Chin Up and Success Follows

My journey begins in 1975 in a small town in Mexico, Guerrero Michoacán. The sun is up and the white truck with a big red speaker on it is already making its way around town announcing the newly married couple, and the dead cow by the river. Geez can’t he wait till noon to come around can you… I WANNA SLEEP IN. 

“Despirtance, es hora de trabajar”, wake up it’s time to work, my mom had announced. I forced myself up, encouraging myself by repeating ‘Hoy es tu ultimo dia, que sea un día inolvidable’.  It is your last day make it unforgettable. 

I had gone to wash dishes at a well 2 miles away, with my older sister Leticia. So we both got onto our donkeys and headed off. When we were done with the plates I ask if I can mount her donkey, “Yo lo puedo montar no me da miedo”, I can mount it and I am not scared. But she denies my request and says “No, es a bruto burro”, No it is a dumb donkey. Meh couldn’t be so bad, I am invincible anyway. My prideful thoughts won me over and I pushed my sis out of the way, and mounted the donkey. Which later resulted in a bloody disaster, the “dumb donkey” had dragged my through the biggest bushes of thorns, and the rockiest paths. At least I won’t forget this moment. 

Today was eventful, I was saying goodbye to all my neighbors and they gave me their ‘Bendiciones’. I said goodbye to the beautiful rivers and the low valleys. I went to my favorite spot to pick my Guavas, by the way one of the best fruits out there. I layed under the shade for the last time, looked up to the sky and took a bite into the guava. 

Although my town seems nice, and yes it was, it had many problems that were impossible for me to solve. So the only solution for those problems for me was to run from them. Running from my problems was one of my regrets, one of them was also when I stopped going to school. In the third grade I was forcefully unenrolled from school by commands of my mother, because for her it was money in hand at that moment which was more important. Not only was I taken out of school but my 8 other siblings were also unenrolled. How different would I have been today if only I had stayed at school. 

It is time. It is time to move on, explore what is out there in the big world. Where was that big world, well for me it was in Michocan Guerrero. It was still in Mexico, yes, but it was very different from my hometown. It offered many jobs and opened doors for dreams just like mine. My dream was to become a teacher and offer education to all no matter their circumstance, I want to be the reason behind the bright smiles of the children. 

A man, Mario with a small red truck came at midnight ready to begin the trip to Michocan. My sister, Leticia and I had packed our things onto the truck and said our final goodbyes. She began to cry as we set off, me I was the one who kept my chin up and recognized that this was for the best. So I can be able to help my family financially. It is all going to be okay Carmen, you are strong but sometimes it is okay to be sad… I started bawling next to my sister hugging her tightly. 

The road was bumpy, I can’t remember the trip vividly but I can remember my bloody pants incident. I had gotten my first period on the way to Michoacan, I was scared. Wow I can’t even go anywhere without having a bloody disaster. 

We arrived in Michoacan and I was ready to start a new beginning, but God had different plans for me. Love. I had fallen in love with a man from Aguilla Michoacan. A couple years went by and we were married. He wanted to bring me to the US to live with him. Woah, Woah “el otro lado?” the other side? I was startled. He had told me that the US had more to offer to us than Michoacan. He said that it was going to a better lifestyle for us and our potential family. So I followed. 

While he was safe on the other side, I was going to run for my life across the border. I don’t really know how I got to the desert, but I know my heart was beating so fast it could’ve burst out of my chest. My head felt as if it was going through many tasks at once, in conclusion Me iba a desmayar, I was going to faint. 

The time had come I moved my legs as fast as I could, I only thought of this is for the best. I had arrived at the other side where my husband was waiting with wide open arms, ready to start a new beginning in this big world. Who knew marriage was this overwhelming.

My first thought coming to the US was a home, a home for me and my family. It wasn’t easy finding a home, and keeping my family fed and healthy. There were lots of tears that it felt as if they could fill up jars, but I kept my chin up causing them to move slower or even stop. Our family was cramped most of the time. At times there wasn’t enough food so all of us could eat, at times there wasn’t enough food for my whole family. 

It is 2020 now and I am now proud to say that I own my own home and more. I have had my own taqueria, earned educational certificates, became a teacher assistant and have a healthy family. It has been rough but I remembered to stay strong and keep my chin up. I have also been able to help my family in Mexico financially. I am currently working to help my children with their education and help them get far so they won’t have to go through the same situation as I did. It is all Gracias a dios, thanks to God.

The interview and narrative were done by her daughter, a student in the Bay Area.

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