Home #001: Marisela / by Boyce Upholt

Greenville, Mississippi    Photo credit:  Rory Doyle

Greenville, Mississippi

Photo credit: Rory Doyle

Marisela, 50, Restauranteur

Home is where you go when you’re tired. I’m glad I’m home.

In 1992, Marisela immigrated to Texas from Mexico; her then-husband, father of her three children, was already working in the States. Ten years later, she came to Mississippi to be near her sister.

It was a change and a challenge, she told me, speaking through a translator. Back then, Marisela would rarely see anyone else of Mexican descentmaybe once every three weeks at Walmart. But now in rural Mississippi the Hispanic population is large enough that many medical offices employ translators.

In December, Marisela and her current "esposo" opened a restaurant, La Sierrita, thatunlike most Mexican restaurants in the areaserves traditional Mexican tacos. It's a hit. Despite no advertising and a highway storefront that is hard to spot even when you know right where to look, La Sierrita is already packed for dinner every nightwith diners of every race.

She's proud of what she's built, clearly. But she also has fond memories of spending holidays at her grandparents' house in Mexico.

Here it’s not the same—we don’t get together as often. Just Christmas, New Years. The first years were different. When I first came [to the U.S.] all my kids were all together. Now my oldest is in Texas.