16. Lorena and family live “The American Dream” in new Nashville.


As a traditional Mariachi band plays, Lorena Mateos and her father Carlos sing to one another during Lorena’s 21st birthday celebration at their home in Smyrna, May 2019.

From the journal: 18 May 2019

On this evening they are exactly 1,809 miles and 19 years from their journey’s notorious beginning. They came from Mexico. They came the hardest way, carried over deserts, through rivers, in the arms of each other.

They came to Nashville.

They came like all who come, in search of a dream.

Her father steps forward and sings to her. She sings back to him. They dance, and he twirls her, and the music holds them for a moment – and I think, this is the dream, The American Dream. I think, this is my own dream for my own daughter. Not the stuff, the houses and cars, the success or accumulation, but the building of a family.

Follow the story