My new life

By Adama Bah  |   From : Guinea  |   School : FACE - French Heritage Language Program


I have always thought that you’ll always live with your parents in life, but as I grew up, I realized that this is not the case. I spend most of my time with my mother rather than my dad. I’ve been with him a few times, but I can say that I know my mom more than I know him. One challenge I faced was being separated from my mother for the first time when I traveled outside the country in which I was raised. For the first time, I became so far from my beloved family. As my mom used to say, “You might know where you can start but you will never know where you will end”.  My dad lived in the United States, so my family decided for me to come to America for a better future. That decision opened a new chapter in my life. 

Leaving my family behind was already a challenge for me but it wasn’t as living without my mother in a foreign country which I knew nothing about. I moved to the United States at the age of 14. Everything was new for me, it felt like restarting my life over again. My first night in the apartment was sorrowful and long.  I remember sitting next to the window and looking at the sky, as I visualized my life before. Wanting to go back to my mom’s arm to give her a hug. I remembered the happy moments we spent together but then I got out of that imaginary world and realized that that’s my life before. Now here I am wondering what my future will be like. How will I adapt to this country? How will I be able to talk and understand people? How long it will take me to speak English? I had so many questions but no one to answer them. On the other hand, I thought about my family and all the people I had left behind, especially my mother. She had gone to school and graduated but sitting there without getting a job she deserved. That is how my country is like. Some so many people have graduated but don’t have jobs.  Thinking about the promises I made to her, to be the bravest girl as hug she always was, studying hard and making her proud of me,  I said to myself that I’m not here for nothing, I need to keep my promises and move forward. 

I got enrolled in school, and on my first day, my heart was pounding so hard as I wondered if any students or teachers spoke French. My first day of school started badly because I got lost, and in just a second everything turned upside down for me. As I walked around figuring out how to get to my school, language became a line for me to cross. There I was crying, wondering what to do, and how to ask for help. I didn’t have a phone to call home and let them know that I’m lost. Everything became so confusing. Then I remembered that I had the school address with me. Every time I met someone, I showed them the address and they would explain to me the way, but all I saw is them moving their mouth. I didn’t understand anything of what they were saying. I continued walking every time I met someone, I asked for help to get to my school. Then I met a wonderful woman who had one boy and a baby,  I showed her the address. She looked at the map and showed me the way, but I was tired, worried, and confused at the same time. When she saw my face she understood that I was lost. Then she took me to school by looking at the map on her phone. While she accompanied me, she asked me many questions, like my name, where am I from, where my parents are. But how can I answer her? The only thing I understood was when she asked me my name. We arrived at my school and I thanked her. I was happy but not because now I was late and thinking that I came where I will have the most difficulties. But teachers and classmates helped me a lot in school. 

Through this experience, I realized that sometimes we need to face obstacles to help us in life and achieve what we want. I could have given up but that wasn’t a choice for me. Asking for help when I needed it, being a hard worker, practicing what I was struggling in, had helped me a lot. School, where I was struggling, had shaped my identity, because I can now speak English, understand, and communicate with people. I have crossed many borders painfully and bravely and will continue to do so as needed. I will work hard to improve my situation and myself so I can give back to my family, make my mom happy, and make a difference in my community.



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