Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

Debut and Goodbye…?

 June 30, 2023 at 10:47 AM PDT

S1: From Kpbs and PRX. This is Port of Entry , where.

S2: We tell crossborder stories that connect. Us.

S1: Us. I'm Alan Lilienthal.

S2: And I'm Natalia Gonzalez.

S1: All my friends. Welcome to another bonus episode. Now that we are officially done with our first season with Giulio and Luca as our new producers , and as of now we are in hiatus stage. Yes.

S2: And with us in the cabin is Julio and Luca. They are here to look back into their debut season and talk about their upbringing and some life stories.

S3: Let me just start by clarifying something real quick , guys. Yes. Originally this episode was going to be the Meet the Producers episode , which was in a launch the season , but we kind of felt like we just should just start with the stories and then maybe move this to the back. So here we are. So guys , let's get started.

S1: So , guys , I'm curious , what's been your favorite episode of the season so far ? Who wants to go first ? Don't fight.

S2: I'm still thinking.

S4: Yeah , go Holy.

S3: I guess I actually given some thought to this and my favorite episode as a not to produce , but just as a final product I think definitely has to be Episode five with Ruben.

S2: I was going to say the same word.

S3: It's just something about to me like old folk story and growing up in the lessons in life. It just strikes me like really like a life lesson , I guess. And so as a final product itself , it's just I think the the message is about them and their life and the lessons learned and all that. It's just I guess it just sounds so well , obviously it has a lot to do with Luca and our wonderful hosts who are super talented.

S5: Yes , they were so nice. Natalie , Right. They were so nice. They invited. Us.

S2: Us. Episode two.

S5: Luca I mean , I had another one in mind , but they were so nice. They invited us to have some coffee at their house.

S2: And remember the Costa Rican cookies ? Yeah , those were very good. That's my favorite episode.


S5: So yeah , I really connect with , with his lifestyle , with his story. I mean , in Ecuador , we also have like all of these problems with , with money and I mean his lifestyle , like having not having water in his property and that stuff. I grew up also as him. So I connected a lot a lot with with his story. Yeah. So I really liked it. Yeah.

S4: Yeah. Yeah. That's a good.

S2: And. But X's family was so welcoming to you. And , like , we had dinner with them. That's right. And like , we met the whole family and their dogs and everything , and I just felt like they were my uncles and my uncle and my aunt , you know , like , I don't know. So I'm just going to say Pura Vida and excess excess. Yes.

S4: Yes.

S3: I mean , excess family. So we're so gracious hosting us. And the empanadas they made and.

S5: Especially the empanadas.

S4: But you're right. I feel like.

S2: I didn't feel like I was working at all. Like it felt like a I mean , honestly , like at all. Working with Port of Entry doesn't feel like work. But don't.

S3: Say that.

S4: It is really.

S2: It is worse. But but it feels like just like a family meeting , you know.

S1: Like especially when there's food involved.

S4: Is just. Absolutely. Yeah.

S2: And also , let me just mention like Pura Vida with , with Ruby and and Javier. It felt like family to remember when we were outside eating at a mall.

S4: Yeah , we were just so it was just like we were.

S2: We were. We didn't care about recording anymore. We were just , like , talking with. With Ruby and eating at Toma with a lot of cheese and.

S5: And buying some stuff at the Mercado. And it was so nice. Yeah , that was. Was beautiful.

S3: So I think we're talking about the producing journey , but about the final episode.

S1: Taking into account Luca's amazing sound skills and the writing. I think my favorites are. I was going to say somewhere between Alex , but the winner to me is Moomins. And and I'll say that because I really maybe it's just a personal thing. I really , I really resonate with stories of redemption. I really like hearing people's , like , second chances at life. When someone goes through a really dark period and somehow ends up in a better version of that later in life , like a refined version of their dream. I really I love that. It gives me a lot of hope for anyone who chases any kind of dream. And we all go through really dark periods. So hearing people that are like really go through it and somehow end up better. And if you go to a moomins restaurant is like , Whoa , dude , this guy found he like , struck the jackpot. Like , you cannot find a better location for that kind of restaurant and the food and the vibe. It's like , amazing.

S4: Yeah , it really is. Yeah , it is. Yeah. It was great. Recording.

S2: Recording. That episode was great.

S4: Oh , yeah , yeah. And the food is. Which leads us.

S3: To the next question.

S1: Unfortunately , I have a different full time job. So this season I is the only season. I barely participated and it made me very sad because I just keep hearing stories of all the incredible food these you guys got served and you know and shared and all the memories you shared. And it's too bad.

S5: But we always miss you. So.

S4: So. Yeah.

S3: So yeah , folks , for those who are listening , Alan wasn't necessarily there , but he was there in spirit. So yeah , I was there. We did a little bit of a , I guess , sleight of hand.

S1: My mouth was watering from afar.

S4: What was our.


S5: Yeah , I mean the travel. Oh , going to , to Vallejo. It was my first time going there , so it was.

S1: Well , that was your first time invite You.

S5: Ever invite you ever. Yeah. So that was amazing. His restaurant is amazing. The location is awesome. And the food is incredible. I mean , I enjoyed a lot.

S4: You were so.

S2: Nice with us.

S5: Yeah , He was , like , so kind and so a lot of jokes and. And good times.

S3: He is quite the showman , quite has a big , charismatic personality and very welcoming and obviously just the traveling itself until it made it just worth it. I mean , for both Exit and his episode was make it so I mean worth the whole I mean producing and all that.

S2: But we bonded a lot like because , because , because when we recorded those episodes , like you were barely starting to work with us and look up to. So we bonded a lot driving to another.

S4: You know , listening to music , listening to music. But yeah , that's beautiful.

S2: Damn , Alan , I'm sorry you weren't there. Yeah , me. Too.

S4: Too.


S1: Got to imagine all the delicious plates , so.

