Thursday, November 4, 2010

"My First Car in America" by Eduardo Cisneros

I want to call this composition,"My first Car in America". To my fellow friends of the City College of San Francisco, I want you to know, I am Eduardo Cisneros. First, I want to tell you that this is my third composition to be published on "The New Mission Journal of San Francisco". I have already written two other ones. I hope that you will enjoy this one, too. The first story I wrote was called, "How a Little Poor Kid Helped His Mother" to raise his brothers and sisters. I called the second one, "The Childhood of Eddy Cisneros", and the third I will call "My First Car in America." This time, I want to write about something that can happen to anybody who comes to "America"for the first time. First, we go to see and have fun at many places in San Francisco, such as Ocean Beach, Fisherman's Wharf, Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Chinatown, the Zoo of San Francisco, the Bay Bridge, and so on. These places make you excited, and you'll never forget them as long as you live. Besides these places, also in your mind is something you remember about first coming to the United States, and this is what you're going to hear about.

With an empty pocket, with no money, and wearing somebody else's clothes who lent them to you, these are embarrassing moments. This was how our life in this country began. We came here because we wanted good work opportunities. Of course, in some places our choices don't matter. You naturally will work wherever you find work first. This was how it happened with me in the beginning, when I couldn't speak English at all. My priority at that time was to get a job, no matter how or what. Secondly, I had to find a place to live. I say that because mostly a new immigrant has to live first in the house of somebody else like your mother's house, your brother's house, your sister's house or a shelter. Nothing is more important for us than to find our own place, so that you can do whatever you want to do according to your own lifestyle. I remember when I lived in my older sister's apartment, where she didn't have place for me. I had to sleep on the sofa in the living room for months. Also she felt she had to do something for me like my mom: prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sometimes, on the weekends, I went to my girlfriend's house too. She and her sister helped me to look for a job, and my brother-in-law took time to show me the city by bus and train, because some day I would have to do it by myself. I needed to learn all of this, because otherwise I would have to put up with my sister and brother treating me like a child, and that was really the most embarrassing time in my life, because I considered myself a grown up.

But enough of that! Let's go back and continue the most important part of this composition. It happened when I was working for several months in a restaurant called "Little Mama's" in North Beach. I worked there for many months. I did two kinds of jobs, one in the morning doing dishes and the other in evening, cleaning the restaurant as janitor. I did this job for months in that place and later on they transferred me to their other restaurant which was in downtown San Francisco. That is how I bought my first car, because I was working hard to save some money, and to find something I could use to go to work. At that time they paid me a low salary: the minimum wage, and that was the reason I had to work hard in two jobs. But no matter. When you have a family to support too with kids, you need to work two jobs. It's okay because sometime or other in everyone's life is tough, isn't it?

Ford Fairlane, 1957
But I guess I've been talking too much? But to start I'm going to be honest and tell you guys, I used to have another car in my country that I bought many years before. I was 26 years old. It was a Ford Fairlane, 4 doors, 6 cylinders, black, 5 passenger seats and the interior was red color. That car was very nice. The body was made of steel. The bumpers were strong too. It looked like that car was never going to die easily. It was a car made to last forever. Many people liked to preserve that kind of car. They kept it cleaned and later on they converted these cars into collectible cars and sold them for a lot of money. But also I don't want to forget how I got the money to buy that car. In that time where was living in my country, Peru, when we didn't have the chance to get good job, where a place doesn't exist to work and so you can't dream about getting a good salary and they couldn't pay a good salary. They are rich but they don't pay us enough money to buy something good and useful, neither a bicycle nor a motorcycle. In the early 80's when I was a handsome young man, I was working for a company where they made packaged products, food for pets. My job was as salesman, I had to go to the stores, markets and many places to sell the product. They paid me a good salary and good commissions too. That was when I learned to save money. It's good to have money saved because one day you'll need it, as when I bought my first car in my country, Peru.

About 20 years later, when I was living and working in San Francisco, I decided to buy a car. I was a little confused, because I wasn't sure where I was going to park the car once I bought it. But I needed the car to go to work. I was looking in the newspaper and magazines and I didn't find anything. I was looking for a car similar or the same as the car I used to have in my country, and finally my brother-in-law found a cheap car but it had mechanical problems. That didn't bother me because I had personal knowledge about the machinery of old cars.

For me, it was an interesting car because it was a 1967 Red Mustang. It had 2 doors, a very nice black interior, and it hadn't been driven too much. It didn't have many miles on it, and it looked fine to me. The problem was, it had a broken a piston. Now you may say this guy is crazy or stupid to buy this car. He's going to buy a car with a broken piston? No way! But I did buy it because I know a lot about the mechanics of it and because I love sports cars. I learned how to be a mechanic when I lived in Venezuela. There I was a mechanic's helper and I learned how to fix clutches, brakes, points, spark plugs, and how to repair old cars. I know it's going to be a piece of cake for me to fix, but another problem was that car had stick shift. Its transmission wasn't automatic at that time. I didn't know much about how to drive that kind of car. The car cost almost 800.00 bucks. We took it home, but I didn't drive, my brother-in-law drove it.

I guess the price wasn't too much for me. It was affordable at that time for my pocket, no problem. But what I didn't realize was that I was going to enjoy this car for many years of my life. 800 bucks. A 67 Mustang at that price was rare and that car give me a lot of satisfaction in my life. One day, I went to San Diego. I was in Hollywood. I experienced the beaches of California, but mostly I enjoyed the time we went to Nevada City to visit my old friends when they lived there. We went to Reno's Casinos, Lake Tahoe, and many Native American Casinos, and Sacramento too. This car, I tell you, I have a lot of fun with it, and I'm never going to forget it I until I die.

My friends and neighbors also liked my car very much, and they liked to watch me when I was fixing my car in the street or washing it, or polishing it. I was doing many things with the car, and they wanted always to know what I was doing. Why were they so curious? But anyway, this car I still have, I haven't sold it yet. There are a few days left in its life. I guess I will put it up for sale one of these days. When I've driven my old car, some people ask me when I'm going to sell it. I say not yet, but one day maybe. It happens every single day, on the street of some places or many places, I get asked, "Hey, what year is your Mustang? 67 right? It's very nice. I like it." Can you believe it happens every single day? Can't you believe it?

Monday, October 25, 2010

"My Dog" by Maria Magdalena Rocha

When my daughter was a little girl, she would draw 3 people and a dog. She would always ask me and my husband if she could have a dog. so one of my nephews called my husband to tell him that he had a dog and was going to give it to my daughter as a present. My nephew gave her the dog as a surprise 4 1/2 years ago. She was very happy to see the dog.

At first, I was not happy because I didn't want a mess in the living room or in the kitchen, but then I got used to the dog and I'm happy now that I have a dog. The dog's name is Chealsy. Chealsy tries to make me happy by getting her toy ball and tossing me the ball with her nose. Sometimes when I don't pay attention to her, she keeps on bothering me until I pet her or play with her. When I used to be depressed, she would look at me and cheer me up. Also she would do funny stuff that would make me laugh. I'm glad I met this dog. Now my life changes when she is around. I take a lot of pictures of her because she is so adorable. Now Chealsy is always with us. Even on the weekend when we go places, she comes with us in the car. She likes the car, and she is just happy when she goes outside or gets a ride in the car. We spend a lot of money on her food, treats, biscuits, toys, and medicine. We sometimes cut her hair and give her a hair cut.

"When I Came to The U.S." by Rosa M. Franco

Berkeley Law School
I was born in El Salvador.

