Photo by Juan Carlos Lara.

Alejandra Solis moved from Yucatán, Mexico, to San Francisco four years ago with her family and a plan: save up as much money as possible, buy land in Mexico, and return home to focus on a new career in real estate. 

“Over there, it’s very difficult to gather capital to start a new business,” Solis said in Spanish. “You can work and live, but saving capital to start a business is very difficult.” 

Solis and her husband, who have a seven-year-old son, initially chose San Francisco after he landed a lucrative job as a plumbing assistant in the city. 

Solis earned a bachelor’s degree in education in Yucatán and had done three semesters at City College of San Francisco to learn English. 

“I had to stop [classes] because I needed to work and, since I have a son, it’s too complicated,” Solis said. 

For the past two years, Solis has been working for Bowl’d Acai, often at the food truck parked at 18th and Valencia streets. 

“Working here helps me to practice English with the customers,” Solis said. 

Solis eventually hopes to return to City College to refine her English and take classes for her future career. 

Both Solis and her husband lost their jobs for more than six months during the pandemic, and she now estimates they will move back to Mexico in about four years. 

“I do miss Yucatán,” she said. “the climate, more than anything. Here, the weather is very cold. Also my house. There, you have lots of space. Here, the spaces are very reduced.”

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Juan Carlos Lara covers business and development in the Mission. Juan Carlos, a San Francisco State alum, is as much a photographer as he is a writer and previously worked as the campus news editor at Golden Gate Xpress, SF State’s student paper.

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