S3: I guess so. Also , Moomins was your favorite.

S2: With Javier and Ruby because that was beautiful. That was a beautiful.

S5: It was magical. Yeah. Yeah.

S3: So , yeah , yeah. I met Moomin. I met him through X and I told him I'm looking for folks who migrated , you know , who are who moved here. And he leads. Yeah , of course. I know. There's Moroccan guy. Okay , cool. But through how I met Ruby , Javier is just me just being a glutton , going around and trying to find new spots to eat. And I just kept going every day to eat a papoose. And so it was so hard not to eat more than one.

S1: It sounds like you have a really hard job. Yeah.

S3: Yeah. I mean , I love this job. I mean , it is work. It gets it gets to be work. But I mean , like Natalie said , it's just these sorts of things , the stories and breaking bread with folks from other parts of the world and the stories they share , it just becomes like a a gift in itself. And so , yes , absolutely. Javier and Ruby were just wonderful and so full of life , even even though they've been chewed out through their life , you know , a bit. And so they they don't give up. And so it's it inspires you to put things into perspective. Basically. It's just whatever you're going on , whatever's going on in your life is just there's always a moment , no matter how old you are , to just keep going and maybe restarting. So they took on this project of Puta Vida of cooking. They're becoming of the life , of course , but just to restart in Tijuana at their mid-sixties and pushing forward and they're super happy and super happy and teacher So yeah definitely it's me. I'm stuck between both producing Moments episode and definitely Ruby's episodes. But yeah , but they were all they all had their different jewels. But these guys , these two were just completely full of life and very always very , very happy. I mean , so they were. It was overwhelming how gracious there were both Moomin and Robin Carver with their life stories. Everything. Anyways , let's say that the others weren't. But it's just these were stood out. Yeah. Okay. Next question. I guess. So. What was the most challenging episode to produce ? Natalie , you're nodding. It feels like you already have.

S5: You already know the answer.

S4: Yeah , I.

S2: Already know the answer. Yeah , for sure. That was.

S4: Go ahead.

S2: No , it was for sure because I. First it was. I think it was the first time I sat down with someone from the Haitian community. And they've been here. They've been they've been into one of for like six , seven years. And it was the first time , like I sat down to talk with one of them. And it was challenging because. I could feel Elena's like. I could feel how uncomfortable she was talking about her journey. And I didn't want to keep asking , but I also felt like. Like I needed to keep asking and just , like , talk with her more. But she was , like , so uncomfortable and like , I could sense her energy. And it was so hard for me to to listen to to her story and then talking about her children and knowing that she's still like waiting for her children to arrive. And that was very I don't know , that was a very difficult episode , but it was also beautiful because I got I mean , I got to know this whole community in like a different perspective and to try their food and understand their struggles and stuff. So yeah , I think it was for sure.

S5: Luca I mean , for me , for me the same , even though I , I was not in tracking those , I mean in the , in the , in tape , in those , those questions and in those interviews. But it was difficult for me , like the technical part of it because I was not recording that I was not there. I was not. I mean , it was difficult for me to imagine how the place is , how I was. Where where is the restaurant ? So that was kind of difficult for me , like to , in a way , like to draw an image of of what the listeners have to listen and to feel actually in that episode. So that was kind of challenging for me in the technical part of , of producing. Yeah.

S3: I mean , I have two for two different reasons , so definitely because not the most just stepping into the leadership role as a producing and trying to inspire everybody to give their best and everything , especially when you walk into a leadership position that wasn't filled in for quite some time. And so and as to what to know , what to expect from the folks that you're working with. And if you're doubting yourself , if you're doing a good job or not. And so stepping into that role and writing for for the program itself , that was one. But hosting.

S4: Has been , wow , guys , so glad.

S2: We're talking about. This.

S4: This. And so.

S3: It has I've since I some of you were well aware I hosted the last story of the season and it. Was.

S4: Was.

S3: Quite laborious , to say the least , to put it in the best way. And poor Luca , he stuck with me because it took me about usually it takes Natalie and Alan about just a couple hours to be able to track a whole episode. It took me six hours to track a single episode.


S5: And then I had to edit that , you know.

S3: And so not just that , edit out some of the mistakes for some of the parts that , listen.

S4: Would it take you six hours because.

S3: I overthink things. One to I , I was , I guess I was nervous and I have a natural stutter. And so it was , it came out a lot both in English and Spanish. And so it was an extra challenge just to do that. And so Luca , my you know , right here. Yeah. Both in Spanish and English , it.

S4: Was , you understand.

S3: Six hours in English and about two and three hours in Spanish. Wow. Yeah. So definitely it's just hosting. And the story is I always stuck that reading over on school. I hated it. And , you know , popcorn reading , you remember that ? You just reading and popcorn.

S4: Julia Oh , shoot.

S5: I mean , it was still fun , but we also admired you guys. Oh , yeah. A lot because of what you do. I mean. Yeah. Hey , yeah.

S1: Don't leave me hanging here.

S4: Yeah , Sorry , man. That's right.

S2: Also , also , let me just say Berlin 89. Like to record Berlin 99 to , like. I mean , the script. Read the script a lot out , out loud. That was very challenging for me because it was I think it was like the first script that you wrote. Like , like complete script. And it was like you use so many difficult words. And I was it was just so challenging. And.

S4: And.

S5: Talking about Bitcoin and talking about. Cryptocurrency.

S2: Cryptocurrency.

S4: And a lot.

S3: Of leverage.

S2: Difficult words like like what was the mural sketch ? What was.



S4: It's a little word like I've.

S2: Never used in my entire life. And that was so difficult for me. Okay.

S4: Okay.

S1: But everyone did great. The season's over. Yes.

S2: Yes. And what a great season.

S1: Yeah , it was an amazing season.