I came to the United States a long time ago. Since I came to this country, I haven’t had time to come to school. When I came here the most important thing was getting a job, which was really hard to find. I remember the first place that I was looking for a job was at a restaurant. When I went to the restaurant and asked for a job, the answer was, "Are you a resident?” when I said "No", they asked, “Do you know how to speak English?” When I said "No", they said "We are looking for someone who speaks English and also has immigration papers."

But I continued looking for job, and after four months, I got a job in a restaurant. The salary was too low, but I worked there for many years. When my children were born, I decided to change my schedule to work at night time because I wanted to take care my three beautiful sons and also I wanted to take them to school. I always explained to my sons that they had to study hard to be accepted in a good university, and they did. They worked hard and got good grades and they were accepted to U.C. Berkeley. Now my older son is a lawyer, and my second boy became an Engineer in computer science, and also my younger boy is studying at Berkeley Law School to become a lawyer too. So it was very hard for me when I came to this country, but now a feel happy that my sons are successful.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"My Life in America" by Maria Morales

"Mother and Child" Pablo Picasso, 1921

My name is Maria Morales. I came to the United States with my family more than 20 years ago. When I came here, my oldest son was 2 and half years old, and my second son was 5 months old. At first, like many people, I lived with my relatives while my husband looked for a job. It was difficult for him to find a job because his English was not good. When he applied, the person who interviewed him said he needed to speak English fluently to work in the job he wanted. At first he had to work in a small liquor store at night and study English in the day time.

Sometimes I worked too in a small word processing company for a few months making tax forms. After almost one year of studying English and working in different areas, he found a job a City College of San Francisco as a Computer Analyst. I stayed at home to take care of the house and children. When my second child was in preschool, I tought I was ready to go back to work but became surprised that I was pregnant for a third time, and my dream of working disappeared again. My last pregnancy was very difficult because the whole time I was very sick and almost lost my daughter. She was born at 6 and a half months, weighing 3 pounds.

She had to stay in the hospital for almost 3 months, I visited her every day and then picked up my sons at school and go home. When the doctor released her, she was okay to go outside the hospital. I took care of her in my home. She grew up healthy and nobody thought she was premature.

After that, I continued to take care of my children and waited for them to grow up. My daughter and her second oldest brother graduated from College and my oldest son is finishing next year. After my second son finished his master degree, he got married and now has two sons. He is happy with his family.

Now I have time to go back to school to study English because in this country we need to communicate with other people and learn different things. Speaking English has helped me learn how to bake cakes, knit hand crafts and more. I look back on those years and I think they were difficult, but worth it. Staying at home to dedicate myself to take care of my children was the hardest but the most rewarding job I could ever have.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Snow in Denver
Beginning 1956 in Guatemala City, Central America, I believe one year after I got married, I celebrated the arrival of a beautiful baby girl, my wife and I named Miriam Elizabeth. At that time, I was working very hard, many hours a day, but the salary I was earning was not enough to keep up with the needs of the household. My best friend, Sal Ayala, and I had been friends since we were 12 years old, but he had left Guatemala two years earlier. He was lucky in this country. He always tried to encourage me to come to the United States, but I was always afraid to come to this country without speaking any English. At that time, he was bilingual and helped me with Spanish and English communication. He went to school for a few years and had a career in real estate.

Sal used to return to Guatemala every six months for business in a different car, selling it and returning by plane. He used to visit me and try to convince me to come to the United States, so I decided finally to pack my things and sell some of my belongings. It was hard for my wife to let me go, but she took a big chance and let me leave. People in my city thought that I would leave her forever. However, it certainly was not like that.

My trip was not very happy because there was not one English word in my vocabulary, and no communication with the people. I arrived in New Orleans in December. Another friend was waiting for me and let me stay at his house. The next day, I started my trip from New Orleans to Denver, Colorado. I did not know this trip would take about three days and two nights. Something that really surprised me was the discrimination against people from Mexico and Central America. Every time we stopped to eat, we had to go to a different restaurant, and we had to ride in the back of the bus.

I also had a little problem getting something to eat. My English was bad, and I could only order coffee and apple pie, so for three days, I couldn’t eat much. Now I am committed to helping the friends I have.

When I arrived in Denver, to my surprise the address I had was my friend's place of work. It was one of the luckiest days of my life because my friend was working that day. I went inside, and he was surprised to see me, and even more surprised to see me talking with my hands and arm signals. He gave me his apartment keys, and the taxi took me there.

In Denver I started to work as a dishwasher at night. It snowed day and night, and I had never seen snow in my life. Four months later three friends and I decided to go to San Francisco.
The week I arrived here, I started to work at American Poultry Company, where I worked forty years. Two years after I left my country my wife and daughter, Miriam, arrived in San Francisco, and Juliet and Mike Junior were born three years later.

They are all married now, and we have four grand kids; Angela, Jasmine, Javier and Math. Mike Jr. is an engineer in electronics with the U.S. Army, Airborne Division. Miriam graduated several years ago from S.F. State University in chemistry and biology and is now working at Summit Hospital in Oakland; and Juliet is a bookkeeper in a big company in San Francisco. My goals have been achieved, and I thank God for all the help He has always given me.

I am retired now. My plans for the future are to continue doing what I am doing at the moment; coming to school and studying computers, English, and computer repair and to have a diploma from City College of San Francisco. I have been trying to write a column in one of Guatemala's news papers together with my niece, and I feel competent to go into commercial business in computer repair. There is a lot of competition, and I have been trying to install some memory in my computer, but I think the memory card I have is not compatible with my PC.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"My First Day In San Francisco" by Irene Clark

I would like to tell you about the first day I arrived in the United States. I was happy and sad at the same time, happy because I was going to know the U.S. and sad because I was leaving my family and very nervous because it was my first time flying in an airplane. Oh my God, I got so sick throwing up all the time, I didn't eat anything on the plane, and when I saw the people's food and smelled it, I felt worse. In the airplane, the people were speaking only English and I didn't have any idea of what they were saying, but when I heard the flight attendant say "San Francisco" and saw the people standing up and getting in line to leave the airplane, I did too. I was one of the last ones to leave the airplane, and I didn't know where the people went. I started walking and asked anyone I found in the hallway. "San Francisco" was all I said and no one answered me. I kept walking and stopping people and saying "San Francisco." I continued walking and I ended up in the parking lot, then I came back inside.

I was shaking and almost ready to cry, I don't know how I found the counter, but all the counters were empty. I was very tired and my tears started coming out. I didn't know what to do and the airport looked so immense to me. I needed to go to the bathroom, but I didn't know where to go, and I was also afraid. Suddenly I saw a man open a door on one of the walls behind the counter. I ran to him and said "San Francisco." He looked at me, but didn't say anything. Then, he grabbed my hand and picked up a phone. He started to talk, but I didn't know what he was saying. Then he hung up the phone and pulled me inside the door from where I saw him coming out. I saw a hall way. We walked for a little while and then we went inside an elevator. We left the elevator and went inside another door. We walked a little bit until we arrived at the front of an airplane door. A lady was standing there. I was shaking all over, and I felt my heart pounding so hard it was as if it was coming out of my chest.

The lady brought me to a seat and buckled my seat belt. Finally, I got to San Francisco and what a surprise. I looked all over trying to find my family but nobody was waiting for me because I was on another plane after I had missed the one I was on. I heard two men saying they were going to pick up their luggage, so I followed them and in a few minutes we were at the baggage claim but mine wasn't there. I saw a man with a baggage cart and he looked Spanish to me and I told him I didn't find my luggage and he asked me where I was coming from. After I told him, he brought me to an office, and there was my luggage. It was just a small suitcase, so I could carry it myself.

