49 Voices: Will Mirabel of Anchorage

This week we’re hearing from Will Mirabel in Anchorage. Will is originally from Venezuela and came to America two years ago.

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Will Mirabel of Anchorage (Photo by Wesley Early)
Will Mirabel of Anchorage (Photo by Wesley Early)

MIRABEL: I’ve been here in Alaska since July 1. I used to live in California. I was taking English courses in California for the last two years. There are many differences, no? First off, the weather. The weather is different here; it’s very cold. You can learn a lot of culture from people from many countries, from everywhere. It’s fine, and I like because, like I told you, you’re always learning about this.

In Venezuela, as a Latino country, everyone’s a little more, sometimes, noisy. In Venezuela and in South America, you can be close to everybody and talk. Sometimes in the U.S., you have to give room. Some of that culture you can learn with a couple years.

Alaska, or Anchorage in this case, is a small city. I mean, of course we cannot compare it, in this case, with major cities like Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston because in the other states, maybe it’s more metropolitan.

Like you say, in California, there are many Latinos. Actually, the Spanish language in California is growing up. People say that in many years, more than 50% can speak Spanish. It’s different in Alaska. For example, right now in Alaska it’s easier for me to speak English because there are not many Latinos. In California, when I was talking for two years in California, it was a little difficult because in every corner, every square, you see Latinos. When you wanted to go shopping or buy food, many people don’t help you too much, because they speak your own language, you know what I mean?

I wouldn’t say I’m a different person because of Alaska. You cannot change your personality because you are in a different place. More mature maybe, more smart about culture. That’s it, you know. Personality, I couldn’t say.

Wesley Early covers Anchorage life and city politics for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at wearly@alaskapublic.org and follow him on X at @wesley_early. Read more about Wesley here.

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