S3: Yeah , actually. And that was a good time to go for a break. So why don't we go for a break , Luca ? Yeah. Hit us up with the beat. And we're back. Episode bonus episode for folks. We're here with Alan , Manoli and Luca having a conversation about the season.

S1: So what did we learn , though , from this ? What did we learn ? Some things.

S4: I learned.

S3: Some things.


S4: I love. Food.

S2: Food. I love. Eating.

S4: Eating.

S1: I love talking about food , thinking about food , writing about food , eating food.

S2: My dream of becoming Anthony Bourdain.

S1: I think. I mean , for me , I. I mean , obviously this region that we live in , in the border region , is a very potent mix of of cultures and creativity. But I think especially with food , it's not so much a new takeaway , but it's almost like a deepening of something that I already knew and a reminder of how how food is the greatest. I tend to say music as a universal language , but really music. I mean , food is the most universal unifier of people. And I think I'm always reminded when when like when talking or diving into food , food stories. How. How it really belongs to everyone. We tend to think of things as like so separate , right ? But like food reminds us like.


S1: Like , like El Pastor in Mexico is like came from Lebanon and Toronto or like , you know , all these things that you think are from one place really had its origins , like the Currywurst of Alec. I always thought that was a German thing. Obviously the word curry. I'm like , I don't know where they got that from , but like the curry rice , But it really came from India. And all these flavors like that we think are from one place. It just shows you , shows you how connected humans are and how cross-pollinated we are. And I think that's important to remember because there's all these always these conversations about cultural appropriation and like what belongs to whom. And I think food reminds us that it's at the end of the day with respect and intention , like it really belongs to the human race.

S3: Yeah , I kind of resonate with that. It's just I always , always struggled , especially being such a , you know , lover of food. I always pushed back to folks when the conversations about cultural appropriation were tabled , because being from Taiwan. Right.

S4: Right.

S3: I'm like , Yeah. I'm like.

S4: It's like.

S1: Popcorn with.

S4: Korean mushrooms.

S3: So somebody said the they say it's just , you know , how can you call Taco Bell tacos ? I mean , I wouldn't say call them tacos , but they're good. I mean , have you seen what we do to sushi ? Yeah.

S4: Cream cheese. Cheese. Yeah. Like , oh , my God , it's horrible. But it's delicious. But it's delicious , though.

S3: I wouldn't call it sushi. I wouldn't call it sushi , but it's delicious. And so , yeah. And so Taiwan , I know this region lends itself to , to the experiment of , of new ways of , of , of , of putting things together and so yeah. And so that's , that's , that's the magic of just daring to take the risk , you know , and maybe pushing back up against the naysayers. I guess even though there are some valid points , I mean we need to respect the tradition. We have to understand it , of course. But I mean , always take those risks.


S3: I'm sorry. Look , Natalie. Sorry.

S5: I mean , for me , it's kind of the same as , as Alan said , to feel connected in a way with everyone , like with each person in each episode. I think I , I share a lot of experiences and little things that I connect with. So yeah , for example , like I said , like his lifestyle. Yeah. This last , this last episode he , he talking about his son and how he misses his son. And I don't know , there are some so many things that I share with each person in each episode. So I really think that yeah.

S3: For the folks who are listening is that Luca is a recent father of he just.

S5: Of a ten.

S4: Month , ten. Months.

S3: Months. And so maybe the last story struck hard because it was about , you know , who had to leave his family behind. Yeah.

S4: Yeah. Yeah.

S5: So , I mean , he.

S3: Left his his young son back in Kazakhstan. Yeah.

S5: Yeah. So I , I , I really connect with all the stories in , in a way , so. Yeah , that's , that's nice. Yeah.

S2: My biggest takeaway is , I mean , I already knew this , but I got to confirm it. How incredibly generous Taiwan and like the whole region of Baha'is because it keeps receiving migrants from all over the world and it's not just giving them like a bed and a hot shower , you know , like it's giving them a whole new home for them to create a new life. And I think that's that that was my biggest takeaway. Like , I just fell in love , like I'm already in love with TJ , but , like , I just I just got to , to I'm just more grateful that I'm from TJ now after this season is amazing.

S5: Just let me say that because it was my first time crossing to TJ and when we went to to record Alec Berlin 89 and it was , it was so beautiful and it reminded me a lot of home. So yeah , TJ is amazing and has a lot of beautiful stories that we we are sharing with more and more people here and that's good.

S3: Okay , so my biggest takeaway is actually finding a second family with you guys. Oh.

S6: Oh.

S3: And I don't mean to be sappy or whatever.

S4: Fake it there.

S1: It just doesn't go sappy often. I love this.

S3: And so it's just the I it's I've worked with many teams. And none of those themes has made me as happy as working with you guys. Because even though it gets frustrating at times.

S4: You're telling us no. Oh , like even though even there might be in the mirror.

S3: I haven't had the privilege to be in such a team that fulfills me to the core. And that mean that with your talent , with your gifts , with your personalities , it has been a blessing. I mean , leading you guys through the season. And I want to thank you guys for trusting me and I'm sorry for the moments of tension that were there as we were producing , because there were there were a bunch. And I love you guys. I love you. And just it's just it makes me so happy to be here with you guys and do this to do this.

S1: I love you , too , man. Yeah. Yeah.

S4: Yeah.

S3: And with that said , Luca , with that in mind , it also completely breaks me to have to share this news.



S5: Bad.

S4: Oh , my God.


S5: What ? I'm moving to New York with my wife. She's starting a PhD , so we are moving on. And June to New York.

S4: So you started ? I started.

S7: The team is just getting. Getting going.

S5: Yeah , I know , I know. Sorry about that. We've been doing it live. I know. Sorry about. Hey , man , I mean.

S4: PhDs here. No.

S5: So this is our our very last option , to be honest. Our first option was to stay here in San Diego , the first and.

S4: Marry me now.