I went outside and stood on the sidewalk. It was a little cold, but I kept standing there, I don’t know for how long. Then, a man drove up in a yellow car, stopped, and said, “taxi”. I only looked at him because I was afraid. Then, he said, “Taxi, Senora?” I opened my eyes so wide with surprise because when I heard him say “senora,” I thought he spoke Spanish, but he didn’t. He asked me where I was going, and I made a motion with my head to him. Then, he said, “Casa?” and I moved my head again toward my dress pocket where I had the address written on a piece of paper. I gave it to him, and he grabbed my suitcase and motioned with his hand indicating I should follow him. He opened the door for me and put the suitcase in the trunk of the car.

It seemed as though he drove for a long time, and I was afraid because I didn’t know him, and I thought maybe he was going to take me to another place or even kill me. But after some time, he stopped and said, “Here.” I saw on the door, 3062, and I said, thank God I am home. He then said, “money.” But I didn’t do anything, so he showed me a dollar bill. I gave him the only 20 dollars I had and he gave me change. He left the cab, opened the door. I got out, and gave me my suitcase. He then drove off.

I started to walk up the stairs. I knocked on the door, but no one answered. Then, I saw the door bell, so I pushed the button. The light in the house came on and I heard someone say, “Don’t open the door. It might be a thief.” So, they didn’t open the door for me. So, I sat down on the stairs and cried. It was very cold, and then it started drizzling, then it started raining a little harder. I was so cold and very afraid on the street. I went up again and knocked on the door very hard. They turned on the light again and came to the door. The lady had a lamp in her hand, and she looked through the little glass window on the door, staring at me, and then she said, “It’s Irene.” After that, they ran to the door and opened it. I was crying. I went inside the house, and they gave me a towel and then they gave me a cup of warm milk. We all went to bed. The next day, we talked about the whole thing and they realized they had forgotten that I was coming that day.

Teacher's Comment: This is a wonderful story. It is humorous, honest, and terrifying at the same time. It is a very good example of what it must feel like to be a stranger in this very strange land. This story reminds me of the work of a great German short story writer and novelist, Franz Kafka. Here is an excerpt from Kafka's novel, "The Trial". How is this story of Kafka's similar to Irene Clark's? How is it different?

Before The Law - Franz Kafka:

Before the law sits a gatekeeper. To this gatekeeper comes a man from the country who asks to gain entry into the law. But the gatekeeper says that he cannot grant him entry at the moment. The man thinks about it and then asks if he will be allowed to come in later on. “It is possible,” says the gatekeeper, “but not now.” At the moment the gate to the law stands open, as always, and the gatekeeper walks to the side, so the man bends over in order to see through the gate into the inside. When the gatekeeper notices that, he laughs and says: “If it tempts you so much, try it in spite of my prohibition. But take note: I am powerful. And I am only the most lowly gatekeeper. But from room to room stand gatekeepers, each more powerful than the other. I can’t endure even one glimpse of the third.” The man from the country has not expected such difficulties: the law should always be accessible for everyone, he thinks, but as he now looks more closely at the gatekeeper in his fur coat, at his large pointed nose and his long, thin, black Tartar’s beard, he decides that it would be better to wait until he gets permission to go inside. The gatekeeper gives him a stool and allows him to sit down at the side in front of the gate. There he sits for days and years. He makes many attempts to be let in, and he wears the gatekeeper out with his requests. The gatekeeper often interrogates him briefly, questioning him about his homeland and many other things, but they are indifferent questions, the kind great men put, and at the end he always tells him once more that he cannot let him inside yet. The man, who has equipped himself with many things for his journey, spends everything, no matter how valuable, to win over the gatekeeper. The latter takes it all but, as he does so, says, “I am taking this only so that you do not think you have failed to do anything.” During the many years the man observes the gatekeeper almost continuously. He forgets the other gatekeepers, and this one seems to him the only obstacle for entry into the law. He curses the unlucky circumstance, in the first years thoughtlessly and out loud, later, as he grows old, he still mumbles to himself. He becomes childish and, since in the long years studying the gatekeeper he has come to know the fleas in his fur collar, he even asks the fleas to help him persuade the gatekeeper. Finally his eyesight grows weak, and he does not know whether things are really darker around him or whether his eyes are merely deceiving him. But he recognizes now in the darkness an illumination which breaks inextinguishably out of the gateway to the law. Now he no longer has much time to live. Before his death he gathers in his head all his experiences of the entire time up into one question which he has not yet put to the gatekeeper. He waves to him, since he can no longer lift up his stiffening body. The gatekeeper has to bend way down to him, for the great difference has changed things to the disadvantage of the man. “What do you still want to know, then?” asks the gatekeeper. “You are insatiable.” “Everyone strives after the law,” says the man, “so how is that in these many years no one except me has requested entry?” The gatekeeper sees that the man is already dying and, in order to reach his diminishing sense of hearing, he shouts at him, “Here no one else can gain entry, since this entrance was assigned only to you. I’m going now to close it.”

Saturday, June 5, 2010

"The Nightwalker's Real Missing Ring Case" by Rima King

On Sunday evening at 8:00 pm, I decided to take a bath. Before that, I took off all my jewelry and placed it on the desk where I usually put it every night. After I had taken my bath, I dried myself, then put my pajamas on. I studied while I was waiting for my husband to come home at 12:00 pm.

When he came home, he said "Hi" to me, then he went to the bathroom. Then, he sat down on his chair and he turned on the computer and checked his email to make him relaxed. At 1:00 pm he came to bed. We talked a little bit about how it was at work. Well, he said, it was a busy night and also stressful. We were in a continuous conversation until we slept. We are just such night owls.

At 8:00 am my alarm rang. It was time to wake up. I got up from bed, and turned the alarm off. I went to the bathroom, then walked to the kitchen and boiled water for the tea. After I made a cup of tea, I brought it to my desk near the jewelry. I was extremely surprised that my real wedding ring was missing, and his ring was set in place of my missing ring.

I asked him, "Look...look..what is happening? Why is your ring here and why also is my ring not here?" He answered, "I didn't do anything. Remember, last night we went to bed late." It was 9:00 am, and I hadn't taken a shower yet. So I took a shower and got ready for school. He repeated again, "Trust me, I didn't do it." I answered, "I know you don't wear your ring very often, and it's always in your desk drawer."

I was ready to go to school. "Okay," he said, "I'll drive you to school." We walked out the door to the car and rode to the front of Mission Campus without conversation. I got out of the car and thanked him for the ride. He left. After school, I walked home. At home I sat down and wondered, "What happened in this house?" He suddenly came home, he told me, he had been looking everywhere for my ring, but he hadn't found it.

I actually wasn't furious about my missing ring, but I was curious why his ring was on my desk in place of mine. He asked me to go to the jewelry store so he could buy me a new one, but that wasn't the same. Then, I accidentally felt my ring in my backpack pocket. I checked it right away. Yes, it was my ring! But who moved these things around? That's the first time this has happened in my life! It hadn't happened before.

I'm very lucky because before this real problem happened, I went to Mr. Robinson's computer lab Room 325. At that time I didn't use the computer. I just sat down on the chair front of the desk. I did my home work. I finished it. I was still fussing around his desk. He has many different copies of the stories for students to read. I saw the story "Nightwalkers". I grabbed one. It's interesting. I'm thankful to him because this story made me realize what had happened about my ring and it calmed me down. Until today my husband doesn't realize that he was a nightwalker that night.

Dear reader. Thank you for reading my true story and have fun.

