I Learn Library

A human library inspired by the stories in the film

“Bye, my hijo. we are going to miss you.”

By Jose Carela  |   From : Dominican Republic  |   School : MACS The Bronx

I grew up in the Dominican Republic, a country that is as hot as an atomic bomb explosion. It is the one of the most beautiful countries in Latin America. The language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish. Something interesting about my country is mangú, which is the typical food and drinking coffee. Every time I saw my grandpa he was drinking coffee. I was born May 18, 1999 in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. I lived in Gauley. I liked everything because my family lived in Gualey. I remember playing outside a lot. I played baseball and basketball in the street. I remember my friends speaking Spanish and listening to bachata, and dembow. I miss my friends because they were so crazy when we played and it was funny when we tried to rap. I also remember when yo bajaba la loma encima de un carrito (I was going down the hill on a cart) and I felt very happy. I lived with my mom in Gauley. I liked living with her because my mom was funny. Once she asked me, “Where are you going?” I said, “I am going to the street to play baseball with my friends.” My mom said, “Mira muchacho tu no te cansas de jugar baseball con tu amigos!” I said, “No mami.” For me, this memory is important because my mom always told me what was best for me. She did not want me to be with people who would endanger me.


La preparación

When my dad told me the news that we were coming to United States, I was 15 years old. My emotions were confused. I had never traveled to such a big country but I was happy because I knew it was for a better life. My family prepared nada porque el me dijo que me iba a comprar ropa y tenis (did not prepare anything because my dad told me that I would buy clothes and shoes). When I left I said goodbye to my family, they said, “Bye, my hijo.” My family felt good for me because I was travelling. My friends said, “We are going to miss you.” I felt weird because I was going to miss my family and friends that I grew up with.
El camino

When I left I felt good because fue mi primera vez en un avión (it was my first time in an airplane) and my grandmother was also going to the United States with us. One thing I remember was the bad food on the plane, like Coca-Cola and cheap food. Another thing I remember was that my grandma needed to sign a paper in order to get onto the plane, but the paper it was in English. I still remember this because it was very funny since neither my grandmother nor I understood it. I remember when we were on the plane, my grandma said, “José, este avión está temblando.” I wondered if my dad’s house would be big because he said that life is better in the United States than in Dominican Republic. I have live in the United Stated for two years now. I’m happy that I crossed into the United States because I feel happier than I was in my country.


Entrando una otra tierra

When I first came to the United States, I went to Bronx, New York, on December 2, 2015. It felt so amazing to be in the United States for the first time because I finally got to see snow and it was incredible. The snow was white like clouds and seeing the snow fue genial. I thought about how snow does not fall in my country but in this country there is snow. I realized that the United States must have a different climate. I thought that this country and my country have the same colmado and there were still Dominican people speaking Spanish. My first days in the United States were good because we ate a lot.


Mi nueva vida

The first place I went in the United States was John F. Kennedy airport. I remember that it was very cold and my grandma and I did not have coats. My new home looked nice. There were two rooms and one bathroom. I really liked that there were just five people living there. My new house was smaller than my old home. I felt good because I could play with my brothers in my new home every day. In the Dominican Republic we couldn’t play because they were in the United States. My first day of school was different than others because I did not feel confident around other kids in the United States. I was quiet and I felt weird because I didn’t speak English so I wouldn’t talk in class or at lunch. I was really shy around everyone because I was in a new country where they spoke a different language and I didn’t know how people would feel about me not knowing English. One thing that I liked was playing basketball during lunch, and I remembered how I used to play basketball with my friends in the Dominican Republic. It made me feel better. When you play basketball, you feel reality. You feel like the game is everything for you. That was when I realized I wanted to play basketball professionally.


Oscuridad y luz

I think that everything in my life changed. I feel good because I saw the snow in the United States, which was the most important thing at that time for me to see. I like life here. Something positive is that here it is easier to achieve my dream of being a basketball player. I really like playing basketball. I remember watching Kobe Bryant play against Allen Iverson in the 2001 playoffs. Something negative about moving to the United States is that I miss my mom because she still lives in the Dominican Republic. I came to the United States for a better life. For me and for my family, life in the Dominican Republic was good but here it is easier to find work. People can learn from my story that when you cross into the United States, your life changes. You see new places like Manhattan with tall buildings. Here it is easier to complete your goals. In the United States it is easier to have a job. You can go to college and graduate. In the Dominican Republic, the government controls everything. It is easy to go to university, but you might not have money to pay for it. I came to the United States to have the American Dream. To me, the American Dream means it is easier to have money, jobs, and dreams. I think the American Dream is real because in the United States everyone helps one another. I believe in the American Dream because it will help me achieve my goal of becoming a professional basketball player.

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