S5: Maybe I can.

S2: I'm only prettier.

S4: Sorry about. That.

S5: That.

S4: Yeah , we're getting off that later. I know I'm beautiful , but we won't look at today. Look at it.

S3: Can you marry either me or. Or both or whatever ? It doesn't matter.

S5: There's also not that need. No.

S4: No. I.

S5: I. I don't think so. I don't think so. Sorry , I. I'm already married , but.

S2: Yeah , fine. Leave us. We don't need you.

S3: You made a cry. Sorry.

S5: Sorry. Sorry about. That.

S4: That. Sorry about that.

S5: I'm gonna miss you.

S3: So , Luca , we just heard you breaking the news to us that you are leaving us.

S5: I'm sorry , guys. Yeah.

S1: Hurts just like the last time.

S4: Like the first time. It feels like the first time. So , folks. Yeah.

S3: Yeah. Lucas , obviously , he's. He's. He's married , and he has a child , and his wife is. Was accepted to a PhD program in Cornell for public policy. So congratulations to Danita. Data. Data.

S2: And there you go , girl. Yeah.

S4: Yeah.

S1: Well , we did try to convince him to divorce her , but.

S2: But he didn't want to.

S1: He was being.

S4: Difficult , selfish. So.

S3: So and so he is will be working still with us , but just remotely and so but it will be. I mean , I'm the one that works closest with you out of all the stations. Yeah. And and so he'll be relieved not to have me physically next to him , but I will miss him dearly. I'm physically here , but still will still be connected. And so we'll be happy as his is moving on to the next stage of his life.

S5: Yeah , I mean , it's been a hard decision to make , to be honest. But anyways , I mean , life happens and I have to take a decision and that was the best one that I could. So. Yeah , sorry , Sorry for the bad news , guys , but I. I love you all. And I , I I'll keep , I'll keep working hard for this project that has given me this amazing experience of , of telling other , other people's stories. So that's important for me. So thank you. Thank you for allowing me to , to enter to the family. The port of entry family.

S4: Thank you.

S2: Let me just say this house. So I don't think we can.

S4: Just put a beep beep.

S2: So I'm just going to say it.

S4: I will.

S2: Remember you.

S4: Bicoastal. Yes , we are. All right.

S1: By national and bicoastal.

S3: That's right. So , yes , it will be set. But Luca , before you go , let me get to know each other's a bit more. So why don't we segue into maybe some of the questions so , yeah.

S1: We've done a whole up season together and I don't even know you guys.

S4: Yeah , who are you ? So.

S2: Okay , guys. So why don't we talk about your childhoods ? What about. Okay , look , let's start with you. Yeah , sure. Talk to us about growing up in Ecuador.

S5: Well , Ecuador , Yeah. For those who don't know , Ecuador is in South America. It's a small country , a beautiful one , full of problems. A lot of poor people , a lot of in general problems , basically , of all of all kind , but a beautiful one. I grew up in a in in my mom's house that has a lot of green in his house , a lot of trees , a lot of birds. So that's why I was saying that I connected a lot with access story that like the rural I , I grew up in a rural town basically. So yeah , I remember a lot like running a lot , digging holes , planting , having my own fruits , my own veggies. It was amazing. So yeah , I miss my mom's house so much that I have a tattoo of my mom's house in my arm.

S4: Really ? Yeah. Yeah.

S5: Yeah. So I'm not.

S3: Going to ask where.

S4: I can show you. I can show you. I can show you.

S5: So , yeah , it's. It's a it's a special place for me. And I really love and miss that place a lot. I hope to go. I hope I can go back soon. Yeah. This year. Yeah.

S8: Take us with you.

S5: Let's go.

S4: Have a reunion.

S5: And let's make a an Ecuador.

S4: Oh , yes , perfect.

S3: From Ecuador live.

S4: Oh , yeah.



S3: I was born in LA. I grew up in TJ.

S1: That is Chicano.

S4: Well , it's.

S3: It's a funny question and I don't know.

S4: It's just because.

S3: Chicano means something to a lot of the folks north of the border.

S1: Yeah , it's like and it's like such a distinct culture. Yes.

S3: And so it's it's a hard one to answer. Sure. And so would I be Chicano if I were living more over there ? Yes , I guess so. But I mean , Mexican American. Yes. I guess the the term that I resonate with the most is trans border or trans frontier. So and so because most of my life , I grew up crossing the border. And so that sort of in between life is most definitely so that's why I say sort of hesitant to say sure , because I have that sort of very , very significant of experience that has shaped me in that sense. And so I grew up in Tijuana and Colonial were actually we took the Russians to eat barbacoa. And actually we have some footage when we went to eat locals. So why don't we roll it just a little bit ? Chicos Guys , this thing is Borrego. It's a clam and it's braised in this traditional ancestral way since.

S4: I mean.

S3: The first European contact. And so pretty much you dig a hole hole in the ground , you braised lamb , you cover it , you set it down in the hole with the hot coals , hot stones , whatnot , for.

S4: About 12 hours.

S3: 14 hours. So Martinez is one of the guys who's been doing it. He has ranches outside of Atlanta , owns a lot of livestock , and he goes around the city on things. And so , I mean , I remember the attack was here when there were half the price.

S4: So it's happening.

S3: I mean , he's he's well known that for anybody who doesn't recognize. Hands off. A little bit of a taste.

S4: A little ? Yeah. Did you like it ? Look at it. Yeah , A little , little teaser there. Yeah , but that's so similar to us.

S5: Well , you know , if you go to a small mercado that's called and you have food , food stamps there , they will give you a little taste. So you can. Yes.

S4: Yes.

S9: Oh , my gosh. Yes.

S10: Yes.

S3: Natalie's right now is snacking her big fat tacos , greasy tacos with cilantro , onions.

S5: I will follow her. Okay.