Friday, June 4, 2010

"My Special Friend" by Maria Borja

I want you to tell you a funny and cute story that happened to me and my family 15 years ago. One Christmas day, December 30th, 1994 to be exact, my brother and I were outside of our house washing my mother's car. Suddenly we saw a small dog in the neighborhood. He saw us too, and started to wag his tail. He was a small, white dog with curly hair. We thought that he was lost because his hair was dirty. Then my brother told me we could give him some food, and that's what we did, we gave him the spaghetti that we had been eating for lunch. When the little dog smelled it, he ate it quickly. "Poor dog!" I said.

I ran into my house to tell my mother what was happening, and she was very angry because she didn't want any pets in the house because of the hair they left, and the food, and the trouble it would take to give them what they want and the medicines when they are sick. In other words, my mother said that we didn't have enough time or resources to take care of him.

My brother and I started to plead with her: "Please, please, please, we promise you that both of us will take care of him." We spent a lot of time telling my mom that we wanted that dog. She said, "Ask the neighbors who the dog's owner is. If he doesn't have one, you can take him." My brother and I ran to ask everybody and nobody knew the little puppy. We were very happy about that and we adopted him. We took him to the doctor, I prepared a bath, I bought medicines, his bed, his coat, and everything he could need. The doctor calculated his age at 1 year. He was a baby!!! And he was very healthy, according to the doctor!!! The watchman of my neighborhood told us that somebody had left him near my house. That person wanted to get rid of the dog and just did it. Good for us!!!

Over the years, we've seen that he is a good dog. If he wants to pee, he knocks on the door. His behavior is very nice. His name is Niño;, and my mother loves him. Now he is 16 years old, well, everybody in my house loves him. I do especially because he is my baby. I sleep with him, I take care of him. Now, because he has aged, he has started to feel bad. His stomach is not very good. He's started to go blind, and he has already lost all his teeth so that he can only eat soft food and water.

When I was planning to come here, I was thinking of Niño because I didn't know how much time he was going to live. I will return to my country in a few months, and I hope that he will be okay. I will buy some presents for him.

Everyday I write to my mother and ask about everyone in my family, including Niño, because he is one of my family. She said that he is very good. Sometimes he spends the time only sleeping, and wakes up to eat and then goes back to sleep. Sometimes he feels sick. I am very lucky because my mother is taking care of him like I do. For these and many reasons I love the movie MARLEY AND ME, it is about a dog's life, and everything that happens in that movie I have lived through myself with my Niño. When Niño dies, I don't want any other dog, because he is the only one for me.
That Christmas was one of the most special in my life.

I LOVE and miss you, Niño, PLEASE NEVER DIE !!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"My Childhood Memory," by Rosie Romero

One of my childhood memories is when I was almost three years old. At that time, I was the fifth member in our family and the only toddler around. I remember that my Dad used to play poker at my godfather's house every afternoon. He would always take me, but when I would fall asleep, he would take me home. But, one day, I fell asleep earlier than usual and my Dad didn't take me, and so he left me at home. But when I didn't find him, I decided to go look for him at my godfather's house. I was half way there when I got lost in the middle of some coffee trees. I remember I tried to cross a fallen tree, and I fell on my forehead. Suddenly, I couldn't see anything, only dark spots.

When I woke up, I was home surrounded by a crowd of people, all of the ones that had been looking for me. I hadn't told anyone where I was going. This didn't make me give up. From then on, I would look for my Dad wherever he went.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

"Loving Science and My Family" by Flor Monteza

I was born in Lima, Peru. I had a family with 3 brothers and no sisters. I studied in a religious school with nuns and excellent teachers. What a wonderful time I had with friends who were like my sisters! I have happy memories of my school time. My father was a biochemist, and his life was always very busy at work, and my mother was a school teacher. So I was strongly influenced to pursue a college career like them.

My decision to chose a carreer was made naturally. I feel a strong love for Biology. So I studied at the University (UNA) for four and a half years until I graduated in Microbiology. It is fascinating to know about microorganisms like viruses that surrounded us. I worked at the laboratory of the University for some years.

Definitely love changed my destiny. I got married and moved to San Francisco in 1991. I formed my nice family with four children and an adorable husband who I met in the university where I had graduated.

Now my life is to be a housewife and a teacher. I give my knowledge and love of Science to my daughter and three sons. And now my daughter is thinking of being a geneticist.

And all of them like science and math. What a wonderful surprise! I believe that the Knowledge and love for Science can be extended to the future generations.

"When I Was Twelve" by Margarita Parodi

When I was 12 years old, I remember one day, my whole family and I went to the beach, and we played volley ball on the sand and the ball fell on the head of one person who was sitting near where we were so everybody started laughing, but at the same time we felt sorry about it.

After we played for a long time, we started eating some food that we brought from home, and we drank water, ate watermelon, apples, oranges and for dessert, we ate ice cream, that we bought from the people who sold food on the beach.

We had a good time and we went back in the afternoon, tired but very happy about the nice day. I've never forgotten the time when I was young. For me it was a memory that I have always cherished.

In those years when you are younger, you live more happily because you aren't worried about anything. Your childhood is different. You have everything. But after you're 18 years old, and you become more independent, you have to study and work to survive and help your parents if they are poor, and if they always need something.

I always helped them when they were alive, but they passed away a long time ago. But always they are in my heart, I can never forget them.

This is my story, and I don't have anything else to write.

"I Don't Wanna Stop Fighting" by Jorge Sandoval

It was May 22nd. I was working at my job at T.G.I Friday when this guy asked me if I was interested in being a fighter. I asked him if I would get paid for it, and he told me that if I was good, I was gonna get paid in about a year. That sounded great, so I took the chance, and now I'm almost gonna get paid and then I can give my wife and son a better life, the kind of life that everyone wants. Plus, in probably 2 more years I'll become a cop because that's what I want to be: a police officer or a sheriff. But I think I need more writing lessons. What do you think?

I'm sure soon, with God's help, I'm gonna make my dreams come true.

Let's talk about me back in Nicaragua, now. I was one of the best kids at my school but i don't know why the other kids wanted always to fight with me. Maybe because the prettiest girls in the school all liked me or maybe because I was the best good looking kid in the whole school. Hey, I'm not just kidding, I was one of the best good looking kids in the whole school! lol!

When I came to the United States, I was really happy. I thought, wooooow, now I'm living the dream! But I didn't know to live the real good life you had to work your *** for. But you know that if you work hard for things that you want you'll appreciate more those things. That's why I fight and study to get those things I want to give to my family you need money for. I know they don't want me to fight anymore but I just don't wanna stop fighting.

Let me tell you why I don't wanna stop fighting. First it takes all my stress out of my body, and second, when you get inside the cage, it is just something I cannot explain, but it feel good when it is done. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a angry person. I just do it for my family and partly for me and thirdly for the money!! (lol)

Well, another thing I miss are my grandparents back in Nicaragua. I really regret when I was giving them a lot of trouble. Now that I don't see them, I see what they gave me. They gave me love, and I can't wait to see them again to repay them.

Let me tell you something about my son. He's the best thing to ever happen to me. Now I know why I came to the United States, to create my beautiful son and meet the most beautiful woman in the whole world, my wife.

"Yosemite Park, A Magical Experience" by Joanna Hidalgo

I heard that this park had something that other places don't have. Something that you can imagine. A friend of mine who is a very good photographer was showing me some pictures that she took there. People were referring to Yosemite Park, saying it was a special place to visit and spend time, take pictures, and even to spend the night there.

They told me that grizzly bears live there. So... I was looking at the pictures, and I could see how beautiful it was. My friend told me that she spent the night over there in order to take the best pictures she could. It was a very important moment for her. It was one of the best opportunities to have the best shots ever.

She provided all the necessary advice, how to spend the night and not get frozen, keep warm, and have enough comfort, and of course
avoid getting hungry. She said that you can't bring too much food, especially smelly food with you, or you can attract the presence of the grizzly bear.

