Cross-posted at My Ongoing Struggle with Misanthropy

Part I/Part II/Part III

Mojada, Part IV

Reuniting with Dad

After staying with my grandparents for a month in Santa Ana, California we flew to Chicago in April to be with our dad. We arrived at O’Hare airport and when we saw Dad, we were simply ecstatic. I thought, “We are finally here with dad.” It is not an easy transition for someone when they first move from one place to another. Imagine how you have felt when you have moved from one house to another or from living at home to living in a dorm. It’s strange. You are entering a complete new world, new culture, new customs, new everything. My dad had rented an apartment for us to live in. He used to live with my uncle and two other men in a different apartment, but when he found out we were coming he made arrangements so that we could have our own place. It was barely furnished and I remember we had to use buckets as chairs whenever we ate and our dining table was also the center table in the living room. We definitely did not have much but through my dad’s hard work and support from my grandmother our almost empty apartment began to look like home. Then again, I think that us being together was sufficient to call it home.

Many families living under one roof has become a stereotype among Latinos. Housing is an issue that the Latino community struggles with. The interest rates for acquiring a house are at times higher for them so that is why some families opt for living together under one house. Pay is also low for immigrants, so the wages they receive are not enough to keep up with the monthly payments.

Early Education

My dad wasted no time in getting us enrolled in school and helping us reach the American Dream every immigrant comes looking for. Through education my parents wanted a better future for us so school came first. I did not want to go to school because I was afraid and most of all because I did not speak English. I was still in fourth grade when I left Mexico so we were hoping that the school would let me finish the year and not be held back. My mom brought with her my report cards from México and that helped a lot because we were able to prove to the school that I was a good student. However, that was not enough. The school requested that I take a placement exam in Spanish. I did really well and the teachers were quite pleased. My results of those exams were equivalent to the knowledge of a fifth grader.

To be continued…

About the Author

Jimmy Gabacho

Gabacho– according to the Dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy– is derived from an old Provençal word “gavach,” meaning a person from the foothills of the Pyrenees who spoke incorrectly. These days, it means “outsider,” somebody who just doesn’t fit in.

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