In chapter 8 of the book American Chica by Marie Arana, the author recounts the circumstances that result in her first visit to America.
Marie's maternal grandmother is on her deathbed, and the author's mother decides to be by her side during her last days. Mother, father and Arana's two siblings, George and Vicki, are on their way Wyoming, America.
The author's perception of America being inhabited by the likes of Davy Crockett and Sitting Bull comes unfounded as the family travels in a Greyhound bus and the countryside unfolds over the journey.
During a train journey on the Union Pacific Pullman, Marie Arana and Vicki have their first brush with the overt racial discrimination in America. Bathrooms at the St. Louis Railway Station are marked "Colored" and "Whites," Marie learns that she's white.
During the road journey to Rawlins, the author, used to the trees, streams, deserts, and hills that she has experienced in Peru is struck by the unending prairie under the blue skies.
Marie meets her grandmother for the first time, and notices that the frail lady is accepting her fate stoically. She learns about her mother's family and how the Clapp family claimed descent from John Quincy Adams.
Marie develops feelings for her elder cousin, Nub and dubs him her "love friend." After the passing away of her grandmother, Marie Arana and her family depart for Boston.