I Learn Library

A human library inspired by the stories in the film

Always have a smile on your face

By Luis Flores  |   From : Mexico  |   School : Glades Central High School (FL)

Hello my name is Luis Flores. I am a Mexican, and I am 19 years old. Today I will tell you a small part of my story.


January 15, 2015 was when I decided to come to this country.  The reason I decided to come is because I could not stand being in Mexico.  I felt very impatient.  There was a lot of insecurity where I lived. The city I lived in is called Iguala, and it is in the state of Guerrero. The police were corrupt, and, in my opinion, they did not do the job that they were supposed to do, which is to take care of citizens.  Another reason why I decided to come to this country was because I had not seen my mom for 8 years. It was sad not to be with her, and my days in Mexico became increasingly sad because I felt lonelier every day. My dad worked so much that he did not spend much time with me, and he also lived in another house. I lived with my grandmother, cousins, and aunts. To be honest, if I were still living in Mexico, my life would be a disaster, because, after finishing middle school, I did not continue studying.  I spent all my time in the streets with my friends always driving a motorcycle that I had.  I had some accidents on the motorcycle, but the injuries were not serious enough to make me stop driving.  I reached a point where I did not give much importance to life. I was always asking myself why I existed.


Anyway my trip to this country was not easy, because, unlike some people, I did not have papers, and I had to arrive by an illegal route. On my journey, I spent a night in an abandoned house without a roof, and it was so cold that for a moment I felt as if I were freezing.  I was regretting what I was doing, but after that night some people came to pick me up.  The coyote took, my aunt, two other people and me to an apartment in Texas. I spent almost a month in that apartment, and we were not allowed to go outside.  After that we traveled in a truck to Florida, and I was happy, because I was going to see my mom after a long time without being with her.  The first time I saw her, the first thing I did was give her a hug and that was one of the happiest days of my life.


Time passed but not everything was happiness.  In December 2015 I had an excruciating pain in my left leg; I spent several days with the pain.  I literally could not walk, because the pain was so unbearable that I shed tears. Twice I went to the hospital, but they said that I did not have any broken bones or anything like that.  They gave me medicines to calm the pain, but that was not enough.  The third time I was almost crying at Palms West Hospital.  It was the night of December 23 and I had spent the night there. The doctor did studies and found something strange in my blood.  On December 24, in the morning, I remember when I woke up I saw doctors around me.  They were transferring me by helicopter to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. I remember it was a very cold morning.  After a few hours my mom arrived.  The doctors did not want to tell me anything if my mom was not there, and she allowed them to give me the news. The doctors and my mom were there with me, and suddenly there was a moment of silence.  The doctor told me, “I’m sorry you have a disease called Chronic Leukemia – Cancer.” That was one of the worse moments that marked my life. I saw my mom crying, and in seconds I was also crying.  I was unable to sleep for days, wondering what would become of my life.  My thoughts were negative, because I felt that I would die, and I still could not walk. I could not feel my leg, and that was another thing that had me very worried.  I saw my mom so sad, and that made me sad too. But then we made a deal.  The deal was to not be sad and to try to overcome things.  I looked for strength to not be sad anymore. I was in the hospital for two weeks, and then I felt my leg again.  Little by little I felt better, and I am very grateful to God and to the doctors who helped me and who continue to help me become better. After almost a month, I received the news that I would return to my house. I was very happy, because I could not stand being in the hospital anymore. During that time in the hospital, I learned to value life and people.  One person is my mom who was with me throughout that month; I also appreciate my classmates, because somehow they supported me and gave me encouragement when I needed it.  My teachers also supported me and encouraged me. Now I am taking medication that are needed to keep me alive.  Even though all of these things happened to me, I proposed something to myself.  That is to be happy and enjoy the little things that life gives us. Some people see me and say that I do not look like I have cancer; maybe that’s because I’ve learned enough and I have people who love me and make me cheerful and happy. Anyway, thank you very much for listening my story and never forget to value the things that you have. Always have a smile on your face.


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