How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

American snapshot: San Diego

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A street sign near the city's harbor is a reminder of a long-ago immigrant past, November 2010

The city that I called home for several years is best known as a border town, but its lesser-known immigrant history also takes in two thriving Portugese-speaking communities.

The harbor-area San Diego neighborhood of Point Loma attracted Portuguese immigrants to its tuna-fishing industry in the early part of the last century, and their influence remains visible today. So does their language, which has helped make the city a comfortable landing spot for more recent immigrants from Brazil.

Why mention this? The house I lived in is just a few blocks from Avenida de Portugal. It's a tiny street in Point Loma that is still home to a Portuguese community center and chapel. I walked past this little cultural outpost often, most recently while in town packing to relocate my household to Los Angeles. I'll miss it, as I'll miss many things, now that the moving truck is en route up I-5.

L.A. is my hometown and there's no place like it, so no complaints here. But I'll be back to visit.

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