I learned that the grizzly bear is becoming more and more intelligent so he actually has learned to open doors, cabins, tents, and even some bags. If he can't open them, he just rips them, so you have to be really smart.

My boyfriend, Roque, wanted to bring me there very much so one day, when we were in Fresno, he started to go straight to Yosemite Park. From Fresno it took one hour and a half to get there. It was 3:30 pm at that time.

He started to drive as fast as he could, without exceeding the speed limit. By that time we were already tired after almost 3 hours of driving from San Francisco to Fresno that same morning. But he insisted so hard that I couldn't say no. And there we were driving as soon as we could to get there before the sun went down. It was winter, when the night came out at 5 o'clock, and everything fell into the darkness.

We kept driving. I was like a bear falling sleep just with the first lights of the night, but he kept driving.

We arrived at one of the many doors of the park at 4:30. And from there we still needed to get closer into this huge place. He kept driving, it was so cold. I started to set up my camera, and I remember perfectly: I have the moment in my mind clearly like a movie. After that, we crossed a long tunnel and I could see spectacular, colorful, brilliant, amazing images of these huge, gigantic mountains that take out your breath.

I can't find the right words to describe the scene, but I can tell that you can feel thankful to be there, and appreciate this gorgeous scenery that became almost like an spiritual experience. I feel so lucky to have been there. Thank you "Madre Naturaleza" to give us just a wonderful scenery. Let's please take care of our planet.

"Cecilia" by Cecilia Pelayo

Cecilia was born and grew up in Chihuahua, a city in the North of Mexico. She had an older brother already, and six more sisters and brothers later. She went to kindergarten when she was 4 years old. She liked singing. When she went to elementary school, she learned something about music, achieving the ability to play the mandolin and the accordion in the "estudiantina" (musical group). At that time she had a guitar at home because her father used to play and sing as a hobby. She tried to play the guitar since then. However, she still doesn't know too much about it.

She went to High School without any specific goals in mind. She had matured on things of life so early. Suddenly she began to dream on become an Agricultural Engineer, to work the land and help the world with natural meals, but the University was far away and her father wasn't be able to pay for it, even though education in Mexico is less expensive than in the U.S. Faced these circumstances, she had the opportunity to get a degree even though it wasn't exactly what she had planned for.

She got the Bachelor's degree on Industrial Chemical Engineering in 1985. She worked as a production supervisor in a parent Company of the Westinghouse of the U.S.A., in Chihuahua.

Other of her dreams was to get married and have kids. So she got the first of those, but a little bit late, in 1995. Has her biological clock stopped? We really don't know because her husband didn't want to have babies.

She's lived in the U.S. for quite some time. She's worked and lived among people who only speak Spanish, and she's studied English when she hasn't been working. She's been struggling with her new language, and she hopes she'll be able to speak English very well before she dies, at least!

"My Childhood in Ecuador" by Angela M. Kabatznick

I spent the greatest part of my childhood with my grand mother. It was a "home sweet home," where all the family had a profound respect for her. She was surrounded by love, care, and help. In other words, she was treated as a queen. I remember she liked to spend time sitting on her rocking chair, looking through the window at the nice garden, flowers, and people going by. My aunt and uncles taught us how to give her love and respect. The first thing we had to do as soon as we got home, was to go and see Grandma, say hello, and kiss her. Because she was sitting on her chair, we almost had to go in our knees to greet her and give her a kiss on her forehead. She was a very nice lady. She never had to work. When Grandpa passed away, her children took care of her. These wonderful memories have been with me since I was a child. In her home I learned good manners, respect, love and the warm feeling of a beautiful family home.

The area around my grandmother's home was a nice residential place years ago. The houses were chalets with large gardens: flowers, trees, and pure clean air. I do remember listening to the birds and frogs singing or making cluck, cluck, sounds asking for water. We knew so well that they were calling for rain. Yes indeed, usually we did have rain. However, in time, the city and population grew, and all of this neighborhood has changed into a developed business sector.

The small houses, changed into apartment buildings. The gardens became stores, discotechs, hotels, restaurants, night clubs. The area became a very touristic place that is called " La Mariscal". The city where I come from is Quito, the capital of Ecuador, a small country in South America. We are between Colombia and Peru. Though we are a small country, we have the privilege of being recognized as having a rich and varied landscape full of butterflies, birds, and one of the largest varieties of orchards and medicinal plants. Our jungles have bananas caocoa, coffee, and our tropics thrive with fruit, vegetables and the most fabulous and beautiful roses and flowers. All of this abundance is exported. There is a saying: "Any seed that is dropped on our soil will grow." We are fortunate to have all these natural privileges from our mother earth.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"My Story" by Asenaida Escober

My name is Asenaida Escober. I was born in Honduras, and I grew up in a small urban town that was beautiful with fresh weather and a lot of pine trees. My ancestors settled down and established the town. My last name is the last name of most of the people of the town. The small town just has a big school, and two or three preschools, a middle and high school, a health center with three nurses and a doctor, a park and town hall, and recreation center. I remember playing with my relatives and friends in the evening. They were great moments. I have six siblings, and I am the oldest of them. When I had to move to the capital, at first I was scared but later I felt comfortable and enjoyed the city. There, I lived in my uncle's house. I went to the University National Autonomy of Honduras and I studied nursing there. After that, I got a job. A few years later, I decided to come to The United Stated of America, and I ended up in San Francisco. I have a daughter three years old. I leave her on the day care so that I can come to school to improve my English. Every day I spend time reading children's books, such as "Little Toot", and take care of my daughter. She loves the books. She is good at solving puzzles. She likes to listen to music and to dance. She is very smart. I would like to speak clearly and correct my mistakes, but it is taking a lot of time for me. I wish some day my dream will come true and I will feel confident in my ability to speak English.

"My Childhood" by Eduardo Cisneros

Hello, my Friends, this time I want to write something about my real life and something also of my country, Peru. First, I want to take you back to the early 1800s. Then, the Spanish brought a lot of African Slaves to Peru. It was at the time Peru was fighting for Independence also. Peru finally got its independence in 1821.

Peru is a beautiful place and if I'm not mistaken, it is the only country in the World has the the Andes mountain range, The Amazon River and jungle, and beautiful Coast, with 1300 miles of very nice beaches to the North, and the same size coastline to the South. It is a big Country, but it doesn't have enough population. We are almost 40 million of mix raced Peruvians that live in Peru: White: 30%, Natives: 50%, Black:15%, Chinese and Japanese 2% each. Also we have small populations of Italians, Jews, Germans, and well the list goes on. I guess I've been talking too much about my country. I do so because I love it.

I was born in a Village a 100 Miles away from the Capital, Lima. The name of this place is Cañete. It is a big Village with a large black population. The region has older villages, too, named San Luis, San Vicente, Luna Uana, and Asia. The Spanish brought the slaves to live in the Port of Chincha near Cañete, about 50 Miles a way. But some of the slaves came to Cañete to look for work. It was the time when in that place, Cañete was a vast land of sugar cane and cotton plantations. To do that job, the plantation owners needed a lot of big and strong men, and this is the reason why they obtained black slaves. You can't imagine how difficult this work was. They had to get up at 4 am in morning and come back home at 6 pm. The people doing this job only had machetes. I don't know how they did it. They had to eat something while they were working. I really don't know how they survived the hardships of this exploitation and abuse. It was at that time when nobody got paid for work, or benefits, or health care.

