Finding a Benefit

Andres - Bedford, New York
Entered on April 30, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

Whether it’s going through puberty, going to college, getting married, retiring from a job, all people, at some point, go through a big change. Sometimes going through a big change can be kind of frightening, sometimes it’s exciting and sometimes it can even be both! A big change can occur anytime in someone’s life. Mine was at the age of three… As a toddler, obviously I had no idea what this change had in store for me, but I definitely knew I would have to leave many things behind, and that included leaving my country, mi pais, Peru.

I believe that when going through a big change, it is easier if you realize how that change will benefit your life. My family and I moved to United States, in search for many things. My parents wanted to escape from the economic crisis in Peru and they also wanted my siblings and I to have a better education in the U.S.. Generally, what we were looking for was something that all immigrants search for, opportunity – the opportunity to start a better life and to ensure a better future.

America has benefited my life in so many ways. I have already discovered some of my opportunities living in this country. I had the opportunity to start school and learn English. And now that I’m in middle school, I’m learning French, and I can still speak fluent Spanish. Knowing all these languages at home and away from home will definitely be important in my lifetime, but my education, in general, is my real opportunity in the United States. I am very lucky to go to a great public school in America. In Peru, public schools are terrible. Many teachers there are underpaid, and they protest frequently. Some teachers even decide to just stop teaching, leaving classes without their teacher. I am very thankful for the education I have now, but despite all the issues in Peru, such as the education there, it is my home.

Unfortunately, I am unable to go back to South America, because of the circumstances my family and I are currently in… Moving to the U.S. definitely isn’t as easy to do anymore. Many immigrants from Central and South America get deported, meaning they get kicked out of the nation, usually with less of a chance of returning back to the country. Although my family and I cannot get deported, life for us is still a little more difficult than it should be. Obtaining residency in the U.S. can take years, especially for an entire family. My family and I have been living here for ten years, and we still lack our residency. Without residency or even citizenship, my parents are unable to vote in elections, and it is very difficult for them to find similar jobs that they had in Peru. Also, my family and I cannot leave the country. Not even the closest national borders that lead to Canada and Mexico…

I know that I must be patient to obtain my residency and then my citizenship, but I also feel like my opportunity in this country is being taken away from me. I don’t have the opportunity to go back to Peru. I can’t say my parents have voted in an election, and perhaps when I turn eighteen, I won’t have the opportunity to vote myself. Also, I didn’t’ mention this before, but it will be difficult for me to go to a good college because many colleges require students to have citizenship. I never knew that the U.S. would put so many restrictions on my life, but my beliefs are what remind me to overcome these obstacles.

My last belief is to always avoid fearing your future. However, when it comes to this belief, I am sometimes hypocritical because I do fear my future once in a while. I fear that my lack of opportunity will get in the way of my pursuit of happiness, such as not going to the college I want to go to just because I am not a citizen. I fear the economic crisis in this country, and the more that could follow. I fear the global environmental issues and a world like in the movie, “The Day After Tomorrow.” I fear many things that may lie in the future

But something that I do now is that my world can’t end in a single day. Despite all my problems, I am living to realize that I have more than enough time to resolve them. If I was destined a terrible future than let it be that way. I do know that death is in everyone’s future, but all at different times. Death is my end. My beginning is my dreams. And “I’ll dream like I’ll live forever, and live like I’ll die tomorrow.”