in politics and support educational reform. While early on his family moved around a lot, they finally settled in Las Vegas and have continued to grow their family. Mo is a Rancho High School alum and went on to graduate from Brigham Young University as a music major. He first started his career by opening a music store, but later began working in the tech industry. Eventually, through his involvement in the PTA, Mo was appointed to serve on the Clark County Library Board. There he was involve

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Denis, Moises Interview, 2019 January 11. OH-03547. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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1 AN INTERVIEW WITH MOISES ‘MO’ DENIS An Oral History Conducted by Marcela Rodriguez-Campo Latinx Voices of Southern Nevada Oral History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas 2 ©Latinx Voices of Southern Nevada University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2018 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV – University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Project Manager: Barbara Tabach Transcribers: Kristin Hicks, Maribel Estrada Calderón, Nathalie Martinez, Rodrigo Vazquez, Elsa Lopez Editors and Project Assistants: Laurents Bañuelos-Benitez, Maribel Estrada Calderón, Monserrath Hernández, Elsa Lopez, Nathalie Martinez, Marcela Rodriquez-Campo, Rodrigo Vazquez, Raul Gonzalez 3 The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of a National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) Grant. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank University of Nevada Las Vegas for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader’s understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews with permission of the narrator. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Latinx Voices of Southern Nevada. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas 4 PREFACE New York City is the backdrop for the birth of Moises ‘Mo’ Denis to his Cuban immigrant parents in 1961. By 1967 that family briefly relocated to Las Vegas, where his parents became interested in the Church of Latter-Day Saints. They moved to Salt Lake City, but eventually mad Las Vegas their permanent home. As a teen, Denis went to Uruguay on his two-year LDS mission and use of his Spanish. During this oral history, Denis shares his long history with Las Vegas, the Latinx community, and his dedication to promoting education for all, especially for English language learners. His public service career began when his eldest child entered kindergarten and the PTA recruited him 5 as a volunteer. And with a drumroll launch, Denis’s leadership role evolved. He has been active in: National Parent Teacher Association (PTA); Boy Scouts of America; Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce; North Las Vegas Township Democratic Club; Paradise Democratic Club; Nevada Hispanic Democratic Caucus; State of Nevada Employees Association/American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. He has been on Clark County Library Board and involved with Boyd School of Law’s Reading Centers By 2004, he was representing District 28 in the Nevada Assembly. He held that position until 2010 and then was elected to his current position as Nevada State Senator for District 2. He has served as President pro tempore since 2016 Denis is a graduated of Rancho High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Brigham Young University. Early in his college career he fell in love with Susan Cook. The two have five children: Diana Marie (Gale), Dustin Lee, Daniel Carlos, Denae Virgilia, Dallin Moises. 6 TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Moises ‘Mo’ Denis January 11, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Marcela Rodriguez-Campo with Laurents Bañuelos-Benitez and Maribel Estrada Calderón Preface…………………………………………………………………………………………..iv Talks about his name Moises, being called Moses and then Mo; born in Brooklyn, NY, to parents who emigrated from Cuba with his older sister; how his parents met in the US, went back to Cuba to marry, before moving more permanently, this was before Castro; over the subsequent years many relatives joined them here. Recall that his family moved frequently during his grade school years, New York, Miami, Arlington, VA , and then to Las Vegas in 1967 when he was six-years old. Father was a waiter and room service waiter at the Sands. When parents converted from Catholicism to LDS, they moved again to Salt Lake City before returning to permanently liv in Las Vegas. Father worked in a missile plant in Salt Lake City; mother’s sisters moved to Las Vegas……………………………………………………………………….………………….1 – 5 His father had a childhood friend who was well established in Las Vegas, architect Arturo Cambeiro; talks about attraction of Las Vegas to Cuban immigrants; his father worked at Sands, talks about neighborhoods they lived in near Stratosphere, Francisco Park, and Valley High School area. Talks about speaking Spanish with parents and switching to English with siblings; members of a small Spanish speaking Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints congregation; unaware that Spanish and English were two separate languages in his youth; in fifth grade knew how to read English, not Spanish, and languages began to make sense to him. Recalls what family life was like, father worked swing shift at Sands, mom worked at Dunes. Cubans highly social; family driving across country. Remembers being in Boy Scouts………………………………….