S3: So cilantro a little bit. Cilantro , little bit of onions. And we got some people. Chipotle.

S2: Chipotle.

S11: So Chipotle here , we got salsa.

S3: Salsa verde , which is spicier. Spicier. This is better. This is. I mean , this is milder , tastier. Just go for the soup. That Chipotle is good for the soup.

S2: I would say green sauces are always like , super light over here. Okay.

S12: Okay. See.

S13: Like , maybe three times was too much.

S3: Hey , guys. So you just heard me. Luca and Ali and Adrian. In that case , we're eating Barbacoa. Al Martinez. I took it. It was delicious. It was. Allen was there in spirit.

S4: I'm hungry. From.

S3: From. It was telepathically there with us from his 9 to 5. So , yeah , I grew up in that area , guys. And. Okay , very , very close to Natalie's neighborhood , which is the neighborhood , I guess less than half a mile from mine. Otay sits in the La mesa and then Buena Vista is down the hill.

S4: We even.

S2: Went to the same. School.

S3: School. We went to the same school. Generations , different generations.

S2: 20 years different. No.

S3: No. Come on. Friends.

S4: Friends. Just kidding.

S2: It's 20 year difference.

S4: Jesus , I'm the old school.

S2: With. With. With my grandma , right ? Yes.

S3: I am the oldest here. And so I get picked on a little bit. I mean , the the wisest. And yes , that's where I grew up in Tijuana. And so , yeah.

S1: I'm curious , obviously , as I mean , I grew up around the border , but my views on the border have shifted so much over time as I grow up in my own views and opinions evolve. I'm curious , do you remember how what your thoughts and opinions of the border were when you were a kid ? Yeah.

S3: Yeah. So growing up is that you saw obviously the white centric , say , lifestyle. And so I remember seeing Saved by the Bell and so I wanted to be Zack Morris , you know , and that stuck with me , you know , And so to the point that when I started high school in the US that I wanted sound basically mainstream. I didn't want to have an accent. And yeah , so the reality of being south of the border kind of clashed with that self perception. And so I remember asking myself , why aren't I like that ? Why is , why am I a little bit more browner ? Why am I a little bit why I'm not my ways , my eyes and my hair , you know , I guess blonde and whatnot. And so those questions remember having went through my , I guess , childhood years. But then as I was reading more , I became a little bit more political philosophical minded. And so I start to resent the border. You know , I started to , you know , hate the reality of having to cross the border. And why is that ? And so I bought into this whole victim mentality about they are oppressing us , they are doing this to us , which is to an extent , it is very , very true. There is a political system that benefits from this , I guess , division from the oppression of folks across the border. But then as I got older , I become to accept that reality , not in the sense that it as a political status , but more as a , as I say , spiritual in a sense as that sort of in betweenness that I shared with some folks. But coming and going , being binational , bicultural. And so my views have shifted throughout the years. And so now I've become more accepting of , of these not of the political or social conditions that affect millions of people , thousands of people who cross the border. But most definitely of how I it has impacted me. And I guess I to an extent I become more forgiving of the situations that rise around the border. But I guess I still oppose the political conditions that make it in a sense. And so I'm not as frustrated , I'm not as , I guess , angsty , I guess. So my views have shifted.

S1: And it's cool. That's a great answer and it's cool to see what you do now with this , you know , getting like the angst , the childhood or the teenage angst is being channeled in productive ways , telling stories that absolutely , at least in some small way , open up the border to people. And , you know , we might not be able to take it down the border today physically. But through these stories that we tell , I really do think , you know , it opens it makes that border more fluid. Yes.

S3: Yes. Yes , absolutely.

S1: So we're here now talking about the border. Lucan , you're obviously here with us living in this great region.

S5: My wife wanted to study. I mean , UCSD offered a scholarship to her to so we can come and she can study and I can and I could work. So we decided to come and I mean , give it a try.

S1: From Ecuador , you came straight to San Diego ? Yeah.

S4: Yeah.

S5: Well , I mean , we arrived to L.A. Then we. We drove to Portland , Oregon. Stayed there with my brother for one month and then drive back to San Diego. It was a crazy road trip , but it was fun. And we we ended up here. I mean , and it was crazy because it was my first time seeing the border. Like , in real. I only saw it in like in the news or in photos or something like that. And to stand there in the US side of the border was like. I , I don't know. I have like , kind of like a conflict there because I was asking myself why the other the people in the side cannot cross here. And I have the privilege to be here like , why , why , why I am here and they are there. Like it was like I had a lot of questions. And and for me , the border was kind of scary in a way because of all the paperwork that I needed to do to cross , to have my entry , to have my passport , my visa , another document that they always ask for. So it's kind of a hassle to cross the border for me. But it's still beautiful to know that in the other side you find beautiful people as you guys that we are all kind of the same and shouldn't be a physical border. It's like crazy to see like the border there is so , so crazy.

S3: Funny you should say that because. Because it's to me , it's just natural to see it because I grew up around it. And so , yeah , it's like it's normalized. It's like a scar. So I was I remember sometime back thinking about how people from the Who or from the borderlands have some sort of a Stockholm syndrome with the border , meaning that you fall in love with your captors. You know , people who have , oh , my God , kidnap you. Wow. So yeah , and so and so.

S13: Mind blowing.

S3: Because you become you become accepting in these conditions. Yeah. You don't push back , especially if you have , Wow. Certain privileges. Like , say , I do global entry , I crossed the border , I can move across , but I have cousins who cannot cross the border. Yeah. And so , yeah , it plays very , very different. So it's funny because to get your perspective , it brings that sort of crazy because that sort of insight and perspective. So my life and apparently Natalie's. Wow.

S4: That makes. Sense.

S2: Sense.

