Choosing between two countries, the U.S. and our birth countries, is not easy at all, but sometimes we do not have any choice.
A lot of people come to United States every single day, I guess just to get a better life. But before they come to this country their thoughts are that they will go back to their countries and be happy with their families to stay with their people. But unfortunately there are a lot of us who change because we adjust to this new culture and new style of life. And sometimes we don’t want to leave what, with effort, we have made for ourselves here.
This is my case. I came here when I was 15 years old. That’s when I made the decision to come here. Well actually, I did not make this decision. That decision was made by my parents. They wanted the best for me and that meant sending me to United States.
This notice surprised me because they didn’t ask me first. They just told me, “Zenayda you’re going to travel tomorrow to another country.” So I didn’t have any time to ask why they decided this for me. I acted like a good daughter. I didn’t protest. I just obeyed my parent’s decision.
I came to this “opportunities” country with one dream, to make my family proud of me. When I was coming here I was thinking about beautiful houses and everything wonderful. But there was something that I didn’t imagine. Once we come here we have to work hard.
I came with my older sister, so the first three months were kind of easy. I only watched T.V and slept. But after three months she said, “Well, you have to work, ok?”
I started my first job in the huge United States doing landscaping. I worked 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. every single day.
In my mind I thought, “This is not the life that I want!” I was looking for something better than cutting grass. I worked for about 8 months but I could not work anymore because my body would not let me.
One night I talked to my sister and I told her, “I don’t want to work anymore like that. That is hard for me - working 12 hours every day for the whole week only, 15 years old.” I was thinking it wasn’t fair. I told her I wanted to study and that was when my life began to change.
Now thanks to God I’m studying and I have a new life. Now I’m 19 years old and I live by myself. And like many people who came with the dreams I had, I’m still waiting for the special moment to return to my country. But I’ve been living here for three and the half years, so in this short time I have adjusted my life to a new country.
When I say that I’m waiting for the special moment to go back with my family, I mean that I don’t know when I will return, or even if I will return. For me living my own life and studying on my own now makes it too difficult to choose if I should stay here or go back to my country. For many of us immigrant people, after adjusting to this country, we don’t know if we should return to our countries or to stay here for the rest of our lives.