I Learn Library

A human library inspired by the stories in the film

At the end of the day, I feel like I never got used to living here.

By Robelsy Tamares  |   From : Bronx, NY  |   School : MACS

Life Changes

The day was almost here; it was time for me to leave Ieta for the last time at home. I still remember the taste of the food I ate that day. I was coming to New York for the first time. I was leaving behind my childhood, where I grew up, family, friends, and, most importantly, my mom. I remember my mom telling me, “No llores. Si lloras me haces llorar.”

Before I said goodbye, I remember her with my five-month-old baby brother in her arms. She was sitting in that old chair at my grandma’s house. My grandmother was already waiting for me because she was
taking me to the airport. I remember it clearly; my mom was wearing shorts and a purple shirt. It was mid-June. I started to say goodbye and the first thing I did was cry. I remember that I went to my home and saw my bedroom all of the stuff that I was leaving behind, like my sisters’ clothes and everything. That is when I started crying. I went down to my grandma’s house and everybody who was there looked at me with their sad faces. I saw my cousins and my two sisters sitting in the gallery. I went inside and said goodbye to some friends that were there. I said goodbye to my family and my mom who was already
crying. I was trying to smile and say, “No llores tu no dizque no ibas a llorar, yo voy a estar bien”

I remember my little sister and cousin were always together. They were playing like nothing new was happening, like they did not know our lives were about to change. They were playing at the front door of my grandmother’s house. They were sitting and, with tears in my eyes, I said to them that I was leaving.
“Ya me voy, Yeimy y Junior.”

My little cousin looked up to me all confused because he saw that I was crying. Everybody was crying, and then he looks at my sister.

“Para donde ella va? Yeimy.”
“Ella va para New York.”
“Y porque ella seba?”
“Yo no se.”

He looked back at me and told me:

“No te vayas, tu no tienes que ir te hermanita tu te puedes quedar aqui,
por favor no te vallas.”

I smiled at him and told him that there was nothing I could do, but one day I was going to be back with them. He could not take the idea that I was going away and that broke my heart.

Every time I look back at that day I always remember him he was too little to understand. His mom tried to convince him that I was coming back, that I was not staying in the United States forever, but he did not care because he did not want me to go at all.

It was hard for me to leave my little cousin. We were very close even though he was only three or four years old. He was like my twin because he did not live with his dad. His dad had another family and my cousin lived with his mom. For me it was the same thing, my dad did, he did not look after me a lot but he When I finally got to the airport, my grandmother took me over to my dad, his two daughters, and some of his family. I was feeling strange already. I was missing home. I did not know them that well except for Wini, one of his daughters who was two years older than me.

It was time to say goodbye to my grandma. I was crying really hard. I could not take the idea that I was leaving. I did not want to leave, but I could not do anything about it I was only 10-years-old and I could not decide for myself.

When I crossed the door, I looked back at my grandma crying. I wanted to run back to her arms and go home with her but it was too late.

When I got to New York it was 11:30 pm and already dark. When we got to the apartment, I liked it a little bit. It was big but still nothing like home. I took a bath and went to sleep. When I went to sleep I started thinking about my family and the time I had to wait to see them again. I thought I was gonna die waiting for all of that time to pass. I had to wait a year to see them again I just could not take it.

That was my first night in New York.

The next morning I went to the supermarket I saw everything was big. I started to feel like an invisible person. I was feeling alone. I was not close to this new family and I was very shy. I did not speak a lot and every time they asked me if I was hungry or if something happened to me I would say no.
I was missing home a lot, especially my little cousin. I used to call my mom and tell her that I wanted to go home that I did not like it here.

After a couple of months, I started going to school. I remember I was nervous the first day. I did not know the language so it was really hard for me. I did not understand anything. I was very shy and I did not speak to anybody in my class. There were five kids who spoke my language.

That same day I met Starlin, Ginangely, Nancy, and Juan. Even now we are still friends. They helped me a lot and thanks to them I got through Middle School.

I met Starlin in my first period class. When I entered the room, he knew I was new and that I did not speak the language. He told me that if I wanted I could sit with him. I smiled and felt a little bit better. He was very funny and tried to make conversation when he saw that I was shy. Gina was in my fourth period class. During fifth period we went down to lunch.

“Solo sigue a la gente para que no te pierdas.”

She was very short with long hair. After lunch she told me,

“Ahora tenemos español. Esta clase te gustara.”

I just smiled back at her and followed.

The second day of school went a little bit better. I had two friends who spoke my language. The only part I did not like was waking up in the morning. After school I would stay in the park with my sister and our new friends. My sister was in seventh grade and I was in sixth grade, so we did not have class together. She had her own friends and I had mine.

During lunch I used to sit with my sister’s friends, but I did not talk to them a lot.

The first month went by and I was getting along with the rules and the school, but I was depressed and I missed my house and my cousins too much. I used to go home and sleep the whole day. I did not want to be
there, talk to this new family, or know anything about what was happening to me. I just could not take it.

My mom used to tell me, “Esfuerzate y estudia que tu estas lejos de mipor tu bien.”
“No yo lo que quiero es irme para aya.”

These first days in New York were the worst. I had to pretend that I was okay. I did not get along with everybody in the house. I was basically invisible to them. I was not the same little girl I used to be in the Dominican Republic. I was changing a lot. I was only 10 and I never again played with a doll. My childhood was basically taken away from me.

At the end of the day, I feel like I never got used to living here. I just learned how to stay alive and deal with things here with a new family that I would never finish knowing. I think that I will never get used to living here unless I am with the people I love. That is my family in the Dominican Republic, because home is not home without a mom and the people you love.


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