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The show

First days can be exhilarating, terrifying — or a mix of both. They mark the beginning of life’s chapters and define who we ultimately become. My First Day is a series that explores these important days through people who came to San Diego from elsewhere, and now call it home.

Subscribe on Apple or Android to get episodes as soon as they're ready.

The preview

Audio

Trailer, My First Day

My First Day is a podcast from the KPBS Explore Project about starting a new life in a new place (San Diego, specifically). Season premieres June 21, 2017.

The pods

Audio

1. A Trip To Burger King

Walter Lam arrives in San Diego in the dead of night. He's a Ugandan refugee trying to build a new life. Walter faces his hardest days here — and some uniquely American experiences, like Burger King.

Walter Lam pictured with a family member on the beach.

Walter Lam pictured with a family member on the beach.

Audio

2. Snake In A Shirt

As a child new to San Diego, Donna Frye loved exploring local wildlife. Now, it's vanishing. So she's fighting to save it, and the memories within.

Portrait of Donna Frye as a child holding a shrub branch

Portrait of Donna Frye as a child holding a shrub branch

Audio

3. Pepto Bismol And A Birthday Cake

Leaving the Iraq war behind, the Naoom family sought new roots. In the U.S. they face foreign challenges: birthday budgets, new medicines, and a tough job market. Was the long wait worth it?

Naoom family sitting at a couch with a birthday cake

Naoom family sitting at a couch with a birthday cake

Audio

4. Animal House

Mo Farazian is an Iranian engineer with a lifelong fear of dogs. After arriving late to a new university, the last residence has seven pets. Meanwhile: The 2016 Election sows seeds of doubt.

Mo Farazian outside with a dog

Mo Farazian outside with a dog

Audio

5. Highs And Lows Of War

Jack Ensch seeks adventure. Leaving the Illinois cornfields behind, he starts a new life as a fighter pilot. It's the Vietnam War.

Capt Jack Ensch on an air base

Capt Jack Ensch on an air base

Audio

6. A Huge American Car

Magda Marquet is from a country you may have never heard of. Following the emerging biotech industry, Magda leaves her small home behind for a big American experience. And a car.

Magda Marquet and her husband Francois Ferre in their first American car

Magda Marquet and her husband Francois Ferre in their first American car

Audio

7. A Traditional Proposal

David Bejarano is a well-known San Diego lawman. But his life here bloomed from pure romance.

David and Esperanza in San Diego on the day of their engagement, Dec., 1977

David and Esperanza in San Diego on the day of their engagement, Dec., 1977

Audio

8. Making Memories

Famo Musa and her family came from Somalia when she was young; everything felt foreign. Now with an American family of her own, she strives to make memories she missed years ago.

Famo Musa with her camera next to flowers. Musa is studying photography with ...

Famo Musa with her camera next to flowers. Musa is studying photography with the AjA Project. Photo by Bernadette Johnston

Audio

9. Searching For Connection

Victoria Barana came as a wide-eyed 19-year-old from Brazil looking for an adventure and to learn English. She found a lot more along the way, including a visit from Dad.

Victoria Barrana is pictured this 1999 when she first came to San Diego to le...

Victoria Barrana is pictured this 1999 when she first came to San Diego to learn English.

Audio

10. Coming Of Age — A Crisis

He’s from an isolated Alaskan island. Cy Kuckenbaker, after receiving a devastating Christmas gift, leaves for San Diego and promptly begins a necessary early-life crisis.

Photo of Cy Kuckenbaker’s college ID, taken soon after his first visit to San...

Photo of Cy Kuckenbaker’s college ID, taken soon after his first visit to San Diego

Audio

11. A Trip Of Transformation

Artists Einar and Jamex de la Torre think they're taking a vacation. But they soon learn they’re leaving their home in Mexico for a new life in a new country.

Photos of the de la Torre brothers as children, living in Dana Point, CA.

Photos of the de la Torre brothers as children, living in Dana Point, CA.

Audio

12. Hell Week

Ben Betz goes to Coronado Island to become a Navy SEAL.

Ben Betz pictured in Alaska

Ben Betz pictured in Alaska

The creator

Andrew Bracken is a local documentary mediamaker who has received a San Diego Foundation Creative Catalyst fellowship and support from organizations such as Latino Public Broadcasting and the Berlinale Talent Campus.

His film Facing North, which explores the relationship between San Diego and Tijuana, won a 2017 San Diego Film Award.

Bracken's other work includes To The Other Side and The Two Eyes, the Nose, and the Mouth. His work has been shown locally at the San Diego Latino Film Festival, the San Diego Art Institute, America’s Finest Film Fest and the Digital Gym Cinema. A graduate of Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, he now lives in San Diego with his wife Melissa and two mischievous kids, Malcolm and Simone.

To learn more, visit andrewbracken.com.

Tell us about your first day:

myfirstdaystories@gmail.com

facebook.com/myfirstdaystories

619-363-5032