Cross-Posted at My Ongoing Struggle with Misanthropy

Part I/Part II/Part III/Part IV

Mojada, part V

By Angie Sánchez (via Jimmy Gabacho)

My first day of school was nerve wrecking. It only got worse when I boarded the bus. My dad was with me at the bus stop and he showed the bus driver the bus pass and I proceeded to board the bus. The bus driver told where to seat but I couldn’t understand her so I sat on the wrong seat. So, I’m standing in the middle of the aisle staring at her trying to figure out what she was telling me and finally she gets up and points to the seat she wanted me in. She did it in a very rude manner. As a mater of fact I remember what she said to me now that I know English and she said something along the lines of me being stupid. So I think to myself and say “Umm, no, I was not stupid, I just didn’t speak English!” She kept telling me where to sit and finally she got up from her seat and pointed to where she wanted me to seat. I felt so stupid and embarrassed because everyone was looking at me and probably thinking how stupid I was or that poor girl doesn’t speak English.

Once we arrived at school I went to my assigned classroom. I walked in and I felt so small. All the kids were staring me, maybe it was because I was wearing a dress that most girls would not wear, a dress with ruffles and it looked like something a 3 year old would wear. After attendance was taken in my homeroom I left to the ESL classroom. When I got there I felt safe. I was finally around people I could communicate with and a teacher that would understand me as well. The two months I was at that elementary school were fine once I learned my way around. The hard part was writing. My bilingual teachers wanted me to write in cursive, but that was the only thing I had not learned in México. Students there do not learn cursive until they reach the sixth grade. So the teachers got a bit frustrated at times with me because of that, but other than that they loved me as student.

Slowly but surely I began to learn English and I felt so proud. In México I would always pretend with my cousin that we spoke English so now that I was learning it I was excited. Although I knew a few things I was still very shy when ever I spoke anything. One of the reasons was because one day when I went to the grocery store with my dad and I tried to speak English I wasn’t too good. We were in line paying for the groceries when my dad realized he had forgotten something so he told me to wait in line and that he was going to run and get it. He took a little than expected and the cashier asked me if he was coming back or what it was that he went back for. I don’t quite remember, plus I didn’t understand her. So I said to her, “You don’t speak English” but what I was trying to say was, “I don’t speak English”. She looked at me and laughed and she made a comment to the bag boy and then they laughed at me. I looked at them wondering why they were laughing. On our way home I told my dad what happened and he told me what I said. We laughed about it but I still felt embarrassed.

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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