My name is Rosita (name changed). I was born in 1976 in a small area in Michoacan, La Piedad. I was 4 years old leaving Mexico.
My family was poor and looking for a better life for us so we could have the opportunity to have a successful life. The journey seemed impossible but at the end it’s always possible.
In La Piedad I lived with my parents and my 2 sisters but we can barely fit in our house. We would get along with our neighbors and everytime we woke up we would smell my mom making huevos y frijoles. But nothing else was better than playing outside with all the kids. We would play everyday in the hot beaming sun. But we were dirt poor and couldn’t afford new clothes, my parents would tell us to go check the streets to see if anyone had left clothes or we would get clothes from our cousins that wouldn’t fit them.
My dad had left to the United States before I was born to go and try to get a house but we were too poor. But every night my dad would tell us stories of how many things there were to do in the United States and how he wanted to take us for a better life. But my mom didn’t want to leave, she wanted to stay. But when my grandma died my mom decided that the best decision is to go for a better life for us.
My mom would always tell me that if we stay you can’t go to school, you will be a housewife and cook and clean. My dad had also mentioned that we could get a bigger house for all of us to have our own room. But I thought to myself “what about the people over there. Will they like us? Will there be kids playing around the streets and animals walking everywhere.”
Most of our uncles and aunts were planning on moving over there with my grandpa. So we decided since they are all moving over there we thought we could go and we would all help each other out.
By early 1980, we saved enough money to take a flight to the United States.
We walked from our house to the airport but all I remember was the beaming sun hitting us as we were dripping with sweat and to make things worse it smelled like a barn full of animals who haven’t showered in weeks. But when I looked around it was beautiful, I could hear the kids playing soccer, running around the plaza, people selling fruits at every corner then I thought to myself “this is home, why are we leaving for a better life if this is life.”
We arrived at the airport, waiting to be seated because I could feel the blisters and bruises from the walk over here my youngest sister Betty got carried the whole way but we took too many stops because my mom could barely walk pregnant. We finally got seated, I was sitting next to my parents and my 2 sisters. But the ride wasn’t what I was expecting, there had to be like 5 new born babies because all I could hear was the babies crying and they all had full diapers which made things worse. I looked over to see my parents and they were asleep dripping in sweat then my sisters were looking out the window seeing the clouds but when I looked closely at the window I saw a reflection of my older sister Rocio crying. “ Por qué estás llorando?” Why are you crying? “Porque tengo miedo” because i’m scared. Then I got close and hugged her to make her feel better.
At the time my mom was pregnant with my brother. I didn’t know what to expect going to the United States. The only thing I was looking forward to was a better life for us. We didn’t run into trouble like others; we got to the United States easy.
“Thank you for flying with us, make sure you grab your bags on the way out.” At first we didn’t understand what the pilot was saying until someone translated it for us. I could barely walk to go get our luggage. The blisters on my foot were getting worse. We waited for my uncle to come pick us up because we didn’t have a car. I looked around and saw tall buildings, restaurants, and kids getting out of school. I thought to myself “Am I going to make it in the United States?”
My uncle finally arrived with his car but we all had to squeeze in cause we could barely fit in the car. Then we arrived in East Palo Alto. I looked around to see but there were no kids. Then a few hours later kids started to appear but I didn’t understand why until I saw them all with backpacks.
Then next thing you know it was my turn to go to school. I had trouble learning English, the kids would always make fun of me for not speaking proper english. I never had any friends other than my sister and brother. But my whole life in school was good until high school. During high school I didn’t enjoy school as much as I used to. I would never pay attention during class but the one thing I enjoyed was math. But the only reason I would go to school is to see my friends cause my mom never let me see them.
Then at the beginning of my senior year I found out I was pregnant with my son. I realized that I am taking a huge responsibility in my life but my mom never showed me how to be a mom nor helped until he was older. But 2 years later I have another boy. I wanted my son to have someone to grow up with so they won’t be alone. But as time went on it got easier and I learned a lot raising them.
Till this day I still feel like I learn a lot from them every day. I am 44 years old living with my husband and my two kids. But I always ask myself “what would’ve happened if we never left? Would I be able to be as successful as I am today? Or would it have been easier for me?” But till this day I am fine where I’m at, but the one thing I wished I could’ve done was stayed in school and reached my dream to become an attorney. But that is what is what I tell my nephews and nieces’ cause thank god we got a better life over here cause if we didn’t move they would’ve never had the opportunities they have today. But later on my oldest son said to me.
“ Hey mom it’s never too late to start.”
“ Yeah you’re right but why work for something you want all your life but when you worked for it already.” I said.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“What I mean is that I worked for my family to have a better life, and they have it.” I said.
This story was written by a niece of Rosita, following an interview.