I was with one of my brothers and some of my friends. We’ve never been to the United States. The United States sounded like a new world for us, and we thought life in a different country would make our futures brighter. I was 17 years old when I left my parents and siblings as I started my journey to go to a new country to start a new and better life.
The life I lived back in Mexico with my family was poor. “No teníamos mucho para comer ni mucha ropa para vestir” We didn’t have much to wear. I shared some of my shoes and clothes with some of my brothers that had the same sizes as me “La vida que viví fue hermosa pero muy triste porque no teníamos fondos suficientes para vivir una vida normal.” The life I lived was beautiful, but very sad because we didn’t have enough money to be able to live a normal and stable life.
“Luchábamos mucho porque teníamos una gran familia” We would work hard because we had a big family. “Ayudabamos a nuestro padre en los campos” We would help my father work in the fields and taking care of animals like sheep and cows. We would get up around 6 am to start working and after in the afternoons when we were done we would come shower at our house and get ready to attend school. We would work a lot and study at school but we never had enough money to continue attending school. At the age of 10 years old me and my siblings would already be working.
As time went by we grew up older and then one of my brothers had moved to the US and i asked him if he could help one of our brothers, friends, and I to go to the US. I told my parents that “Habia pensado en ir a los Estados Unidos para poder encontrar trabajo y ayudarlos con sus necesidades en el hogar y así poder tener una mejor educación en un lugar mejor” I had thought about going to the United States to find work and help them with their needs at home so that I could have a better education in a better place. As I left, my family was sad but they told me “ Echale ganas te vamos a extrañar mucho y no te olvides de nosotros.” Work very hard, we’re going to miss you so much, and don’t forget about us.
In 1999 when I began my journey, we traveled by bus 2 days to the border Nogales, Mexico. We stayed in a hotel before we started walking out the city through the border, “Caminamos durante una hora y habíamos entrado en el territorio de los Estados Unidos” We walked for an hour and had entered the territory of the United States. We walked for 2 days to Tucson Arizona where we met up with a cousin we had living there – “y estaba haciendo bastante calor” And it was very hot, and after 2 days we were brought to Los Angeles here in California and from there we came to the SF Bay Area where one of my brothers had a house where we were going to stay and live.
“Después de 3 días encontré trabajo como lavaplatos y me pagaron alrededor de $ 6.25 por hora, y luego seguí adelante y encontré otro trabajo en el que comencé a trabajar durante 3 años desde 1999 hasta 2001.” After 3 days I found a job as a dishwasher and they paid me around $ 6.25 an hour, and then I went ahead and found another job where I started working for 3 years from 1999 to 2001.
In 2001, one day I never thought that something like 9/11 would happen so without a doubt I made a decision to go back to Mexico to go see my family. “Viví en México durante aproximadamente un año y medio y conocí a una mujer maravillosa con la que me casé” I lived in Mexico for about a year and a half and met a wonderful woman that I married, and so 2002 I started working again. I dedicated myself to start working on the same thing with my father and doing things such as growing crops, working on taking care of the animals we had, and during afternoons working in other ranches with my father como siempre “he hecho con el” I have done with him.
“Después de pasar otro año con mi esposa, decidí regresar a los Estados Unidos en 2003 dejando a mi esposa mientras estaba embarazada” After spending another year with my wife, I decided to return to the United States in 2003 leaving my wife while she was pregnant. Once I got back to the US I began settling down in the house my brother let me stay in and started work again.
A month later I decided to bring my wife to the US now that she was pregnant, and we began settling down in Sunnyvale California, but after working and getting more money and being with my wife we decided to move in with my wife’s sister in Riverside, California. I found better work that paid me more was “paisajismo” landscaping, and after some time it came the time when the first baby was going to be born. In 2004 Gilberto Virrueta was born.
After 5 years we moved bac to the Bay Area and in 2009 our daughter was born. Our son started preschool and we moved into an apartments where we have stayed many years. I started working as a cook and I started getting paid more than the salary.
In 2017 secnd daughter was born. We’ve lived a good life. The kids have gone to school.
My life now May 14, 2020 is very stable. “Tenemos suficiente dinero para comprar lo que necesitamos y lo que nos trae alegría.” We have enough money to buy the things we need and the things that bring us joy. I am able to buy things that my children like. I get them clothes they like, shoes, devices, and all so they can be happy. I want the best future for my family. “Así que ahora estoy esperando” So now I’m waiting for my son to turn 18 in about 2 more years so I can be able to get papers, and that’s my story of how my life came to be. Now my goal is to hope for the best for my children to have a great and bright future.
This interview and narrative was done by the immigrant’s son.