I came to the United States when I was 8 from Belgium, Germany. However, originally, I was born in Ethiopia. My dad worked for the Ethiopian Government as a diplomat in Europe. There was a communist overthrow of the government and most of his friends either got imprisoned or shot. So he decided to start over in a new country, which was here in America-the land of opportunity.
I could say that the only thing that’s hard by living here is to determine what aspects of your own culture you keep and cherish and what parts you don’t. For instance, kindness to everyone. For a long part of my life in America, I trusted and was kind to everyone. However, it wasn’t until later that I found out that not everyone deserved my kindness and trust. I was often taken advantage of by trying to emulate my own African Culture of being kind and trusting everyone. I’ve still brought the discipline, integrity, and hard work of my culture with me still. I’m still a kind and trusting person but I’m still more selective on who I can trust and be kind towards.
As an immigrant, I have been exposed to many cultures. As a result I’ve been given a broader insight as to how the world works as a whole. As opposed to the narrow minded view point that most non-immigrants have in this country.
I was really to young to remember most of what happened. I do miss the fact that I don’t have any childhood friends that I’m able to communicate with still or even remember. By moving I lost contact with all those I had known the first 8 years of my life.
Like Most families, my parents brought me to the U.S. or a better future. According to my mom’s family, I wouldn’t have had a very bright future back in Mexico.
It’s difficult to be an immigrant because I wasn’t able to do things many legal citizens can, like travel. In eight grade, my school planned a trip to Europe. I really wanted to go but my mom’s simple answer was “Perdoname hija, pero no se puede.” which in english translates to “I’m sorry sweet, but it’s not possible.” I used to think that it was because we didn’t have enough money. However, it was something else, it was because I wouldn’t be able to re-enter the country.
Another thing I found difficult was while everyone was getting their license, I had to sit aside. I wanted to be like all the other teenagers getting their ID/license, go in and out of the DMV, but I couldn’t. There were so many nights where I cried to my mom, blaming her for following a man that would later leave her and their two children.
The positive aspects that come out of coming to the United States? Well I have a new family. My parenets divoreced and I stayed with my mom who later remarried. Without the help of this man, who I now call my dad, my mom and I would have lived with so many limitations (more than what we already had.) He’s helped my mom with so much. We now have a house and my mom has her own business.
The United States also opened up my eyes. It didn’t hit me that I was an illegal immigrant until I entered high school. Before it didn’t bother me so much but then I started thinking about what I wanted to do after high school. I knew I wanted to continue studying but how? I only talked to my parents about it so I only had the information my mom could give me and according to her, it was possible to study as an immigrant!
Before senior year, my step-dad went to Mexico to renew his VISA but a couple days after he had been to the US embassy we got horrible news. They had denied his VISA. My mom told me that we might have to go back to Mexico, None of us wanted that. We had already made our lives there once. If we went to Mexico, it meant having to start all over again. That’s the main reason I didn’t do anything for college. I couldn’t apply or FAFSA because I didn’t have a SSN. I gave up, I mean I was going to leave anyways. My step-dad managed to come back before his VISA expired. During the time that he was laid of, my step-dad researched so many laws to get his VISA back. After almost half a year of not working and just researching, they finally gave him his VISA. But it was too late for me. College deadlines had passed.
I could have simply just waited another semester but I thought about it. What am I going to do after college? Who’s going to hire me? I’ll have a useless degree. What if I get stopped by the police? What if I get deported? All these negative thoughts led me to the decision to leave this country and go back to Mexico. This had to be the most difficult situation and decision I had ever had to encounter and make.
Moving to Texas was not my choice but my parents. They had the best intentions, to give me a better education and life. Right now living in Mexico, I miss my life in Texas. I’m in Mexico right now so that in the future I can go back to the way I used to live. I got tired of having to be careful all the time and I didn’t want to work like many illegal immigrants, with a stolen social. I don’t like doing things the wrong way.
While living in Texas, the only thing that I missed about Mexico was my family. Every winter and Summer Break my friends would tell me about the fun they had in Mexico. In 14 years, I never once saw my cousins. I didn’t have family reunions in Dall because we didn’t have family there. But now that I’m living in Mexico where I can see my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and my cousins whenever I want, I miss the most important people in my life. My parents, siblings, and friends. I have no idea when I will be able to see my mom or my friends and that’s what always makes me think, “Did I make the right choice?”
This is a struggle that took me by suprise but I will overcome it and next thing you know, I’ll be back in the States, working legally, and travelling all over the world. This is a really touchy subject, I get teary eyed every time I think about it. But I want people to know that there are a lot of kids who suffer from being immigrants. We want to study and get a career just like everyone else. It wasn’t our choice to live in a different country illegally. Our parents wanted a better future for us but weren’t well informed about the right way to do it and besides, the US government isn’t so nice when authorizing VISAS.