…6 – 9 Recalls mischief with his sister who is 18-months younger; only boy of four children. Talks about traditional Cuban food; television, parents developing English skills. More about Salt Lake City, church and friendships…………………………………………………………..……….....10 – 13 Describes the formation of the Spanish-language LDS Church in Las Vegas; began with 30 people and now estimates 12-15,000; remembers missionaries visiting his family home when he was seven and then becoming a missionary to Uruguay; awareness of different Spanish accents and meanings that got confused; learning to teach the lessons; life lessons from the experience; being there when Uruguay elected its first president; culture; seeing the American flag at the US Embassy………………………………………………………………………………….…14 – 21 7 Memories of returning to the United States from the two-year mission in 1982; like starting all over with family and friends; observable changes in Las Vegas, such as Fashion Show Mall was built; MGM fire happened shortly after he left for Uruguay; relearning how hot Las Vegas temperatures could get. Returns to Brigham Young University; how he met his wife; they have been married for 35 years; pursuit of music studies; opening a music store in Springville, Utah. Enrolls in UNLV’s music department and tells about becoming interested in computers, which leads to a job……………………………………………………………………………..…22 – 27 Talks about his wife Susan, who was raised in Las Vegas, a Rancho High School graduate, a sixth-generation Nevadan, founders of Panaca, NV. He describes how his five children have experienced the variation between his Cuban culture and Susan’s quieter Nevada Mormon family. Two of his children have been missionaries and speak Spanish………………………………………..28 – 30 How he became involved in public service; leadership opportunities through the church and Boy Scouts. What he learned from volunteering for PTA when daughter started kindergarten; becoming an education advocate with legislature; encouraging Latino use of libraries and importance of libraries and reading in his life; Clark County Library Board and expansion of services……………………………………………………………………………………..30 – 34 Talks about his move from appointed positions to running for assemblyman, the movement to elect more Latinx to the political scene; mentions Bob Coffin, Dario Herrera, Vonne Chowning, Doug Bache, his loss in the first election and then running again two years later; Ruben Kihuen running in District 11; increased Latinx representation; Tig Segerblom called Tico and invited to join the Hispanic Caucus. Talks about being a Democrat, Latino and LDS and being a cousin to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)………………………………………………………………….…………….35 – 39 More about his focus on education issues and explains new funding formula supporting English language learning; also, anti-discrimination and excessive penalties on the poor. On national level he is working immigration reform; creating Office for New Americans. On board of North Vista, talks about healthcare in North Las Vegas; DACA and his support of Dreamers; driver’s privilege cards…………………………………………………….…………………………………..40 – 46 How he stays in touch with his constituents, Hispanic Caucus. Details about ZOOM program for needy children; work with Dr. Lazoz from Boyd Law School to create reading centers, pre-K efforts………………………………………………………………………………………..47 – 50 Talks about new school, J.D. Smith Middle School in North Las Vegas; Election Night 2018, walking the line with Sen. Cortez Masto, seeing Latinos. His support of the Latinx Voices oral history project; soccer at BYU; his children, Las Vegas Academy and Rancho High School; love of music……………………………………………………………………………………. 51 – 58 8 9 My name is Marcela Rodriguez-Campo and I am with... Laurents Banuelos-Benitez. Maribel Estrada Calderon. And Barbara Tabach. Moises Denis. We are at the Oral History Research Center. Today is January 11th, 2019. Moises, can you go ahead and start by telling us your name and spelling it out for us? It's Moises, M-O-I-S-E-S. Last name Denis, D-E-N-I-S. It's actually French or something. I don't have a middle name. The only other nickname I have is Mo. I wanted to start off there. Why Mo? I think for some people it's easier. When I was growing up in high school, they called me Moses, so it's Moses Denis, because it was easier explaining. Every time you have a name that people can't say, like Moises, you try to explain it to them and they always end up—like with Moises, they always end up Moises, like Noises. I would just use Moses. A lot of people from my school days know me as Moses. But in Spanish it was always Moises, especially if my mom was mad at me. But even my mom sometimes would use Mo just because it's shorter and, I guess, just easier and people just get used to that. I also picked up Mo—I love to play basketball and my nickname in basketball was Mo on my shirt. As people get to know me, they would call me Mo. That's where that all came from. Was Moises a family name or is there a reason they picked it? Actually, the origin of Moises...A typical Latino family, when I was born my family was Catholic. My mom was very religious, and I think, at the same time, the movie Ten Commandments had come out and my mom wanted to give me a biblical name. She wanted to 10 dedicate her son to the Lord, so she gave me a