S5: I have two little nephews there that I I'm I'm missing seeing them growing up. So it's it's difficult for me. My mom is getting older. My dad is getting older. I'm I'm here. I have a ten month old baby that they don't know. So for me , it's like I really want to go to Ecuador as soon as possible. I mean , with all of these moving to New York and everything is like you have to pay a lot of things. We we have to we don't have enough enough time or enough money to go there right away. So maybe we have have to plan ahead and that stuff. So I think for me , that's like I miss my mom a lot and I know time passes , you know , and you don't really know like if you are going to be able to see them again. That's for me. Like what I when I talk to my mom , I always say like , I love you so much , I love you so much. I always repeat her like 30 times , like I love you so much because I really want her to know that and that I miss her a lot. Yeah. How.

S3: How.

S5: Okay ? My dad is 70. Okay.

S3: Okay. Yeah.

S5: Yeah. Awesome. Okay. Yeah , yeah.

S3: Let's all go to Ecuador. Actually , let's go and continue with this in Ecuador.

S4: Port of entry is my.

S1: Julie , I'm curious about you. You. You. I know you. You grew up in Tijuana , but have you been there your whole life ? Yeah. Move left.

S3: No , no , no. I've left most. I spent most of my life in in in Tijuana. But I've lived in the Bay Area for five years where I went to school. Gilbert , UC Berkeley. And then I spent a couple of years in South America and Brazil , which were very , very transformative years for me in Brazil. And so a country that I miss a lot.


S3: So where do I start ? So just to nutshell is just I found another Mexico in South America in the sense of how we approach life. Just the forwardness and the the way that we. View.

S8: View.

S3: Death in life. It's just so magical. I remember just being in these musical parties studios in which basically it's just people in the circle , the musicians in the circle , and all they sing are just are just Brazilian songs dating back 50 , 60 years. And these are just about talking about the conditions about being Brazilian , being some being black , some being part of mestizo , being , you know , being liberated from from slavery or being part of being oppressed by the the ship there and the affirmation of life there. And just the moment in my life that I was going through some deep , deep , deep seated , existential funk , I was completely swept out of that. And I became ta ta again. It was a was a reset for me. And so the friendships I made there , the people who I loved , they're the people who I left. There are people who are still with me , you know , in a sense very , very deeply. I mean , even though I don't get to talk to them as much is just they are a part of me in that very , very sense. And so Brazil was very , very transformative in that sense. And I'm sure everybody has a little Brazil in their life , you know ? But that was mine. That was mine.

S2: That's beautiful.

S3: Why don't we go to a break ? Okay.

S1: Yeah , go to break.

S3: Let's go to a break. And we're back.

S1: I'm sure having grown up in Tijuana , like you said , you get so used to the border and crossing , it becomes such a normal part of life that people that aren't from here , they come here and it's like , Whoa , this is a weird experience.

S3: You.

S8: You.

S3: Take home with you. And I think I think you and I maybe stand at odds with this in this idea of how maybe the idea is that we share because you really I like the way that you talk about Tijuana and how optimistic and how affirming it is. But the vision that I have of Tijuana is also one hopeful. But I have also very bleak picture , you know. And so it's hard for me to ignore the stuff that I grew up with during my formative years , listening to the things I listen to , the news , seeing the things that I saw , founding things about friends who basically did not live to , to tell this. And so you take that with you wherever you go. And so it's you know , when you go , say , in South America or whatever other parts people who know Manu Chao , I'm like , Yeah , of course. So people know they and they automatically think you have a cool factor. I'm not going to lie. So you're from Tijuana and yeah , that's pretty. I like that. But I kind of connect with folks who live in this other in-between spaces. And so when , for instance , when I was in Brazil , folks who were migrating from Spain or folks that were commuting all the way from , say , two hours away from from the main parts of the city and say was it wouldn't be like it was sometimes or pass Mumbai , which is it's barrio super super I can remember I can't remember the names but yeah , people who would commute for work and all that because I remember doing those sorts of commutes when I was hustling or working. And so , yeah , you take that with you in that perspective wherever you go. And so it shines a different light to your life experiences giving being sorts of contrast.


S1: I'm curious if , if leaving Tijuana , you had such a bleak or bleak views about it , maybe. I'm sure. And I think we've talked about it. They've also evolved over time. And Tijuana has dark and light. It has. It has it ? Absolutely. Yeah.

S3: What brought me back was my mom got really sick , and so I came back. I left a relationship. I left a business over there. I got a call from my dad , say , Hey , your mom's not doing too well. Some carrots , and we all have nine of fives. And I think you can do what I used to teach English over there. And so I had my only clients and all that. And so I could I could do that via Zoom and so I told my client , this is happening. Obviously some of them didn't like it because they want you to be there and so you just have to let them go. So yes , that brought me back. So I did not want to come back from Brazil. I wanted to stay there. I wanted to create a life over there. I wanted to have kids over there.


S3: Yeah , absolutely. Absolutely. And so it just so happened that I that life called me back. And so I did. I came.

S4: Back and.

S1: Has your your views , your relationship to Tijuana and the like. Your commitment to it , I guess , changed since you've been here. Absolutely.

S3: Absolutely. Especially in working with you guys and working with the homies from from Teresa futures shout out to Teresa futures. So yes. So I've been active in the community acting , trying to create spaces for folks who are across the border and through my specialty , which is media production , film and all that. So trying to tell these stories. And so , yes. So where I meet you is this trying to portray Tijuana in its best light , even though it's it has a bleak history and bleak reality trying to push the best stories forward , because this is a space this is a city where we have tremendous joy and tremendous will to be better and and push forward , which is not necessarily unique to Tijuana. But the way it gets done is what's unique , I think. What's your name ? Blanca. What's the artist ? Yeah.

S1: Oh , Tijuana is where the wave crash.

