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Houston to Hoosiers, Latinos adjust quickly

Houston to Hoosiers, Latinos adjust quickly
Houston to Hoosiers, Latinos adjust quickly
Olga Gallegos, left, and her daughter, Lilliana Rodriguez, 16, at their Mexican restaurant, The Real EnchiIada 2, in Corydon. (Photo by Charles Ewry)

It’s what every Latin American teenager living in Houston wants to hear.
‘Pack your bags. We’re going to Corydon,’ Olga Gallegos said.
Lilliana Rodriguez, her daughter, wasn’t disappointed upon finding out that Corydon meant Indiana. In fact, the 16-year-old sophomore was enthusiastic.
‘I was excited. I like to experience new things,’ she said.
The ladies had a lot of change awaiting them.
Olga, 35, defrosted the windshield on her car for the first time two weeks ago. Lilliana left more than 2,000 students at Madison High School to join about 800 students at Corydon Central High School.
Olga left a culinary career at MD Anderson Hospital to work as owner and operator of the challengingly named El Jaliciense (now The Real Enchilada 2) at the corner of Capitol and Walnut streets in Corydon. Lilliana, who may or may not be a shopaholic, was laying the groundwork for a modeling career.
It’s ‘The Simple Life’ with a little Latin American flair.
Olga Gallegos grew up in Durango, the capital of the state of Durango in Mexico. The city is centrally located and has a population of nearly 500,000.
At age 14, Olga moved to Texas with her mother, father and siblings to join two sisters and a brother. Olga comes from a large family: she has seven sisters and four brothers; one brother passed away before her move to the United States.
Olga married but has since separated. Her son, Juan, is staying with his father in Houston. The move to Corydon was planned after her brother, Orlando, saw a business opportunity in a Mexican restaurant on a prime downtown street corner.
Opportunity, she said, is what draws the Hispanic population of Harrison County. In her case, she always wanted to have her own business.
‘(In Houston) there is a lot of competition,’ Olga said. Especially in Mexican food.
She is no stranger to travel. It’s one of her favorite pastimes. She has been to Colorado, Tennessee, Paris and Venice, to name a few places she’s visited. En route from Houston to Corydon, she stopped off at the Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Lilliana travels with Olga everywhere she goes.
The bilingual duo have adjusted quickly to Southern Indiana.
‘I like this place. Everybody is very friendly,’ Olga said.
‘I think I can make friends anywhere. I’m really outgoing,’ said Lilliana, who has fielded a lot of questions since starting school at CCHS.
Lilliana hopes to be involved in the school’s drama program next year. She was second runner-up in the Fiestas Patrias Mexican heritage pageant in Houston last year where she demonstrated acting as her talent.
While preparing for the pageant, Lilliana’s performance reduced the pageant coach and several contestants to tears, she said.
Olga likes dancing and casinos. And, yes, she’s already been to Caesars’ riverboat casino in Bridgeport. She won $1,000 there Sunday night.

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