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'My First Day' Episode 3

Adil and Suhaila are pictured with their children in December 1991.
Courtesy of the family.
Pictured left to right: Adil and Suhaila are pictured with their children in December 1991.
'My First Day' Episode 3
GUESTS:Adil, Suhaila

Still ahead a family from halfway around the world talks about their first day in San Diego. At 12:45 PM and you are listening to KPBS Midday Edition. This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. Kpbs has explored new ways to create stories you want to listen to stories that originate right here in San Diego. A couple are questions from Iraq and they moved to San Diego in 1992 as refugees with their two small children. Here's the next or other story from the podcast my first day. I found a job and then started working and then found an apartment. After a while I got caught. Then I had a customer that came over all the time. I asked him one time because he was always driving new cars in nice clothes and golden a watch and I said what do you do? He said I'm a barber. I said I'm a barber to. I said I'm new here and I don't have -- I can go to school. He said I would help you out. That I said okay. I'm going to make a living. I have a family and two kids. So I had to go to school from 8:00 to 5:00 and then from 5:00 I go to work at the liquor store. I stayed like that for nine or 10 months. Then I had a test and I did not pass because -- after the second time I read a lot and my wife helped me take care of the children will I was studying. So I pass the test and I start working for myself. What I got my license, I had my job. So I can work anywhere. I got a license and anyone can hire me. So I said now I am good. 15 years I'm still working in the same barbershop. Now a criminal lawyer she was only a baby when she came with her parents but she does not remember that day but does reflect on what it was like to grow with parents who may not always see parents exactly the same thing as others. We lived in a really good life growing up. We did not know how hard my dad worked to get as to what we had. We were surely blessed and humbled but I didn't know exactly what it took for them to get us here in everything that we had. I remember growing up in the school system and my parents not really knowing much about what happened so when someone sent you to detention, they don't know what that meant and then whenever they wanted to take a field trip, my mom would say -- question what field trip it is. Back home they never took field trips and if they did, it was for you are either in trouble or needed to -- they were skeptical of the government. They are here thinking why is a school system taking them on a field trip when it's so innocent. They did not know that. Now growing up she knows how things work around here. My mom always told me a story about my first birthday. We got here couple months before I turned 1. She wanted to get me up with a cake for my first birthday. We could not afford a cake at that time. Even the mix for it so they waited until December to buy me the batter to make the cake. I celebrated my first birthday in December instead of October. It just gives us out much more of an insight into how my mom never forgot that she did not get me a cake and she always wanted to. So she still did it even though it was late. My nephew is going up in his first birthday we went and celebrated very largely. Did a humongous party and knowing that we are now able to give him that because of what my parents went through. He never complained or said anything. He always worked hard and always was silent and never said anything. He was always happy. I never felt that way. We do you ever think about returning to Iraq? This is our country now. We are happy we are here. My family is here. Everybody's here and everybody is a citizen and everybody is working and paying taxes. Thank God everybody is happy. I don't have to go back again. We that was the couple speaking on the new podcast my first day. My first day is produced and hosted right and you Bracken. To listen to the entire episode go to KPBS Midday Edition. -- . Now we head up the caliphate coast to Montecito where there's an away sis you won't find on many tourist maps. It's called Lotus land a collection of beautifully landscaped gardens just south of Santa Barbara. To reflect the eccentric musical spirit of the Polish opera diva who created them. Diane Bock has a story. In 1941 Madame Ganna Walska came to California in search of spiritual enlightenment. [ Music ] she was a Polish opera diva and toward Europe and the United States collecting numerous husbands along the way. Encouraged by her final spouse was also her yoga instructor she buys 37 acre estate Montecito but a few years later the marriage falls apart. She claims this day and calls it Lotusland. It is impossible to separate the creation from the creator. This is a very personal garden. It is all Madame Ganna Walska. She was a collector by heart so she collected all things. Hats and gowns and glittering gemstones to the backseat to exotic flora. She had incredible knack for showcasing her passion. She would instruct her gardeners to group hundreds of some the same plans together. She was trying to get a hold of one of the gardeners and she would almost sing out their name. She would be singing. Mike Furner has worked there for 38 years. He tends to the garden also known as air plants there tucked into a chanted force just beyond the secluded garden where she sometimes performed. To me it's pretty magical walking through here. You come out of a succulent garden, and Pam, all of a sudden, you are in this tropical area, as if you were walking through the forest in Costa Rica. A big part of the charm is a contrast between the classic elements like the impressive rose garden and the unique plant specimens that she sought out. Her final configuration is the site had garden. They look like palm trees. In 1977 she auctioned off her jewels to create this collection. She lived here and she put a lot of her collections. She died in 1984 and she was 96. The garden open to the public for tour's. She was extraordinary. She did not think like anybody else but think goodness because who else would of come up with these incredible crazy, beautiful, designs and these gardens. Normal people don't do that. This is fun. Like the lady herself her legacy is over-the-top and unforgettable.

KPBS is exploring new ways to create stories you want to listen to, particularly stories that originate right here in San Diego.

San Diegans share the story of their first day in the city in a new podcast.

My First Day is a podcast produced through the KPBS Explore project, an initiative to bring original content from and about the San Diego community. Andrew Bracken produces and hosts the podcast.


The third episode of the podcast brings us the story of husband and wife Adil and Suhaila, Chaldean Christians originally from Iraq. They moved to San Diego in 1992 as refugees with their two small children and little money.

New episodes of the podcast will be released each week, and excerpts will be played on KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesdays.