Fermina Bezunartea Escujuri

TIAA 03: Emigrating as a Teen on a Boat from Spain to Argentina

Leaving home is hard for many people. Leaving your parents, your siblings, your friends, your pets, etc. But imagine, leaving home as a teenager to emigrate and to embark on a journey to a new country.

Fermina recalls the hardest part of emigrating to Argentina

The Bezunartea sisters lost their father at a young age and Fermina remembers her mom trying to protect them from the pain. It didn’t work. As a woman in her late 80s, she retold the story of the last day her father was home with a lot of emotion and clear details. Fermina would see her mother suffer afterward and then a few later she would leave her mother’s side. That was the most difficult part for her…many tears were shed.

Bezunartea Escujuri sisters in Jaurrieta before Emigrating as a teenager.
Here are the three Bezunartea sisters in Jaurrieta: Fermina, Paquita and Blanquita

Moving from Spain to Argentina was a long journey; however, she didn’t have a hard time adjusting to the culture and the language since the main language is Spanish. Fermina would begin to work, where she would meet her future husband. This solidifying that she would probably never return to her home country.

Her return to Jaurrieta, Spain

Before she got married, Fermina’s aunt recommended that she go back to Spain to see her family. Fermina would return to Spain and tell them about her up-coming marriage to an Italian. Listen to the episode to her how her step-father would respond to the news. When it was time to return to Argentina, Fermina almost changed her mind. It was hard to see her mom again and know that she was really leaving for good.

Fermina Bezunartea Escujuri with her grandsons in Argentina
Fermina with her grandsons

Experience as an Immigrant

In the episode, Fermina discusses her transition into Argentinian society and how she was treated. For others, the move is not only difficult because they leave home but they are faced with many hardships. For Fermina that wasn’t the case. She tells that she was treated well and that it was easy to get used to her new home.

Listen to the full episode in Spanish as Fermina recalls the story of leaving home at a young age to make a new life in Argentina.

What I discussed with my tía Fermina:

  • how she went to Argentina, YES I was shocked to hear it was by boat and not by plane.
  • her childhood and losing her father
  • Being called a Gallega and defending her Basque roots
  • meeting her husband
  • returning to visit her family in Jaurrieta
  • adjustment to living in Argentina
  • thoughts about what she went through looking back on it today
  • Advice to anyone who wants & thinks about immigrating.

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Kaixo, I'm Esther!

I help Expats, people with Basque roots & language lovers like you learn Basque without it being too hard.

As a daughter of immigrants and now an Expat myself, I’ve created the podcast The Immigrant All Around to showcase the stories of the people around us.  

Learn more about me and how I can help you HERE.

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