biblical name and gave me Moises, which is Moses in Spanish. That's why I ended up with Moises. Where were you born? I was born in Brooklyn, New York. Borough Park is the area of Brooklyn that I was born in. I was born in a Jewish hospital called Maimonides. My parents had emigrated from Cuba. I have an older sister that was born in Cuba. She was born in Havana and she is six years older than me. After she was born and before I was born, my parents had moved to New York. They had actually lived here before that and met and got married and went back to Cuba. When I was born they had come back a second time to stay, so I was born in Brooklyn. What brought them to the United States? In the early fifties, my dad was looking for –I think he originally just because Cubans did that a lot. They used to go back and forth. He was on vacation. I think he overstayed his visa and got a job and decided he was going to work. He got a job as a waiter in New York. My mom came to work, I think, in Connecticut, which must be right next door to New York, or it must be close enough that she was close to New York. She came as a nanny, to work for a family that needed a nanny. Anyway, while she was working as a nanny and my dad was working in New York, they met on a blind date. This was before Castro. My mom was from a very poor family. I think they had had a farm in Cuba and lost it and had to move to Havana. She had seven sisters, eight sisters total; one died. But she had to drop out of school to help support the family. I think she dropped out in third grade. When she came, she was looking just to work to provide something better for herself, and my dad saw the opportunities and decided to work. He was working as a waiter in New York. 11 They just wanted to make things better for themselves. But, at the same time, they were also going back and forth to Cuba. Cubans did that a lot back then. They almost always came to New York. Today everybody goes to Miami, but back then the Cubans all went to New York. My parents came first to New York and then each one of the six surviving sisters, they brought their families there, and then the grandparents. They basically brought everybody; you had to sponsor them back then. They sponsored the families. I think one of the sisters they brought first, my tia Oria, and her family, and then they brought the other ones. They all ended up in New York eventually and then from there they spread out. Where did people go after New York? Mostly Miami at that point. All the family, they were either in New York or Miami. My dad was an only child, so I didn't have any family on my dad's side other than my grandma and grandpa. My mom's sisters, those were all my cousins. It was either New York or Miami. But at some point everybody all ended up in Miami; they all moved from New York to Miami. From Miami, well, for us, we moved around. After we moved to Miami, we actually moved to Las Vegas for about three or four months. My grandma got sick, so my dad just picked everything up and we just went back to Miami. He was the only child, and so he took care of... When she got better for some reason, he decided that we needed to move to Arlington, Virginia. We moved to Arlington, Virginia and I started kindergarten in Arlington, actually. Halfway through kindergarten I think my grandma got sick again and we went back to Miami. When she got better, then we moved to Las Vegas. That was when I started first grade when I was six years old. We moved to Las Vegas in 1967. My dad went to work at the Sands hotel as a waiter and he worked in room service as a waiter. Pretty much we were here in Las Vegas except for...When I was seven my family 12 converted from the Catholic Church to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For some reason my parents wanted to be closer to the church, so they decided we needed to move to Salt Lake City. We moved to Salt Lake City for two years. I did from first grade through—I started fifth grade here, most of it in North Las Vegas. Then we moved to Salt Lake and I did fifth grade in one school and then we moved and I did sixth grade in a different school, in the same area but different schools. Then we moved back to Las Vegas. After that we never moved again. When I started seventh grade at Von Tobel, junior high back then, they bought a house and that house is still in the family today. They never moved after that. Middle school and high school age I was pretty much there. What was that experience like from moving all the time to all of a sudden having a home? It was different because when you move a lot, it gets hard to make really good friends, so your best friends are usually your family whether it's cousins or whatever. Everybody else, you start to make friendships and then you're moving. By the time I got in seventh grade, you all the sudden start to have friends that you keep longer term. It was definitely nice to not be moving all the time, but when you're younger it's not as big a deal when you're little. But when you get to that middle school and high school age that's an important age, and we didn't move then. That probably would have been harder. It was probably harder on my sister because she was six years older. When we were moving around a lot, it was impacting her middle school and high school. Even high school, she started here and then she transferred up to Salt Lake. You have all your friends and then all the sudden you don't have them anymore and you have a bunch of new friends. A lot of immigrants move around a lot while they're trying to get stabilized. 