S3: It's where the way crash is. Yeah. And it's just a way to put it because it's. It's this little Ellis Island of. Of people from different parts of the world where people bring their culture and bring their necessities in life and and bring this will to just to be better and move forward. And so you can't stop the wind. You can't stop the waves. You can't stop people in trying to better their lives. So as we see caravan behind caravan trying to get to a better life. So I. Become appreciative of that reality. And wherever I can help , I try to help in that sense , try to make a better city in a sense.

S5: And you are doing that. I mean , telling all these stories is like you are doing some important stuff for for the city and and for a lot of people.

S3: So yeah , we're doing we.

S5: Are doing that. Yeah. Yeah.

S4: Yeah. Amen.

S1: Amen. I think it's very important work. I think I know this is a story about you guys , but I just have to reflect on what you were just saying because like , I've had this conversation with so many people about how sometimes people take my my optimism about Tijuana to be to like , deny the the dark stuff that happens in that city. And it's not that at all. I think the reason I feel so strongly and passionately about it is that it's Tijuana is like a concentrated version of the whole world. It's like there's so much energy where the wave crash is right ? Tijuana is is just everything that happens in the world. Life is bleak , right ? Like dark , violent stuff happens all over life the whole time. You see it on the news where the news focuses. There's a whole thing like if it bleeds , it leads where , like , they only portray really negative stuff around the world. Tijuana just happens to be a super concentrated version of that , where , like , you only focus on the dark. And that's how it's been for 20 , 30 years. And just like that , Tijuana also has the whole opposite side of like , it has so much beauty and and love and power and like people really seeking opportunities. So the reason I'm so adamant and like , committed to focusing on that is because I think it puts the power back in our choice and how we portray things and how we talk about things has really a big capacity to shift reality and shift the reality of a place not only in Tijuana , in the whole world , but Tijuana just so happens to be this a place I call home. And it's like such a concentrated version of that that it's not about like overlooking the bleakness. It's more of like , we choose. We do get to choose how we channel what's happening. Absolutely.

S3: Absolutely. Yes. And and for president. Go.

S5: Go.

S1: Alan I'm really also , really proud of what we're doing here. It's really cool. It's really cool.

S3: And also I'm proud of doing these episodes in Spanish. Yeah.

S4: Yeah. Yes , that's. Natalie.

S3: Natalie.


S2: I love it. Honestly , I feel like I've been saying this my whole life. I don't feel completely like myself when I'm speaking in English. I know I am myself and I know , like , you can take another side of my personality in English , but to feel truly genuine and fluent and like I can just say whatever I'm thinking. I have to do it in Spanish. And I'm and I'm always going to say this I'm smarter in Spanish , I'm way funnier in Spanish , more genuine , and more I don't know. I have more light in me if I'm speaking in Spanish. So when we decided to do this , when Julio decided like came up with the idea , I was like , I'm going to freaking shine , man. I'm going to freaking shine because it's my native language and people , my parents are going to be able to listen to it finally , and I'm going to be able to show you who I really am. Like speaking my native language. No , Entonces , sorry , we're doing this in English. But.

S3: But.

S2: It's been beautiful to be able also to give the interviewees an opportunity to choose whether they want to speak , whether they want to do the interview in Spanish or in English , because sometimes they just they just feel like me. They feel more comfortable speaking in Spanish. And we've been doing a lot of interviews in Spanish because they just want to do it like that. And I think , I mean , we're in a border region and we're speaking to languages like having that option. I don't know why it's happening. Like this should have happened like a bunch of years ago , like a bunch of years ago , and it's happening now. And I'm happy that it's happening now. But I don't know. It's changing my life and it's it's making me feel more committed to the podcast , too , because I feel like.

S3: You take ownership ? Yeah.

S2: Yeah. I feel more connected to it. Not that I didn't feel connected before , but like I said , it's my native language and it's just like. Like I can I can just naturally causes a fluid like flow like I can just naturally flow.

S5: Like be yourself.

S8: For those who are for.

S3: For an English audience and giving how much carpooling you've done and how much shit talking we've done , you and me and Natalie in Spanish. It's just you have no idea how funny Natalie is. And she's a talented , talented actress , and she's got the chops for a stand up comedian. Oh , my Lord. She's just.

S4: Highly recommend.

S1: You learn how to speak Spanish just for that. Yes.

S2: Yes.

S5: Good motivation.

S4: Good motivation. Yeah , yeah. Yeah.

S1: Yeah. I just feel like we can't. How can this be ? Truly a border podcast about the border without doing it in both languages ? You know , it's like it's not. It feels like half authentic , you know , It's like we got to be able to if half the audience can't listen to this show , you know what I mean ? Like , what do we.


S3: I was actually looking at the numbers and basically the numbers in Spanish are matching the numbers , right ? And so only one episode has to pass them. The X episode has surpassed them in Spanish.

S4: By more.

S3: Spanish , more Spanish by five by five. Clicks.

S4: Clicks.

S3: Okay , That's amazing. That's amazing.

S4: That's amazing. Nobody expected my mom , Natalie's mom , my grandma. And so I remember.

S3: When I was talking to Lisa , our manager supervisor and the folks from the communications department , about a possible goal. I'm like , what's a possible goal ? I mean , I know I want to be outlandish and say , Oh , it's going to be the same , but I kind of deep , deep. I knew deep inside it was going to be closed , but I just wanted to be conservative and say , hey , maybe like a third or a fourth of the viewership. Yeah , but it's basically neck to neck , closely neck to neck , just like bye bye a hair. It's like if one episode gets.

S4: 6000 , that's awesome. Kind of applause for Spanish.

S3: If one lady has about around close to 7000 in English and I think and on Spanish is about 6500. Oh wow.

S1: Yeah keep listening to those Spanish. Yeah.

S4: Yeah.

S3: Thank you so much. Yeah.

S4: I don't. Shut up. Yeah , Yeah. Um.

S3: Um.

S4: So happy. Yeah.