I also I want tell you about my childhood. I was born in that place, but I didn't live there because my parents brought me to Lima. Cañete for me is a place I'm never going to forget. I love that place because there are large valleys, nice Mountains, very nice clean rivers, large acreage full of vegetation all around. The weather is like Paradise. Most the 12 months of the year is Sunshine. The beach is not to far, and you can go walking on it.

Now I'm going to tell you the sad part of this story. In 1900 my great grandfather, whose name was Manuel Cisneros, bought his family to Cañete. Unfortunately, he was a racist. He was a white man, the owner of a lot cotton plantations and he had a nice place to live. My mother says he never had any relationships with the black people. He was never interested in knowing about the black people. No one knew where my great grandfather came from. It's possible he was from Chile, but no one knows for sure. My great grandfather was from a big family, too. There were eight children. But the the big problem was the fact that he was always angry and never could agree that anyone but a white woman would marry his son.

My mother told me she only met my great grandfather when she saw him in the cotton plantations, riding his horse, overseeing the labor of his workers. She recalled his horse had a lot of silver metal decorations, and he wore nice clothes, and a big hat. She said it looked like everything was expensive.

My mother was hard worker too. At a very young age of 16, she started working on the plantation. She got up at 6 am, and went to pick cotton in the field. It was a very hard job because at that time the cotton companies didn't pay salaries for a day's work. They paid only by weight like 60 pounds or 80 pounds. It depended how many sacks you could load that day. She remembered at that time nobody gave the workers adequate equipment to deal with dangerous dried bunches of the cotton plant such as gloves, masks, or clothes to cover the body to avoid scratches on her arms and face. My mother fell in love on her job with my father. My father at that time worked as the driver of tractors. They met and got married very young, when she was 17 years old. They had 8 kids.

My grandfather was an educated person. He went to the university and graduated as teacher of general studies. He taught primary and secondary school. He worked for the Government in Cañete, and also when he was on vacation, he went with his horses and mules to different places in the Sierra to exchange groceries with the people that live there, like rice, sugar, noodles, and beans. He brought back cheese, dried meet, dried fish, and many things they had in the Sierra.

My grandfather was a very different man. He was a lovely man and everybody liked him, but he died very early when he was 60 years old. At that time I had just been born. Well my friends, I guess I've been talking too much. To finish this conversation, I want to tell you guys, that my great grandfather since he figured out that his all sons would marry black woman, he decided to move with his wife to the place he come from. That was a time when Peru didn't have roads or cars and everything had to move by horse. I guess my grandfather and his brothers married black women because they weren't any other women to choose in that village. Well, that's it for now. Adios, my friends, or as they say around here, Hasta La Vista, Baby.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"My Autobiography" by Jonathan Quiroz

It happened last year while I was in Ecuador before coming to the US. It was a beautiful afternoon around noon, and I was expecting a call from DHL Express Mail Service. I was at home when suddenly the phone rang and guess what? It was DHL Mail Service calling me to go pick up my package. I was surprised because I was expecting the call, but I did not know that it was going to be so fast. I went to pick up my package, and I noticed that it was my visa which had been approved. By the time I picked up my packaged visa, I had already known that I was going to come to the US, and I was sad, but at the same time happy, because I was going to have a new life.

It was really a challenge for me because I had never traveled to any other country before. Actually, I had never traveled by plane. After that, I told all my friends and family about my trip, and everybody was happy and they said "You have to take the plunge, don't miss the opportunity." So I came on May 20th, 2009. When I arrived in San Francisco, I realized that this city was for me! But one of the most difficult things was that I did not know how to speak English. My parents told me that I did not have to worry about that, I just had to go to school and learn it, and that's what I did.

Now I feel thankful for that advice. After a few months I got a job. I had never worked before when I went to work by first time. I was afraid of doing something wrong, but none of that happened because there were friendly people who explained to me what to do among other things. I worked as a server at pier 9 in a boat which gave cruises around the bay. It was really good experience. I learned a lot there, such as how to treat people and be helpful to them. We stopped working when the company notified us that it was going to be out of business. I only worked one month there, but anyway it was a good experience. Now, I feel good and thankful for my last job and school. I thank them that I have learned a lot of new words, acquired some experience and how to speak better than before. I have already set my long and short-term goals which I know that I'm going to accomplish.

"An Unexpected Situation" by Pedro De Avila

Lately I been through a situation I had never expected. I got news from someone I hadn't seen in many years, 20 years to be exact. This person that I hadn't heard from happens to be my wife. This sounds kind of strange or crazy, even for me, but it's the way it is. When I was young and had this relationship, I was very young, and I think I didn't know exactly what I wanted at that moment. Maybe it was immature, but it doesn't mean I wasn't in love with the person I was going out with. Listening to her brought me a lot of good memories and took me to the city where I was living when I was 15 years old. She made me remember the good times we had together, and of course the crazy thing that we did, getting married.

I don't regret it, but I also know it wasn't the smartest thing to do. But it's done and there is nothing we can do to change it. She told me she was surprised the moment we first communicated, and so was I. You don't get in touch with your wife after 20 years everyday, that's what I said to myself. Since we first get back in touch we've been having a friendly and a good communication. Sometimes we talk in a way that makes me feel we still have something in common.

To be honest I'm kind of happy knowing about her after all this time. It seems like she is happy and that makes me happy in one way. Relationship sometimes marks the life of people in a good or bad way, and fills us up with experiences that will make us choose what we want or don't want in our lives. In my case meeting the person I've been writing about gave me a beautiful moment and experience that has elevated my life. I thank her for all we gotten in this point of our lives and also for the chance we had getting in touch and talking to each other. I wish someday I could talk to her in person and get to know her new life, her dreams, and all she is up to.

Friday, April 23, 2010

"How a Little Poor Kid Helped His Mom," by Eduardo Cisneros

My name is Eddy Cisneros. I was born and raised in Lima, Peru. I want to call this story "How a Little Poor Kid Helped His Mother." I helped my mother both to survive and to raise my younger brothers. We were at that time 8 kids. This is the story of the life of one kid: where he grew and was raised in a neighborhood mostly populated by rich people. These rich people had big houses with big gardens and terraces and patios. Others lived in apartment buildings of 8 or 10 floors. That place was called "Miraflores" in Lima Peru. Miraflores is a place near the beach, where one can see the ocean from everywhere. It has very nice gardens, nice play grounds, and nice protective walls enclosing side walks, so that people can't be exposed to danger. My home was very close to the big Tennis Club with a lot of tennis courts surrounded by stands for the audiences so they could watch the most interesting games. And of course they had a pool, and indoor soccer courts. This place was reserved only for those people who could afford to pay for expensive memberships. I remember, when the people played tennis, they wore nice white uniforms, but I don't want to forget talking about one of my favorite and best tennis players at that time.

His name was "Alejandro Olmedo". He is still alive. He's 74 years old. "Alex" was a former tennis player from Peru, who was ranked as the top amateur player in the world in 1959. Although born and raised in Peru, he graduated with a business degree from the University of California. Alex represented the U.S in 1958 the Davis Cup in 1959, winning in both singles and doubles, achieving 2 of the 3 points required to win the cup. Even though he was not a U.S.citizen, he was technically eligible to represent the U.S. in the Davis Cup because he had lived in the country for a least five years and the U.S. was his country of citizenship.

Peru did not have a Davis Cup team at that time. Well, I guess I have been talking too much, but I can't "hold my horses" when I begin talking about my people, especially when they reach The Hall of the Fame. I really get very emotional when I remember.

