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I Am An Immigrant – Voices

“I lost sight of everything that was familiar to me. It was hard staying true to myself because I tried to fit in.”
Cypress Hills, NY
I came from the Dominican Republic when I was thirteen. I came to live with only my dad, my mom stayed in DR. I lost sight of everything that was familiar to me. I had to leave my friends behind, my mom behind, my whole life behind. The moving was brutal, but having my dad made it sort of easier. I moved during my teenage years so it was the time that I needed my mom the most. When it comes to school, I’m a year ahead. I came for my freshmen year in high school, but here I was supposed to be in 8th grade. My dad took me to the department of education with proof that I had finished eighth grade, but they still wouldn’t let me in 9th grade. My dad took me upstate to where my uncle lives and tried to enroll me in the school there, which worked, but the downside of it was that I had to live with my uncle and not with my dad. In the past,I only saw my uncle every couple of years. So I lost my mom, and then I lost my dad too. I lost sense of everything that was familiar to me. Moving was really difficult because you have to start trusting strangers. It feels like nothing really belongs to you because you don’t consider yourself an American yet. School was difficult because I barely spoke English and I was placed in all English classes without a translator. I wouldn’t understand what the teacher was telling the whole class. When I did the homework at home,I used a dictionary to translate everything including my answers. It was five hours of homework. It was hard staying true to myself because I tried to fit in. I tried to change the way I talked and the clothes I wore, but then Iater on, I realized that I had moved to a new place, but it wasn’t a new me.


Source: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr

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