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I Learn Library

A human library inspired by the stories in the film

My Mistakes and Misfortunes

By Anthony  |   From : Colombia  |   School : Everglades High School

 My mother’s family arrived in the United States from Colombia in the mid 80’s. My mom gave birth to my big sister at 22, two months before her due date. It was a miracle that either of them survived labor. The baby’s father left the picture, and my mom was left to raise the baby with my grandma, my aunt, and two uncles.

 My father came to the country years later, in the late 90’s, by plane from Cuba. By now, my mother’s family left Los Angeles to live in Miami Gardens. After just a year, he met my mom at a dance club and they began a serious relationship. My sister, 11, took a liking to him, and even called him “Dad.” My aunt gave birth to my cousin around this time. I was born on November 2, 2000.

 My immediate family became good friends with the Santos/Gomez family. My best friend’s mother was my godmother, and mine, his. I remember being devastated when they moved to Georgia when I was in kindergarten, but we followed suit just a year later. He was my only friend, and I was happy to leave Florida behind. We settled in the small town of Locust Grove, with a population of just 5,000. We lived on the same col-de-sac and made friends with all the other kids on the street. We played kickball, made snowmen together on the rare occasion that it snowed, we shared food on christmas, we sat around the lit fireplace and told stories. Everybody knew everybody else, and I never got less than an A in all five years of elementary school. I started middle school, and made some of my best friends there. I couldn’t handle all the work in middle school, and my grades started to drop. I got my first C.

  My sister later found out she was pregnant, and this was when my life took a turn for the worse.  My madrina and my mother had a falling out and my sister presented us with an ultimatum that ultimately led my parents to decide to move back to Florida.

Moving meant I had to leave those early winter mornings where the grass and the rooftops were covered in frost, those friends that I knew so well at the bus stop, everyone at my school that I knew by name. I had to leave the open fields of grass, the forest in our backyards where my friends and I would have adventures, the creek in that forest where our dads built a bridge. The games of kickball on the col-de-sac on the weekends when we had nothing better to do, the crisp halloweens we spent together riding around in the back of a pickup truck, trick or treating around the sparsely placed houses, and, even though I hated it at the time, I had to leave behind the sunday mass we had at St. James Catholic church, when we would dress up in our best clothes and I would pretend to pray even though I was so bored. I even miss that. We built imaginary clubhouses in the woods, we camped in tents in each other’s backyards, I even lost my glasses in the river behind the church just cause I wanted to explore, and because I could. Leaving to Florida, I knew, meant the end of my childhood. My sister moved to Florida ahead of us. I was 12.  

 The rest of seventh grade I spent in Florida was one of the hardest times in my life. I remember my cousin’s middle school was dirty and ugly, and the people were strange and unfriendly. It was always cloudy at that school.

    We found an affordable apartment in Weston, and this remedied things a little bit. Tequesta Trace was admittedly better than my cousin’s middle school, and I even made some great friends in art class. We talked about all sorts of things, and they never failed to make me laugh. 8th grade went off without a hitch, but my friends were taken away from me yet again when I started high school. At Cypress, everyone was rich and attractive and altogether better than I was.

I made a few friends, and the second half of freshman year was relatively pleasant, though my grades were the worst they had ever been, as I had become thoroughly unconcerned with solving 30 algebra problems and filling out graphic organizers. Just when I was beginning to feel better though, and as Weston became too expensive, we moved back in with my grandma and I went to yet another school. My cousin’s high school was just as unpleasant as the middle school. The people there were the same as in her middle school, and I was prepared to move from my grandma’s occupied house to a nice apartment in Miramar. I started attendance at Everglades High School junior year. I was nervous, and it was still only a little bit better than my last school, but I was well equipped to make friends and be happy again.

 I never had the opportunity spend enough time  to get completely comfortable with a school and its people until now. Having spent a year and a half at Everglades, I feel I’ve made a sizeable network of good friends, and I have plans for the future to leave this state once and for all. After battling with social anxiety all my life, I got a job at with a bunch of cool people that forces me to interact with many people, and I think I’m in the last leg of the race to getting completely over it. I find myself excited for the future for the first time and I hope I’ll have more of the experiences that are part of human growth that were taken from me when I moved here.

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