13 My dad went to work at the Sands when I was six. My mom worked in a hotel, too, for a little bit of time, but she stayed home the rest of the time. She worked as a room attendant over at the old Dunes hotel. But then my dad went to work at the Sands. Even when he left and went to Salt Lake City, my dad worked as a security guard just because that was a job he could get. But then he found out he could work at a missile plant because he had taken classes in Cuba. He had studied to be an accountant in Cuba, but somehow he had taken some chemistry classes or something, which allowed him to be able to work at this missile plant in Salt Lake City, so he did that for a year. Then the Vietnam War ended and they didn't need missiles anymore, so we moved back to Las Vegas. With my mom's sisters, even though they started in New York and went to Miami, three of the sisters, including my mom, had moved to Las Vegas at that point. We were in Salt Lake, but then when we came back three of the sisters were here. Half of my cousins were here and half were in Miami except for when the Rubio family moved here. My aunt Oria and her family, they moved here because they were on strike and he worked in hotels, and so they came here to work. Then we had four of the sisters here. We at least had family around at that point. BARBARA: Can you describe about what you know about the attraction of Las Vegas to your family? Actually, the guy that designed the Thomas and Mack Center, Arturo Cambeiro, Cuban architect, he and my dad went to school together in Santiago de las Vegas in Cuba, all their schooling; they went together for twelve years or whatever it was. He had moved to Las Vegas and told my dad, "Hey, there's jobs here." At that point Castro had taken over and closed down the hotels and stuff, so a lot of the Cubans that were working in the casinos in Havana just transferred here, literally that whole 14 department. My dad was working at the Sands and there were a lot of Cubans that were there. The first time we moved here and the second time we moved here, back, we lived over here behind the Stratosphere, in that neighborhood. From there we moved behind Sunrise Hospital, across the street from the Boulevard Mall; it's called the Boulevard Apartments. Actually, the apartments we were in don't exist anymore because the hospital has expanded. But a lot of the Cubans, they would come to—we always called it Naked City—behind the Stratosphere and then from there, as they settled down, a lot of the Cubans would move to Francisco Park, which is that neighborhood around Valley High School, so that's where all the Cubans would live is right there by Valley High School. My house is there. We had our apartment there and then the Cambeiros were just down the street from us. That's where we started out before we moved over into North Las Vegas. How would you describe that neighborhood because it sounds like there were a lot of Cubans there? What was unique about it? What, Francisco Park? Yes. I don't know. We only spoke Spanish at home and probably not unlike your experiences. If our parents are in the room, you speak Spanish, and if they walk out, you'd speak English with your brothers and sisters, especially when we were older. Our friends were the same way because we had friends who were all Latino, mostly Cuban. But, at the same time, when we joined the church, when they converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we were part of a Spanish congregation. It was the first one in Las Vegas at the time, but there was only thirty members. We had friends that were there, too, that were also Latino families. Our whole circle of friends was either the Cubans or the Latinos that were mostly Mexican and Central American 15 that were in the branch; it's the kind of unit that the church has, a small branch. We just had the typical...I didn't know there was a difference until I started going to school and then you would get other friends that aren't Latino and they do things differently. They eat different foods and things like that. But I didn't realize that. Actually, I didn't realize that Spanish and English were two different languages. You just think of it as when I'm with these guys, this is the vocabulary that I use, and when I'm with these guys, this is the vocabulary that I use, when you're young until you start going to school. Then all of a sudden, sometimes people would say, "Speak English;" that kind of thing because they didn't want you speaking Spanish because they couldn't understand it or whatever it was. Then you start to realize there is a difference. Is there a particular memory that you have when you began to realize the difference that existed between your languages or your cultures? I remember in kindergarten in Arlington; I think I was the only Latino. I kind of knew English a little bit because you watch TV and you can learn some words and things like that. But I just didn't completely understand what was going on. It was just a hard year for me because we had also just moved there and didn't have any family there, so all my regular cousins weren't there. Then as I went through elementary school, I moved over to North Las Vegas and went to Robert E. Lake, then Ruby Thomas, and then Tom Williams. Even though we were in Vegas, we still moved almost every year. I think when we moved to Salt Lake, I didn't have any Latino friends all of a sudden because there wasn't very many up there. We did have some friends though that were friends of ours, I think it was from church, that had moved up there, and so my parents knew them and we would visit them. But the other friends weren't Latino. 