Mexican family embraces Everett community

Story, photo and audio by Cristina Woodworth, NewsNetNebraska 

Two tiny blue and white parakeets squawk from a cage in the corner of Rosa Alarcon’s cozy apartment that she shares with her husband and four children in the Everett neighborhood.

“I forget what the birds’ names are,” Alarcon says, laughing. “My daughter had a name for them, but I don’t remember it now.”

A miniature Christmas tree set up in the living room already has several gifts propped underneath it and a chestnut-colored guitar hangs from a peg on the wall.

RosaThe family enjoys their pets and spending time with one another, Alarcon, 45, said through an interpreter.

“We like to go outside to the park when it’s not cold,” she said.  “We like to play cards and watch movies, too.”

Alarcon said she has lived in the United States for about 13 years, spending the first eight in California and moving to Lincoln five years ago.

Her older two children, a 12-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son, were born in California, while her two youngest, a 7-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son were born in Nebraska. The rest of her extended family still lives in Mexico.

Several years ago, Alarcon said her family went to an Everett Neighborhood Party, where there was free food, party games, a raffle and music. Lincoln firefighters made an appearance, and the neighborhood kids were able to explore the fire trucks and try on the firefighter uniforms.

Alarcon said she appreciates the strong sense of community present in the neighborhood.

“Almost all of the Mexicans around here, we all know each other,” she said. “When there are events at the school or in the neighborhood, we all go to them together.”

For Christmas this year, Alarcon and her neighbors have planned a get-together where everyone will bring a different homemade dish to share. She said she is looking forward to making pozole, a Mexican pork and hominy stew dish.

“We will probably have to order pizza for the kids though,” she said.

The language barrier has been more of a challenge while living in Lincoln, Alarcon said, but it helps having the Mexican grocery store and other Hispanic shops just up the street from her in the Everett business district.  She said even the owners of the Arabic store there are trying to learn Spanish.

“In California, it wasn’t difficult for me because almost everybody speaks Spanish,” she said. “I thought it was going to be the same when I came here. Here it’s harder, you kind of have to go where there are interpreters. You have to make more of an effort to find a way to communicate.”

Alarcon discusses her favorite parts about living in Everett (translated by Teresa Lostroh):

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