TAPE MINUTE SUMMARY OF CONTENTS
0-10:00 Born in Mundaka, Biskaya on 7 April, 1960. Mother is Vitoriana Oleaga, father is Tony Arrubarrena. One sister, Rosa Mari, who is 3 years younger, and one brother, Antonio, who is 7 years younger. She was about 2.5 years old when she moved to America with her mother; her father was shepherding here in Idaho at the time. Her earliest recollection was becoming a citizen with her mother when she was 5 years old. They gave a special dinner afterwards, which was the first time Miren had eaten a baked potato. She spoke Basque with her parents throughout her early years, but she learned English pretty quickly, and her ability to speak and write Basque is not as good now as it was when she was younger. She started kindergarten at St. Joseph’s Catholic school, and the language wasn’t too much of a shock for her, because she had already been exposed to it for a few years. When Miren was 6 or 7, she realized that she lived in a totally different world at home, since she spoke a language that none of her friends knew about. She had a lot of Basque friends growing up, since her mother met most of the Basque women in the neighborhood to fit in, so she was able to experience the culture, language, and food even outside of her home. She made a lot more American friends in the 5th and 6th grades, but she was a part of the Oinkaris, and so remained in contact with the Basque community, even if she didn’t speak Basque with kids her own age. Miren started dancing for Jay Hormaechea when she was about 8 years old, and continued on with the Oinkaris through her teens. She always enjoyed this activity. Even though she came to America when she was young, she remained in close contact with Euskadi by traveling there every few years; she even had her first communion there.
10-15:00 Miren has always felt very comfortable and happy with the Basques in the Boise area. Her American friends from Bishop Kelly often came with her to the Basque Center and joked that they wished they were Basque. There were a few people in the Basque country who treated her like an alien when she visited, but she got over her ill ease in her teens and was able to enjoy the festivities in Bilbao and Mundaka. She joked that when she was little, she would cry about not wanting to go to Euskadi, and then after the trip was over, she would cry about not wanting to come back! Miren decided to study in Madrid when she was 18, and then studied and taught English in Bilbao, where she dated her husband.
15-26:00 While living in Madrid, it was difficult to travel around, but she stayed with relatives, and so had a gate to the culture. Teaching English was not Miren’s first job, as she worked for her mother, who was a tailor, from the age of 15, and also served dinners at the Basque Center. While in Mundaka, she met her future husband John’s sister, and they became friends. She introduced Miren to her brother, who was studying in Madrid, and since Miren was going to be studying there as well, she asked him to call on her there, since she didn’t know anyone. She stayed the other year in Bilbao mainly to be with him, and since he spoke neither Basque nor English, Miren had to carry out the relationship in Spanish. Miren felt more connected to men from the Basque culture than those form the American culture, after having dated both. When Miren decided to come home in May of 1981, John Arozamena and Miren’s grandmother wanted to come with her. John had a job in the Basque country, which he had to give up along with his car, and moved even though he spoke no English. He came with the intention of staying a year to see how he liked Boise. He loved it here, and got connected very quickly, and has stayed here ever since.
26-30:00 Miren belongs to the Basque Center, and her six-year old son is doing Basque dancing; her daughter Neira is in the Oinkaris, and has been dancing since she was 3. She will allow them to decide for themselves if they will continue, but recognizes that she must push them a little in that direction to let them discover the joys of the Basque culture.
0-10:00 It was easy to speak in Basque with her children when they were little, but once they started watching TV and going out with her friends, it was harder to do this. They concentrate more on Spanish at home now. When Miren’s daughter does visit the Basque Country, though, she enjoys herself a lot. Miren’s husband speaks English very well now, and also Spanish to the children, event though it doesn’t come as naturally to him now as it used to. Miren and her husband still socialize with other Basque couples often—many of whom danced with Miren as a child— although now it takes place mostly at their homes. They belong to St. Mary’s church because it is closer than St. John’s and is smaller.
10-13:00 Even though she was raised by parents who were strongly traditional with regards to the Basque culture, it is different for Miren and her generation because they have equally strong and important American influences in their lives. She doesn’t cook Basque food as much as she’d like, but she tries to remain close to her cultural roots, and hopes her children will do the same.
NAMES AND PLACES
Arozamena, John: Miren’s husband
Arozamena, Neira: her daughter
Arrubarrena, Tony: Miren’s father
Jay Hormaechea: her childhood Oinkari instructor
Oinkaris: Boise’s Basque dancers
Oleaga, Vitoriana: Miren’s mother
Basque Center: location of many festivities throughout Miren’s youth
Bilbao, Spain: town where Miren and John dated
Bishop Kelly High School: where Miren graduated
Boise State University: gave credit for Miren’s studies in Spain
Madrid, Spain: where she studied Spanish for a year
Mundaka, Spain: Miren’s birthplace
St. John’s Cathedral
St. Joseph’s School: where she attended grade school
St. Mary’s Church: Miren’s current Church