S2: Look , we're going to miss you so much.

S5: I ain't gonna miss you too , guys. Really ? Really , really.

S4: I mean , like , we.

S2: We found the perfect match , the perfect team. And you're doing this to us.

S4: I hope they.

S1: Let you work remote forever.

S5: Yeah , I hope so. Yeah , because.

S4: It's might.

S1: As well. You know , you already. You got the flavor of the show. Yeah. Yeah.

S5: Yeah. I mean.

S4: Plus , you can probably.

S1: Fly out here and there at least a. Year.

S5: Year. And I haven't killed Coolio. Right.

S4: Right. The patience that's.

S1: Like that should.

S4: Be what. Come on. Yeah. Having not talked about that. Yeah. Patience.

S3: I'm not going to lie. I'm hard to work with. I'm very , I say very demanding of my team. Very. I am a perfectionist or overthinker to a fault , and I don't remember that clearly.

S4: I can relate.

S1: So I that's , that's why I don't get mad. And I also have the patience because in other context I'm well this is , this is family. And I consider you a brother because I get it. Thank you. I get it when , like , I'm making music with Kamari , I'm the same. I've learned to like I've learned how to tame it. But I know how what it is to want things to be great. So that's why we're still here and like , we support it. And when you ask me to do a million takes , I'm like , I don't want to , but I will because I get it. I understand what what we need to do to make this a great show.

S3: Yeah , I remember that time. Your eyes were bulging. Like I could see the vein.

S4: As much as I say , sometimes it's.

S1: Like a little over the top.

S4: Like , say , but again , but , but put the emphasis on the you. But yeah. Like something. No , but stuff like that.

S3: Like if it's , if it's anything I mean just look a little how many times , how bad am I on my on myself.

S5: Oh you want to see.

S4: It was six hours. Six hours session. Horrible. Yeah.

S3: Yeah. I feel so sorry for Luca. Edit everything. I had.

S5: Like 300 markers. Like.

S4: Like.

S3: Look at it. Look , I wanted to kill me when I host it because I was just , like , trying to make sure the pitch was right , Everything was right. And then. Oh , my God. And just. Yeah , but anyways , we did it. But that.

S4: Was fun. Yeah , but we do. It was fun. We did it live. We got through it. We did it live.

S2: We all like joking aside , like , yeah , you're difficult to work with sometimes , but I think we all balance each other in the team.


S2: I love you too. We balance each other in this. In this team. And also , ever since you started , I feel like Alan and I are like. I mean , simple and fluid , but , like , we're doing way more natural. Yeah. Yeah. Before and like , we're , we're more , I think.

S1: I think it's way. We're way more encouraged to flow as ourselves rather than just like we make. Julio makes a lot of space for us to just play. Yeah. Which is super , super nice.

S3: I guess it's important that you guys enter center stage and your true selves shines. So I'm very , very committed to that. And also to get the staff behind the scenes involved as much as even if it's me , if it's Luca , to partake in the storytelling. And so and always to me , storytelling is having a personal stake in what you're doing. And so sometimes about , you know , Hey , I need you to open up this part. I think I reached in here , do this. So , yeah , guys , thank you so much.

S1: Thank you. Shout out listeners. Thank you all for letting us do what we do. Yes.

S3: Yes. And keep those donations coming. Yeah.

S4: Yeah.

S3: Thank you so much. You make this possible.

S4: Thanking the donors. Thank you. The members.

S2: We need to get paid. Yes.

S3: Yes. Yes. Thank you. You guys make this possible. Thank you so much for sticking with us. We appreciate you. Love you. And you make all this content available into different languages. So guys.

S4: to.

S2: This episode of Port of Entry was written and produced by Julio Cesar Ortiz. Franco.

S1: Luca Vega is technical producer and sound designer.

S2: Adrian Lobos is media production specialist.

S1: Elisa Barba is our editor.

S2: Lisa Morissette is director of audio programming and operations and John Decker is senior director of Content development.

S1: This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting , a private corporation funded by the American people.

S2: This project was also made possible with support from California Humanities , a nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit Soy.

S5: Soy. Soy.

S2: Soy. Natalie Gonzalez. Nos.

S15: Nos. Vemos. Pronto.

We are officially done with season 4 and are on hiatus preparing our next season. Buuuuut, we wanted to leave you beautiful folks with another reason to tune in! Another bonus episode! In this bonus episode, We sit down with our new Producers, Julio and Luca, as we look back on their debut season and they share stories about growing up in Tijuana and Quito, Ecuador. Also, Luca drops some sad news to digest.

Tune in!



Port of Entry has whole new set of stories with you, this time centered around food and migration.

This season we share several stories about how food has changed cities in the borderlands, including episodes on folks who have made Valle de Guadalupe, the famous wine region of northern Baja, their home.

Follow hosts Natali Gonzalez and Alan Lilienthal as they sit down with these fascinating people who share their personal and family stories. Listen in and join us!

If you like this episode, show us some love @portofentrypod


From KPBS and PRX, “Port of Entry” tells cross-border stories that connect us. More stories at

Find us on Facebook

Find us on Instagram

Support our show at Search “Port of Entry” in the gifts section to get our sling bag as a thank-you gift.

If your business or nonprofit wants to sponsor our show, email

Feedback is a gift. Text or call the "Port of Entry" team at 619-500-3197 anytime with questions or comments about the show. Email us at

“Port of Entry'' is written, produced and directed by Julio C. Ortiz Franco. Luca Vega is our Technical Producer and Sound Designer.

Alisa Barba is our editor.

Episodes are translated by Julio C. Ortiz Franco and Natali Gonzales.

Elma Gonzalez and M.G. Perez are our Spanish Editors.

Lisa Morrisette-Zapp is Director of Audio Programming and Operations and John Decker is the Director of Content Development.

This program is made possible, in part, by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.