Getting back to myself and the reality of my life, I only want to talk about my childhood and I don't want to mix it up with other stories. I was born in a village one hundred miles south of Lima, one hour driving, not too far away. When my parents decided to come to the city, I was just one year old. They moved because they wanted to give better lives to their children, and have better opportunities to get good jobs. They wanted us to have the chance to go to good colleges to study. And, of course, they desired to live in a good community with friends and a nice social life. They didn't think the life would be too hard to for us, however they were mistaken. Because we were very poor and everything was so expensive all around for us, we didn't have resources to survive in that place. I remember that in order to buy our groceries, we had to go to far away to get to the outdoor market where food was cheapest. That place was two miles away, and when we came back, we had to carry our bags on our shoulders. We only had one income, our father's. There was no one to help him. I don't know why our relatives weren't concerned about us. The other place we came from, we always had something to eat because my grandfather had animals and a big house and a lot of land. well anyway we lived in Lima in a big old house that had been abandoned. A couple of families lived there rent free!

I remember when my older brother Jose got up very early in the morning, when the sun wasn't shining. It was dark, about Four AM. He didn't make any noise and sometimes he didn't eat any breakfast. He just went to work at the Tennis Club which is what he did at that time. He was only 13 or 14 years old. He helped other adults to prepare the field of the tennis court for the day's activities. He worked four hours in the morning and later he went to the school from 8:00 am to 3:00pm, because at that time, he was in the first grade of secondary school, but he took on the responsibility just like a father to help my mother and bring some money home. He worked very hard. He went early to work because the tennis courts had to be ready for the members who played with their trainers or their friends to have a good time.

Let's continue the story. I guess I'm talking too much. I'm sorry, but like I told you guys at the beginning, I have a lot of stories, and this is one of them "too
loooong", right?

My brother Jose was a successful student, very intelligent, and a smart guy, the best in the class room. He sometimes worked on Sundays, picking up the balls, too. Or when there was a holiday, he stayed at home running errands for the kids of rich people. Well he did many things to make money and give it to my mother and never ask for anything or argue about it.

What a great guy he was! The example of my brother gave me the idea to follow him to do something and help at home. At that time, I was only 10 years old. One day when he left early and he didn't know it, I followed him to the Tennis Club, and I tried to search for a job somewhere to pick up the balls, but nobody hired me because I didn't have any experience. Also I didn't know how to follow the game's score: like 30 to 15 or 40 to 15 etc. And also I was too little. But one guy finally hired me and I did, I guess, very well, THANK GOD.

After that, I went to work every Saturday and Sunday, all day, 6 or 8 hours a day, and when I finished, I gave my mother the money, too. I made 8 or 10 dollars a day, and my mother gave me back only five cents. I went to the school in the morning from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm. I was in the fourth grade. But after class, I played soccer with my friends all afternoon until 7:00 pm.

Sometimes, when we didn't have school, like vacations, I went fishing at the pier very close to my house. My mother didn't like me going out there, but when I brought a few fish, she was happy that on that day we would have a good lunch.

I remember my friends. They went to the beach to go swimming. I didn't follow them because I never learned to swim because at that time I suffered from bronchitis. I couldn't go into the cold water. Well, to finish this composition, I will talk a little bit about my sisters. They worked too. The oldest worked as a maid in a big house, the second oldest helped some people with their children, and they brought money home, too.

Well, that's it for now. Adios, my friends, or as they say around here,
"Hasta La Vista, Baby."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"My Story" by Sandra Lopez

My name is Sandra Lopez. I was born in Mexico City. My father's name is Juan F. Lopez. He is from Oaxaca, Mexico. My mother's name is Eleuteria Reyes. She is from Puebla, Mexico. They met in Mexico City. When I was two months old, my mother moved to Puebla City in Mexico, so we lived there with my grandmother, but my father stayed living in Mexico City. When there was the big earthquake in 1985, he died.

When I was child, I enjoyed playing with my cousins. My favorite games were basket ball and riding the bicycle. I disliked playing with dolls or making food. I went to Elementary school, and after that middle school and then high school. Finally I studied to be a secretary in technical education. I received my certificate in 2002. My first job was as a secretary in a law office. I worked there almost two years. After that, I was a dental assistant for around one year.

In 2003 I met a very handsome, but shy young man. He used to work in a court in the same place where I worked. I never talked to him because he didn't want to talk. One day I went to the court to give some documents to him and I forgot to sign them. When he checked them, he told me "You need to sign" but I didn't have a pen, so I asked him if I could use his pen, and he said "Sure". When I used it, I tried to give it back in his hand. The pen fell on the floor. He got angry and he told me to pick it up. I got very embarrassed and hesitated. So, he picked it up.

That's what caused us to be friends, and one month later we fell in love. We got married in 2006. After that, we moved together to this country. We first lived in Los Angeles for six months. In Los Angeles, we visited different places, but now I don't remember them all. In the same year, my son was born. His name is Emanuel.

Actually my husband works in the company "Love Painting" and my son is going to preschool. I'm very happy because I like my family. I enjoy it when my husband has days off because then we have more time to be together.

Monday, April 12, 2010

"My Story" by Magdalena Leon

It all began in March 4, 2005 when I had an accident. It was very sad for me, and I was depressed. But one day, I went with my daughter to a mosaic class. I was there with her and the teacher told me to stay in the class, so I stayed to watch how to do the process of mosaic. Later the teacher saw that I was sad and accepted me in her class.

It was only for children when she accepted me in her class. I felt different because I felt relaxed, and I had courage with which I could do new things. Before this, I felt useless because I couldn't do anything, but when I did mosaic I felt like somebody important. Sometimes when I went to mosaic class I had pain in my back and sadness, but when I started my mosaic I made a drawing. Then, I would grab some pieces of glass and started to glue them on top of the board where I drew my drawing. Finally when I was done, I covered it with grout.

When I was doing my mosaic, I felt relaxed. It was like a therapy. Also my mind was relaxed and blank, and I didn't pay any attention to the pain I felt inside me. When I would finish a board of mosaic at first I would see sad, dark colors because of what I felt, and I reflected my sadness in that. I had therapy and in few months I saw a change in my mosaic. Later on, my mosaic had more happy colors, and I was proud of doing something different. My feeling which was sadness in my mosaic changed and there I learned how to live life even if I may have pain. Also, I learned to see things in a different way. I'm proud of telling my story about how I changed my feelings and my mosaic class.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"True Adventure" by Brenda Lopez

I was born in Honduras in 1954. At the age of ten, I had a real life experience which made me believe more in God. My sisters, 8 and 7 years old, were swimming in the river, when they went deeper in the water. They got tired and lost their strength. I saw them in trouble, and I jumped in the river with an inner tube and was able to reach them and save them. I didn't know how to swim, but God helped us.

"How my Savior Rescued Me" by Olga Castillo

I am trying to write a composition about myself. Eleven years ago, I was saved from breast cancer. My Lord rescued me through the excellent treatment of my doctors. When the doctor told me the result of the biopsy, I felt as though the world had finished for me, and a deep sadness came over me. My family, friends, and the church congregation prayed for me with all their faith. When I woke up after the surgery, the surgeon said to me, "You are completely clean. The cancer was enclosed inside, like a capsule." So my Lord listened to our prayers. I gave thanks to Him with all my heart, and the doctors, too.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

"Trip to Las Vegas" by Maria Morales

I took a trip with my family last Thanksgiving. For many years, I had wanted to go to Las Vegas to see some shows, but the times I went with my husband he only wanted to play the slot machines. For me that was boring and a waste of time and money. However, I had enjoyed walking on the street with a lot of tourists and looking at the beautiful hotels.

Last year my son told me we have to do something different this year because our family is small and holidays are boring because we're just eating dinner. And after the dinner, everyone goes their own way and does what they want.
The idea of going to Las Vegas was exciting for me because I'm tired of cooking the same food every year.

