The path he left for me

By Mauricio Bedregal  |   From : Oakland Park, FL  |   School : Northeast High school

My name is Mauricio, I am Puerto Rican as well as Peruvian. I was born in Florida however my mother is from Puerto Rico and my father is from Peru. My mother was legal to come to the United States. When I was born I lived in Fort Lauderdale were my first language was English and I never learned much Spanish in my household.


As I grew up throughout the years the biggest struggle was communicating with my parents. Especially my father, while my mom learned English rather quickly from school but my dad was much different. He would spend time around the Spanish kids and not learn any of what he was taught and so he struggles even to this day. I have gotten much better at learning my native language but I am still ashamed to this day that I am not fluent with it. I have not gotten to know and bond with my relatives as result of this as I know they are more interesting than I can anticipate. Many people believe that learning a language is easy with a book or a class but it isn’t that easy. That is a method for normal people and I am not normal.


My father is a lot more important in this sense being that he had to work hard to make a living in the U.S. As a kid he lived with ten siblings with four other families in a small building in the middle of Lima. They would play soccer and roam around like the kids they were. As a young adult he was sent to the country alone from Peru and had three jobs to work everyday. He cleaned, worked alongside electronics and learned about air conditioner repair which would eventually come up to be the job he has now. He studied hard and excessively to exceed his peers in school. When he met my mom during school his life got better. More and more of his family started coming from Peru to Florida and soon nearly all his siblings and parents had arrived. By this time he was now engaged with my mother and soon had my sister Mitaly. My father pulled a lot off to make this family possible and it could’ve been all washed away if my father hadn’t met my mom in the little school they went to.


I myself was granted an easy life because of the two of them and I couldn’t be more thankful for it. I may never know what life was like in old Peru but my dad knew and he was a trooper for living through it and making it to what his parents called a “better land.” However it came to a surprise for me that I would be returning to the land where it all began for him. I had been in Lima before but as a 4 year old trinket with no sense of memory or right in me. This would be different however, I would be old enough to appreciate all that was going to be bestowed upon me. I had taken a small journal with me so I could write some entries and make sketches of things that peaked my interest and by god did this place have things that could give the grand nations of Europe a run for its money. The landscape, architecture, culture, music, food and occasions were all so sublime I was overwhelmed. Each day of that vacation was a story in and of itself with one day being a massive holy parade with extreme excitement and extreme cold, the next would be a long drive through the suburbs riding in a bus that is viable for 30 people stuffed with 50 and driven by kids my own age. I could go on and on talking about each encounter but the one that I remember the most was when my father took me to his arcane childhood home.

What used be building that held four families including my own dads was now a rumbled up shell of its former self between two hotels. I can remember it exactly as when I encountered it. Blue paint, no roof, long wooden planks scattered around the ground and walls from what seemed to be left of the roofing. Little rooms, about 6 to 8 with small wooden doors that I was too small to pass through without crouching. All of them dark and empty with silhouettes of old toys and beds, paintings and utensils. It felt like a horror movie or rather walking through a home that had been torn by war itself. Some doors were impossible to open because of broken debris blocking its way. My dad found his old room and he stared straight into the darkness of it. What I considered a dramatic scene of memoir he considered it sad and emotional. But no matter what happened in that moment he let no one see no tears and by god he did not shed one. It was for me at least, the most powerful moment between me and him. Standing beside each other and looking at his very history before our feet.


My father represents something far deeper and more important that not many could imagine. I am but a reflection of what he had built upon to become.


Today, I have gotten a lot better with my father in communication and understanding the fullest of the culture of my family. But soon I hope that throughout my life I will continue to learn just how important my heritage really is and will be just like my parents in how they were when they came here.

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