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I Learn Library

A human library inspired by the stories in the film

My first year in United States.

By Medina Anyel  |   From : Kansas City  |   School : Shawnee Mission North High School

My first year in United States.

I was barely 15 when a big surprise came to my life. My life started to change radically at this time as a Cuban girl fighting to obtain my dreams in the United States. The big surprise started on November 20 when I came to the U.S. and started this new life that I know now.

One of the most important experiences to me was the first time in my new school. That first day by 10:00 am I arrived to the school to see if they accepted me and to be enrolled. They asked if I wanted stay there to get to know the school, and I said YES! So I stayed with my half sister during lunch time, and she gave me some of her food. Then came a friend of hers wondering who I was, and I said I don’t speak English. I spent the lunch there where everyone spoke English, and I did not understand anything because I only know How to say: Hello or How are you? When the school day ended, I went to eat my first chicken quesadilla while waiting to go to my sister’s home. I did not know at first whether to eat it or not, but I did and it was delicious!

The next day was Thanksgiving with all the family. It was nice because it was my first time celebrating a holiday in the United States. It was a very beautiful day that I am sure to remember forever. The day of my first Christmas in my new home was also memorable. On Christmas morning I went to the market for things that were missing for dinner. At night we danced and had fun. Hours later, I received many gifts for my first American Christmas.

January arrived and I started school. The first days went very well, but the days were passing, and I felt confused in my classes because they started assigning me loads of homework. I did not know what I was going to do, and one of those homework assignments was about theology which I had never studied in my life. I felt very stressed because I would go to bed late finishing all these assignments, and I did not have time for anything and much less to study in home some English. With the passing of the months and days, I felt very sad because that school they did not teach me ELL classes. I did not learn anything, and it was very difficult. In fact every day I suffered a lot for what happened with my life. I went to bed crying on a daily basis because of all the agony I felt. In that school no one helped me, and I struggled to learn alone. My sister and mom every day told me to study. They explained: it does not matter that you do not understand so much; if you fall, you get up again and continue on, if you do you will achieve it. They told me that because they know what it feels like to not understand. But I started listening carefully to everything they said and I got stuck doing a lot. The school ended and vacations started, but I continued to study so that the next school year I will be more prepared. But apart from studying, I also enjoy and have fun.

When school started again in August, I changed to a school where they were going to teach me English for those who do not know, and now I am here and I feel very happy because in such a short time I have learned what I did not learn in an entire year in the other school. Changing schools an incredible decision which has given me many opportunities. Finally, I can say that this year for me and my family was an experience that I am never going to forget because so many goods arose in my life with school, but I feel glad and surprised for all that I was able to achieve. My experiences during this first year in the United States have taught me many lessons, but in particular: “If you do not fight today, don’t cry tomorrow”.

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