16 That's when I became a much better student was in fifth grade because I finally figured out how to learn in English because before that I couldn't figure out—I didn't know how to read Spanish. I just could speak Spanish. They were trying to teach me to read English, but I didn't really speak English. It was kind of confusing. But by the time I was in fifth grade, I think I finally figured it out because I became a much better student in fifth grade. It could be also just because I didn't have a lot of friends because we had just moved, brand-new. I had started school here, so I was starting school there in the second month of school and didn't have a lot of friends and I could just focus on school. The teacher I had, she was a really tough teacher, but she was a great teacher. Even though she was tough, I was challenged enough to do better and somehow something clicked in that grade where I finally figured out what to do in school to be a better student. If we were to spend a day with your family—because it sounds like you got to grow up surrounded by a lot of family—what would that look like when you were a kid? When I was a kid, my dad was working at the Sands, but he was working swing shift. Some days he would be home, but I think most of the time he worked three to midnight or whatever it was; that shift. There were periods of time where he switched so that he could work during the day and have the weekends off. That was always changing. When I was real little, when we first moved here, my mom was working at the Dunes, so I'd have to walk home. I don't remember as much when I was in first grade, how I got to school or back. For some reason I don't remember that. But second grade I remember I had to walk home and my mom wasn't home yet. We would have to come home by ourselves with my sister who was—if I was in second, she would have been in kindergarten. I don't even remember how she got home because she wouldn't have been in school when I was...I just remember walking 17 home from school until my mom got home. I remember just spending a lot of time visiting other friends. My parents were fairly social. Cubans especially are really social. They like music and dancing. My parents were really good about going to visit their friends and they would drag us along and we would go and visit. If they had kids we would play with the kids. We traveled a lot because we were always moving. They were always good about doing vacations for some reason. Just pile everybody in the car, even just when we moved, and drive all the way across the United States. We had a 1964 Chevy Impala. I remember we had a car when I was real little that broke down and we all got out of the car. The next think I know, we're driving a different car. We just got out of the car and left it and now we have another car. It didn't have air-conditioning, so you would drive across the country with your windows down. I remember it was hot. We didn't really wear seatbelts. But the cars just seemed like they were huge, especially compared to today. We would do some of that. At some point my parents wanted to try some camping, so we would do some camping. Also, I was involved with the Boy Scouts. I started with Cub Scouts and did Boy Scouts. We would do some [camping] through that. I just remember that. I remember at some point when I was a kid we drove up to Lake Tahoe. For some reason I remember that. Or we would go to California. We would drive up to Utah. We had a couple of car accidents when I was growing up and I remember those. I have three sisters, so I'm the only boy. I have one sister that is just eighteen months younger than me, and we were always going after each other. I just remember some of the stuff that we did, like my sister starting a fire in a plastic garbage can. It melted the garbage can and it melted her eyelashes because it just went, poof. She decided to mix a bunch of chemicals in the 18 thing and light it on fire and it just blew up in her face. They used to have this battery that was a six-volt battery and it's kind of big. I decided to plug a couple of wires into the wall. That started sparking and put a big hole in the carpet. Those kinds of things. I spent a lot of time probably playing with my sisters. My older sister, she was old enough that we really didn't play as much as little kids. I have a sister that's six years older and then a sister that's ten years younger and then one that's eighteen months [younger]. The eighteen-month one, we would do stuff together if we didn't have other friends that we were playing with. Yes, we did a lot of family stuff together, though. I remember going to McDonalds. We didn't go out to a ton of restaurants, but my mom would always cook every day. What kind of food? Mostly Cuban, so black beans and rice. I remember she would make these really steaks. She would make mariquitas, which is just la plàtanos, you know, the banana chips. We don't know. Tell us about them. Banana chips that are salty, or maduros, which is you take a plàntano, the same kind, but you just let it get completely ripe to where the whole outside was completely black and on