Dominican Republic: a country which I’ve learned to love throughout the early years of my life, and that now, I don’t get the opportunity to enjoy it a little bit longer. Everything was going okay for me, I was in the middle of my senior year in high school, my friends and I had finally made a reservation for this humongous party back in the beach–which by the way, the tickets are hard to get–and my family was having a great time with each other after years of discomfort. Yes, everything seemed fine, until two days before Christmas. I was on my way to the balcony, when my mom called me into her room. As I walked in, I saw a haunted look in her face, making me feel nervous, anxious even. “Sit,” my mother said in an impatient voice, and I did as she told me. “You are leaving the country,” I heard her say, and I know she was saying something else because I saw her mouth moving, but no words came into my ears. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. “When?” I asked, cutting out any other words that might have come out of her lips, “In two hours.”
I remembered burying my face in my hands and crying. I’d never been a strong girl, even though I always portrayed this tough girl appearance–which is easy because I have a tall and intimidating body–I’ve always had the soul of a little girl. I cried because of everything I left behind, because of my family, knowing my mom couldn’t come with me because of paper problems and with her, my two baby brothers would have to stay, when was I going to see them again? Even though I’m an United States citizen, I’ve been living in the D.R since I was a little girl. All my friends were there. My entire life was based in that country. I’ve been studying in the same school since I was five years old, and now, in the middle of my senior year, I was supposed to leave it all behind? I wanted to scream, to throw things, but I didn’t. I wanted my mom to have a positive lasting image of us together. With tears rolling down my face, I asked, “Why now? Why did you wait two hours before the flight to tell me?” She was wiping tears from her face when she answered, “Because I didn’t want you to feel upset, depressed or sad. I wanted you to have the last days here as you would like to have them, as if nothing had happened. I didn’t want you to cry over nothing, and besides, I wanted you strong, like you always are.” Another lie, I thought, but it didn’t matter now. Nothing did. The thing that really impressed me was the time that my mom chooses to tell me. I’ve always known I had to leave some day, but the fact that she told me two hours before the flight, and in the middle of my senior year, made me want to pick up a fight with her, but it will be useless, and besides, I love my mom. She did what she thought was right and I had to support her and keep strong, because that’s what everyone expects from me.
The hardest thing for me was saying goodbye to two of my best friends, I couldn’t exactly go to them, and so, I called them. When they answered, I told them the news. They already knew; of course, my mom told them and not me, but that didn’t keep them from crying. I didn’t though, I had to keep being strong, not only for them but for me too. By the end of the call I was devastated, but I refused to cry. I told them not to worry, that maybe one day, I’ll get to see them again, and that it doesn’t matter how far I am, I’m always going to be near them. Packing up was easy, I’d never been a girl that carries too many things, and my mom had already prepared a bag for me with presents and souvenirs that she wanted me to give away once I got to the U.S. I put a few of my favorite clothes in the bag, a couple of t-shirts, some pants and shoes, and left the house that held so many memories, and that I knew I was going to miss more than anything.
On my way to the airport, I felt the warm air of December, blowing my black short hair straight into my face. I also saw the trees, with the most beautiful green leaves I’d ever seen in my life, dancing with the breeze. The sun was in its highest point giving me a slight sheen of sweat; some bluebirds, shrikes, and siskin birds were riding the sky, drifting through the wind, singing the happy melody of all days. Then in the airport, when I’m about to jump in the plane, I said goodbye to my mom and hugged her, knowing that it might be a long time before I see her again.
Once I got to the United States, to the state of North Carolina, I knew nothing would be the same for me. Outside, I crossed my arms around me, shielding my body from the freezing air. My uncle and my brother, who already had five years living here, took my luggage and put them in the car, and on my way to settle down to my uncle’s house, I saw how lifeless this place was. The trees were dead. They had no leaves on them,they were all dried and scary looking. There were black crows that seemed locked in the gray sky, circulating the car as if it was that part of a scary movie where the birds follow you and you know something bad is going to happen. The buildings were sort of terrifying for me, not that we didn’t have any back in D.R, but I wasn’t able to see them everywhere like I did here. With their tall and intimidating image, I was really scared. Something about this place was wrong and I knew it, what? I didn’t know, but I knew that from now on, I had to prepare myself for the things that were about to come: new language, new people, new places, and to be honest, I wasn’t ready. For the first time in my life, I was afraid of a new beginning.