My story begins with a loving young mother trying to give everything for her only child, trying to provide a father for her daughter.
Before she decided to marry the man that was now going to be father, we had a wonderful life back in Mexico. We lived in a big house with my grandma, two aunts, and a lot of cousins, but then he decided to move to the U.S. to provide a better life for my mother, me, and my new baby sister. Everything changed so quickly that I didn’t have time to fully understand why everything happened the way it did. My mother wasn’t happy about moving but she wanted us to be a family, and if that meant moving to a new country, she was willing to do it. I was extremely sad about leaving my family behind, especially leaving my grandma who was like my second mother. My mother was 18 when she got pregnant with me and my father left her while she was pregnant, so she had to work very hard to support and raise me. My life completely changed in a short period of time, I went from not having a father to having a stranger come into my life. I had to learn to accept him as my father and get used to calling him Dad, I went from being an only child to being a big sister, from having the happiest life, having everything I needed and wanted, to experiencing hunger, thirst, mental and physical exhaustion, spending days and nights in a desert with a group of strangers that hoped to achieve the same “American” dream. From this trip I don’t remember much now, but when I was younger I goes by. Something I do remember very well is the time we walked by the dead bodies, people that died trying to accomplish the same dream my family was trying to accomplish. They died in the dessert, probably alone. Seeing this really affected me, and even at that young age I realized that if I made it, I was going to make it all worth the while. All the suffering I went through was going to be worth it one day, because I was going to work hard to become someone great.
I arrived to the U.S. a day before my ninth birthday and my sister was one year old. Everything, at first, seemed so strange: the smells, noises, houses, the streets. I remember crying myself to sleep for the first year because I was so home sick– I missed my family and my country so much. I arrived in August and school started in September. When time came to go to school, I remember crying and begging my mom not to make me go because I didn’t feel ready. I was so terrified of being treated differently by the other kids not only for being new, but for not being “American.” I felt like they were going to know the way in which I came to this country and the language barrier didn’t help either. I thought, “How am I going to make friends if I couldn’t understand them and they couldn’t understand me?” My first day, I was placed in a class with students who also didn’t know English and who also were new to this country, so I didn’t feel so alone. Still, I was trying my best at school trying to keep up with the other kids (both academically and socially), with much dedication and desire to learn. I managed to learn English in just eight months. I wasn’t fluent but I made great progress in a short period of time. This progress impressed my English teacher so much that she had a meeting with my mother to let her know how proud she was of the progress I made. From then on, while I wasn’t a straight “A” student, I always tried my best.
I had a few bumps during some of my middle school years, hanging out with the wrong crowd and trying to be someone that I wasn’t. After I finally realized that that wasn’t who I wanted to be, I leftmoved on with my life and continued to change. When I graduated from high school, it was one of the most proud moments in my 18 years of life. I was proud that I made it, I had finally made it! But now that I finish one chapter of my life, it feels like everything is against me to start a new one. it feels like I’m swimming against the current, it feels like the harder I try, the more I get left behind. It doesn’t matter how much I want to make something of myself, or however many years of college I attend and how much money I pay. In the end, all of this effort, once I have my diploma in my hand, is not going to matter because I won’t be able to do anything with it. From what I notice, among my community, si that a big reason why many teens choose to work after graduating high school and even drop out during high school is because they know that going to college here in the U.S. is not their reality. And going back to Mexico is not an option because even though that is where we were brought from, the U.S. is our home and is as much of our country since this is the home that we have known for most of our lives. Unfortunately, I have a little a sister that might have to through the same struggles if something doesn’t change or if the Dream Act doesn’t pass. I will try my hardest to help this dream become a reality for myself, my sister, and many others.