Moving to America Catherine Hook Eth125 July 11, 2010 Tina Luzzi It seems like just yesterday Mom was telling me to pack my bags. We were living in a small farming town just outside Catarina, Mexico. Times were really tough and Dad had lost his job. My family knew of people moving to the United States for work, but my family never considered it. Our entire family resides in Mexico; the thought of moving was unbearable. When we crossed the United States border into Texas, things seemed surreal. It did not feel like this was really happening.
I remember staring at the road behind us, watching everything I knew disappear. We only stopped a few times on the drive. We did not eat at any restaurants; we ate chicken tacos Mom cooked at the rest stops. It took us almost two whole days. We arrived in a town in Illinois called Rantoul. Dad said the business he was now working for found a place for us to live. We pulled into a parking spot in front of the apartment building. I got out of the car and looked around. Fancy condos and townhomes stood across the street. I turned and looked at where my family and I would be living.
The building seemed dark and dingy. At least the lawn looked like it was taken care of. When Dad opened the door to the building, I smelt the familiar scents from home. I could not help but smile. The hallways were painted in bright yellows, reds, greens, and purples. I was so happy to see we had our own little community in the building. Everyone greeted us and introduced themselves. I was pleased to meet several teenagers my age in which I could interact with. They said they have lived there for several years and enjoy the town. I found out Dad had a job at a pork processing plant.
He cuts the meat for packaging. I was really excited to hear that he would be getting a steady paycheck every week. Mom has also applied for work. She has applied at several places in town, and is very optimistic of the opportunity to work full time. The people in town seem indifferent when they hear us speak to each other. Some people seem angry about it. It is difficult to move from a country in which the native language was Spanish to a country that speaks mainly English. I have picked up on a few words, but I am not sure if I understand completely what they mean.
My mother and I were at the grocery store the other day and could not find anything we needed for our grocery list. The only thing we found was tortillas, and not the good kind. Mom was so upset when we got home. She spoke to our neighbor about what she encountered at the store. Our neighbor stated there is a section of town that is specifically for Mexicans. She gave us directions and we left right away. We found a little store called Mi Pueblo Mexican Store (Merchant Circle, 2010). It was just like the grocery stores at home. We were able to find everything we needed.
On the way back to our apartment, we found a restaurant called Sol Azteca (urbanspoon, 2010). Later, we found out that was also owned and operated by Mexican-Americans. I was so excited to see more of my culture being recognized in this town. As I walked into my first day at an American school, I was very nervous. What if I do not understand one word that is spoken to me? I walked into my classroom and my teacher noticed I was a little nervous. She looked at me and smiled, “? Hola! ?Como estas? ” She was bilingual (k12jobspot, 2010).
I was more than excited to see she recognized I did not speak English well. I found out it is “…now required to study Mexican-American History” (Chicago Press Release, 2009, New Year Means New Laws in Illinois as of Jan. 1, 2010, para. 5). The rest of the school day went well as I continued to see signs posted around the school with Spanish translations. My peers were eager to assist me in any way I needed. Moving into a new country has been a very difficult adjustment. I feel it is difficult to be confined to live in a certain area of town.
I never see my friends from school. They are not even allowed to speak to me when they see me in public. It seems the town has forced us to stay in our little area and shop at our own stores. At least the schools have made an adjustment for those of us who were forced to move here because our parents needed jobs. I can only remain optimistic that things will start to change. References Merchant Circle [no author]. (2010). Mi Pueblo Mexican Store. July 11, 2010 from http://www. merchantcircle. com/business/Mi. Pueblo. Mexican. Store. Rantoul. IL. 17-892-5000 Urbanspoon [no author]. (2010). Sol Azteca. July 11, 2010 from http://www. urbanspoon. com/r/106/849414/restaurant/Champaign/Sol-Azteca-Rantoul K12jobspot [no author]. (June 6, 2010). Certified Teacher – Grade 1 Bilingual – Beginning 2010-2011 School Year. July 11, 2010 from http://k12jobspot. com/Jobs/? ID=127998 Chicago Press Release [no author]. (December 31, 2009). New Year Means New Laws in Illinois as of Jan. 1, 2010. July 11, 2010 from http://chicagopressrelease. com/press-releases/new-year-means-new-laws-in-illinois-as-of-jan-1-2010