the inside it's just about ready to melt. You cut that and you fry it and it gets blackened on the outside. It's just very sweet. The mariquitas, you put salt on them. Then the in-between thing was tostones, which is a plàtano that you take and you cut it and then you smash it and you salt it, so it's salty, but it's just much thicker. You can put stuff on it, too, on top of it. I don't remember it that much. But I do remember the black beans and rice and my mom would make some kind of a chicken noodle soup that had noodles in it that we would eat. Whatever else my mom at the time was reading—my mom loved to read a lot, and so if she read something that said this is good for 19 your health, we would be all stuck doing that. She thought, when I was in middle school, that raw eggs were good for you, and so she would put a raw egg in orange juice and make me drink it. I just thought, okay. When I got older, she said, "If you put garlic on your head, you won't lose your hair." That kind of stuff. She would read this stuff. My parents would read stuff in Spanish. Most of the television stuff for us was—I just remember mostly PBS was mostly English stuff. But my parents would listen to stuff in Spanish. It's just kind of a mixture of the language at home. Did they speak in English? My mom thought that she could speak English, and so we just spoke Spanish to her because her English was so bad, even though actually she could carry on a conversation. But the accent was so bad, we just refused to speak to her in English. I just could never bring myself to do it. And my dad is the same way even though he learned to speak English fairly well, although he had an accent. He could actually speak English very well. We just never spoke English. Sometimes they would try to speak English to us. If we were in a situation where the other folks that we were talking to were English, then we would speak English. We just learned to do that. If we were with our parents and they were talking with somebody in English, then we would always speak in English. But even if they stepped out of the room, we would flip right back to Spanish because I didn't feel like I could communicate properly with my parents in English. I didn't know if they completely understood all the nuances although my dad, I think he could, but it's just hard to speak English to him because I'm just so used to...I knew how to talk to him in Spanish in the things that you do. When you learn a language, you learn it through the things that you do all the time. I did computers for most of my career. I put Realtor® on there because that's what I'm doing now. But 20 for twenty-seven years I was a computer guy. You have a certain vocabulary you use when you talk about computers, and so the same thing with my parents. When we were talking about family things, it was just so much easier to speak in Spanish. But they did speak English. Sometimes they would speak English and we would respond in Spanish. That's just the way it was. My mom's best friend was actually from Taiwan and her accent was terrible, too. We couldn't understand either one of them, but they could understand each other. They would both speak English to each other and they understood each other and we just didn't. Once you were permanently here in Vegas, what was school like? At that point I had a lot more friends. We had also switched from a Spanish congregation to an English congregation when we had moved to Salt Lake City, and so a lot of my friends didn't speak Spanish at that point when I was in middle school and high school although home was still the same. It was just different in that we weren't constantly moving. There was always that feeling that we could move because whenever we moved it wasn't like, okay, we're going to move in six months. It was always like, we're moving in two weeks or three weeks or whatever. It wasn't like you had a lot of time. Even though we bought a house and it was a more permanent situation, I didn't know that we weren't going to move the next year, which we never did, so at some point you can start to feel comfortable with that. My English was much better and my schooling was better when I started middle school. I think at that point we had become much more assimilated into the general culture. But, at the same time, we still had our friends, the Cambeiros and all those kind of friends and the church friends that spoke Spanish. We still would visit with them because my parents' friends were still those friends even though they also had some new friends now in church and my dad had friends 21 from work that were not Latino even though most of them were. It was much more America- centric, English-centric, maybe culturally—well, at least part of it. It's almost like living two lives because we had the one life in the family and it was always in Spanish and all the friends that spoke Spanish, and then we had the other friends that were English-speaking and we went to school with them and had those relationships. Was it difficult to balance those two lives? No. Did those two worlds ever come into contact with each other? Sometimes. Church-wise, my friends that I had, sometimes they would because it was still the same church, just different congregations, but sometimes there would be activities. But it was almost two separate ones, although some of my friends that I had from growing up that were Latino also went to the schools that I went to and we were