After having a privileged adolescence in my native country, including going to a very well known university 4 hours away from my parents’ house, I found my self living in the United States specifically in one of the most interesting and frightening cities that I knew.
Queens, NY became my new place of residence but not by personal choice. I got to the “Big Apple” to learn the train system and to also learn the ins and outs visiting of some of the state jails. My father, who was always was my friend and hero, had to live with the consequences of his bad decisions through a sentence that took him and our family into a journey full of insecurity and anxiety.
I lived in the homes of many relatives, in some occasions with the luck to have a bed to sleep in but in many others with a sofa that converted at night into my bed. My clothes were always neatly organized in a cardboard box which I called “my mobile closet” and I even carried a guitar that was my companion throughout the journey, although I never had the chance to learn how to play it.
The privileged adolescent was quickly transformed into a young woman with nostalgia and frustration for all that was left back home, but also transformed in a strong woman full of challenges and a clear decision to survive.
Appreciating the simple things in life and recognizing that our value is based on who we are and not in what we have was my new lesson. I understood that my education and all the good times at the university were not really me. The strength to work as a blue-collar immigrant in order to be able to provide not only for myself, but also to support my father, was what truly defined me at that time. I have to say that I felt full of anger many times for having to live through such a difficult situation and I also found myself wanting to be in a better place … the place that I thought I deserved.
I remember crying when I had to walk with broken shoes in Manhattan and when I had to sell part of my clothing and jewelry in order to cover my own living expenses and the astronomical phone bills so that my father could communicate with our family back home. Despite all that sadness I also felt happiness when I discovered the beautiful colors of autumn and spring. A new world was opened to me when I was able to communicate with others in a different language and when I was exposed to other cultures. That new world allowed me to see that every little achievement represented a huge victory in my life.
It was an almost three years learning process that marked one of the best developmental periods in my life. I graduated with honors thanks to the lived experiences, which thought me the real meaning of love and friendship. I recognized how good it feels when there are few physical attachments and when we can laugh despite the difficult times. I understood that regardless of the gray clouds in front of my eyes there was definitely a beautiful blue sky on top smiling for me.
Today, I am sure that amongst all the difficult experiences in our lives there is always something good to gain out of them. I am thankful for each experience that I had with family and friends, grateful with the country that opened its doors to me, and I am especially thankful to God for using all these circumstances to show me how to be bold and strong.
This storyteller shared her story in Spanish and in English. Here is the link to the Spanish version of this story… https://sayitforward.org/siempre-habra-un-cielo-azul/
Photo credit: © Ivan Karpov | Dreamstime.com