The Decision that changed my Life
Hilda Loza

         When I was six years old, I was living with my mom and my father in Guadalajara Mexico. However, one year later my father died in an automobile accident, so my mom and I had to move to a small town near Guadalajara, where my grandparents were living. There my mom had to work in a factory as a seamstress, where she received very low pay. One day when I was eight years old, she told me, “Hilda I have to go to the USA, but I have to leave you with your grandparents because I don’t know anyone there.” When she told me that, I was very sad. Than she left, and nine years later she came back to Mexico and asked me, “Do you want to come with me to the USA?” At that time I was very confused because I wanted to stay with my grandparents, who were very important too, but I needed to make a decision. Finally, I told her “Yes, I want to go with you,” but I felt my heart break because for me my grandparents were my parents. Leaving Mexico to come to the USA was the most difficult decision that I have ever made, and it changed my life in two ways.        

         One of the most positive changes due to my decision to come to California was that I had the opportunity to have a better standard of living here California than I had in Mexico. For instance, one of the things that I could do when I came here was to find a job in which I could feel productive and feel satisfied with myself. One of my first jobs was in a department store, where I put clothes on hangers. It wasn’t a great job, but I liked it because I used to get along with my co-workers. Furthermore, I remember when I got my first paycheck, I was so happy because it was the first time that I had earned what seemed like a lot of money by myself, so one of the first things I did was to send money to my grandparents in Mexico. I also bought a pair of shoes and a set of clothes with the rest of the money. Even though I lived in an apartment, I had a room to myself, which seemed incredible to me. At that time, I was seventeen years old. However, the possibility of going to school wasn’t in my plans because I felt like an adult, so going to school seemed boring to me. However, after working for five months, I got bored with my repetitive job. After that, I started to think that I was having the kind of life that I wanted to have, but I was dissatisfied because I was in a rut. I realized that I was still young enough to do other productive things, like go to school.

         Deciding to go to school and learn English turned out to be a very positive change for me. When I was a child I always dreamed of learning a new language, but it seemed impossible to achieve. Furthermore, one of the things that I did when I came here after I had been working for several months was to register in a high school because I was still young enough. I enrolled in Willow Glen High School. There they put me in the tenth grade, and there I learned to speak and write my first words in English. I also learned the importance of school because a person who attends high school has more opportunities to succeed in life than those who don’t. However, it was harder for me than I had imagined because most of the time I didn’t understand any English, and the teachers expected me to know how to write paragraphs. The next year was easier for me, but it was still hard because it was a higher level than before, and most of the classes were in English. During my senior year, one of my goals was to go to college and prepare for a career; however, some of my classmates had told me that going to college was too expensive. Also, they told me that sometimes students don’t qualify for financial aid. Even tough I might not  be eligible for that, I knew that I could get a scholarship, but I needed to work harder to succeed in my studies to get one. Finally I got my high school diploma, which was very meaningful for me and for my mom, too. After high school I was very lucky because I was able to continue with my studies. I enrolled in San Jose City College, and I’m still coming because I want to improve my English. Also, I want to reach my career goal of becoming a nurse.

         In conclusion, leaving my country changed my life in very positive ways. Mainly, I have achieved a better living standard and am getting a higher education. I have learned that when you leave your native country for better opportunities, the experience is not always what you might have expected, and you will find many barriers in your way. However, you can overcome them with effort and determination and by having a positive attitude in order to achieve your goals.