In the summer of 2004, my Dads job asked him to move to The United States. Less than two months later, we had a new life in a small town in the middle of Texas.
1. Holidays are some of the most difficult times of the year.
While holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving are some of the most cherished events of the year, they can also be the most dreadful for some. My holiday festivities consisted of having dinner with my parents and two older sisters, while often trying to find a way to video-chat with our family in another country. It's not your typical American Thanksgiving dinner, either.
2. No matter how long you've lived there, you'll always be out of the loop on some things
This year was my senior year in high school, and have already had two older sisters graduate, so I wasn't unfamiliar with what I had to do. However, I realized that there were things that no matter how much experience my family had, it would always be a challenge to keep up. All of my senior friends were being adopted by other senior parents as a sort of senior tradition and my parents and I had no idea about it. While it usually is small things like this, no one told you that after 15 years of living somewhere, you'd still be trying to catch up.
3. The language barrier will stick with you forever
Since I moved here when I was two, I was in the middle of learning Spanish when I had to start going to a pre-k in English. Being a small kid made it easier for me to adapt to a new language than my older sisters, but I had trouble making friends and often times found myself playing with the teacher during recess since the other kids in our class didn't understand me. To this day, there are words that are difficult for me to try to express in English, but also in Spanish. My friends all know me and where I'm from, so they help, and the same with my parents who know I'll never be as fluent as they are.
4. Relationships with your relatives may not be that close
Luckily, my family and I were usually always able to spend our winter break with a two week trip to Mexico, City to see all of our family. While my sisters were always ecstatic about seeing our cousins who they grew up with, I always found it a little more challenging to hold those same bonds with them. The reality is that they see me once a year but I didn't grow up around them. So yes, I love my grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles, but they weren't people I could always count on to be there for me while growing up and hitting milestones.
5. Friends are just as important as family
While important lifetime events happened like my sisters graduating high school and college, they only consisted of our immediate family, so my parents and I were the only ones ever there to show them our support. However, what I came to realize is that just because some people aren't blood-related to you, that doesn't mean they aren't your family. My best friend Briana was always a person I have counted on for everything, and my family loves her. So while I don't have my grandparents or cousins here with me to watch me grow up, I was lucky enough to grow up with a group of people who, over the years, have become my family.
6. There will be some people that belittle you because of where you came from
The hardest obstacle to overcome while trying to adapt to this new life wasn't the friends, family or holidays, but the people who constantly wanted you to believe you were inferior. While I've never been a quiet person who lets people walk all over them, I would be lying if I said there weren't times where I wished I were different. In middle school, I would often have voicemails and texts from anonymous numbers saying things like "Stop trying to fit in with us, you aren't the same.", which usually did get in my head for a little bit, but over time I've come to cherish everything about where I'm from.
7.Learning about the stereotype of your country hits you pretty hard
Being raised by my amazing parents who always gave me their all, and supportive sisters, I never knew what some people thought about Mexicans until I had to hear it from my classmates. I always believed that we were just regular people who had to move because of my dad's job, but I had no idea there were people that didn't like my family just because of where we came from. Some people tended to believe we came here to escape horrific circumstances, and in search of a better life. However, the truth is that moving here was not something my parents planned out and wanted to do. Hearing about how people didn't like those from
8. Seeing your parents suffer doesn't get easier
The strongest people I know are my parents. They gave up absolutely everything from friends, family, and even parts of their culture in hopes of giving their kids the best life possible. However, that came with a great cost. There have been times when family members have passed away and they want nothing more than to be with their parents or siblings but have to stay here, thousands of miles away and continue their daily life. The worst part is seeing them struggle and be sad, and not being able to do a single thing to help them.
9. Knowing two languages fluently will only work to your advantage
Something so normal to me is actually something that a lot of people aspire to have, which is being bilingual. Not only will it help you get a better job, but the satisfaction it will give you to help those who can't speak on of the languages is explainable. While in high school I had a job at a restaurant as a hostess, and I cannot begin to tell you how good it felt to be able to assist some families in Spanish who were struggling with their English. Those faces of gratitude are some you will never forget.
10. The bond with your siblings will be unbreakable
Who understands you better than someone going through all of the exact same things? No one. Your siblings will prove to be your biggest supporters, fans, and mentors. Without my two older sisters I don't know where I would be. The oldest sister, Ana, paved the way for me and my sister, Natalia, in regards to middle school, high school, college, our first jobs and so much more. No matter where life takes you, your siblings will always be the people you can count on the most and will understand everything you're going through.
11. Your household will be chaotic and crazy
My parents have always been very outgoing people, and language barriers and accents don't change that. My friends love coming over because my parents are intriguing, and I like to think its because my dad makes the best dad jokes and my mom cooks most of the authentic Mexican food they've ever tried. However, my house can also be painfully entertaining, you will only hear Spanish because my parents refuse to let us forget it, so they make us practice it with them at all times, you will smell the authentic dishes my mom beautifully prepares, and you will see the awkwardly framed pictures of my sisters in a private school uniform in Mexico, to my Texas themed kindergarten photoshoot. Yet, there is no other way I would want it to be.