It was Thursday morning when we woke up early and left home between 7:30 am and 8:00 am. It took us 9 hours to get there by car. I brought some food and made knitting for the long trip. I also took a nap because it was a long way.

When we arrived it was almost 6:00 pm. We went to the hotel first to check in, then we left our luggage in the room. Later on we visited old Las Vegas including downtown. After we ate dinner there we walked on the street and saw some free shows.

The next day we saw the Cesar Palace Hotel, everything was beautiful, like a big museum. We stayed there for a while. We visited the Belagio Hotel that is a much of a museum as Cesar Palace. It was amazing and elegant.

I really enjoyed the flower exhibit at the Belagio Hotel. On the ceiling they had all these flowers made of glass and were of all different colors.
They also had a tree with a face and it talked and moved. It also had a beautiful waterfall made of metal leaves that were positioned at different heights so the water came down like it was on steps.

We also saw the Lion exhibition at the M G M Grand Hotel. There were a lot of people watching the Lion eat a bone. My son and daughter even took a photo with a cute Lion cub. My daughter was also able to win $ 40.00 in slot machine with money her boss gave her to gamble a little.

At the Venetian Hotel were rode the indoor gondola. It was wonderful, like being in Italy. In the hotel the store fronts looked like buildings in Italy and the ceiling was painted light blue with clouds so you felt like you were outside.

The person who handled the gondola was very nice and sang in Italian beautifully. I enjoyed the gondola ride because it was really the only chance we had to sit back and relax and enjoy the scenery, because usually on vacation one always goes and goes without really relaxing.

The first show we saw was called the "Rat Pack" where four actors played different people like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and I forgot the last one's name. Oh, Peter Lawford, that's right!

The next show we saw that evening was the Blue men group. Three men were painted in blue and their faces and made a lot noise. With them were four drummers who accompanied them when they made music. For me the drummers made too much noise. This kind of show is more for young people. My children thought it was a fun show.

On Saturday we walked almost all day to see different hotels and ate delicious food. That night we saw our last show, the Beatles, actors pretending to sing like the original musicians. It was good show.

On Sunday morning we came back to San Francisco. It took 13 hours because everyone was coming back from the holiday. My son and my husband drove bumper to bumper from Las Vegas to San Francisco which was tiring, but all we had a good time, and the bad things didn't matter, and for me, it was amazing.

We stayed there three days and it was a vacation I'll never forget.

Monday, April 5, 2010

"How Important Learning English Is" by Elsa Adame

When I had just come to this country, I met a person. Like me, she was from Mexico. She helped me get a job at a fast food restaurant. When I started to work there, I didn't know one word of English. Little by little, I started to learn some words like:
"ketchup", "mustard", "onion", "french fries", "Good morning", and "Hi, how are you?"

But once, a customer and I had a very embarrassing experience. This customer, an African American, was ordering at the front counter, and suddenly he said, "I want a small pop."

I had never heard that word and neither had my co-worker. Pop??
So, I showed him a spoon, a straw, a fork, and he was just looking at us with an angry face. He said again, "I said, a small pop!!"

Finally, I had to call the manager. She asked him, "May I help you?"

And he said, kind of shrugging his shoulders, "I just want a small pop, for Chris' sakes." She says, "Okay."

She turned around and told us, "He wants a small soda."

This experience taught me that learning English is very important!

"A Personal Essay" by Evelyn Reyes

My name is Evelyn Reyes; I was born in Honduras in 1988. I am twenty- one years old. I like to read and listen to music. I have two brothers and a sister, and also I have a nephew and a niece. My whole family is from Honduras, too.

I came to this country in 2009, and I have been living here for one year. I am very happy to live in this country because the cultures of the people are very interesting. I really miss my family, but I have a hope that I will see them again.

I really like to learn English because I want to study medicine in this country. Actually, I was studying medicine in my country, but I did not finish because I had to move out of my country.

I want to be a doctor, and I want to help people that need medical help in my community. My whole family is proud of me, so I don't want to disappoint them. I want to study as hard as I can.

In Honduras I met a person that is a really nice man. He is my boyfriend now, and he is very sweet with me. I've known him for about four years, and I really love him. He is twenty two years old, and he likes to read news, books, and some things like that. He is a student right now, and he would like to be a doctor too. I am very proud of him.

He has two brothers and a sister, and he lives here with his family, and I live with him too. We want to be engaged, but first we want to finish our studies and later live together and make a family.

In my free time I like to make earrings and to go church. Once in a while, I go to the movie theater to have a good time.

I am very glad I'm with God, because my whole life is nice, and I know many people that like me, and they make me very happy.

"My Autobiography" by Isidro Ramirez

Hi! My name is Isidro Ramirez. I was born in Leon, Guanajuato Mexico. My father's name was Rodrigo Ramirez, and my mother's name was Esperanza Sanchez. I was their second child. I have four brothers and five sisters. I went to elementary school at age 6. My childhood was very nice. I had friends, games, school, and I helped my father on the farm.

When I was thirteen, I went to middle school and began to have problems with physics, chemistry, and mathematics. In the 70s, I worked with my father on his farm. At that time, I learned a lot of things like: how to prepare the field for sowing and how to cultivate different agricultural products. My friends and I went dancing every weekend. I remember the music of Credence Clearwater, Revival, Bee Gees, Beach Boys, and other groups.

Believe it or not, I had a lot of girlfriends. I was a healthy, strong, and handsome young man. I didn't play any instruments, but I could sing. The young ladies always enjoyed it when I sang a "serenade" with a mariachi band. Every guy loves women, doesn't he?

In the eighties, I had a grocery store. I bought and sold groceries. That was my job for years.

My father worked at the farm for many years. He talked a lot about his job because he liked it. He was very kind, but strict. He died in 1993.

My mother didn't work. She stayed home and took care of us. My mother always did special things for our birthdays. She was very gentle and patient. She died three years ago. She was a great mother.

I came to the U.S. a few years ago and began to work for the Columbus Salami Company in South San Francisco. But the factory burned down, so my co-workers and I lost our jobs. I returned to school last semester and I've been taking classes with Mr. Robinson since February. I've been learning a lot.

"My Destiny" by Zulma Bautista

When I turned 15, my Mom and Dad threw a party for me. I had four dancing partners. After my 15th birthday, I started to date one of my dancing partners. After one year, he went to the U.S.A. We would talk by phone and we corresponded once a month for a year. Then, suddenly, all communication stopped between us. After that, he was in a relationship with another woman and I started dating another man. But, I ended my second relationship because it didn't work out. I then came to San Francisco, and, a year later, connected up with my first boyfriend. Since then, we have been together.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"My Simple but Happy Life," by Berney Lopez

My name is Berny Lopez, I am from Colombia, I have eight brothers and seven sisters. That's a big family. I came to United States in 2005. I worked in construction for four years. On April 23, 2008, I had an accident. My coworker was driving the forklift when he broke a little piece of concrete and hit me in my chest. I fell over metal and inmmediatelly I hurt my back, my neck, head, and my right leg. I went to the hospital. The doctor took X-rays and he brought me medicine. I had two surgeries on my right shoulder, and I had many appointments with a therapist.
So I was lucky I had God's help.

I can't work right now. I hope I'm going to get a new job, probably next year.
My life is simple but I'm happy a lot. Every day I go to school, and then about six pm, I go to church in San Jose. I have many healthy habits because I want to have a good mind and body.

Every day I walk about forty minutes before school, and generally eat a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables. I have allergies and sneeze all the time. I sometimes have a cold and sore throat. I always drink tea with lemon and honey. There are in my family many problems with bronchitis and asthma because when we were children, the climate was terribly hot and humid in our town.

I've been studying English for four semesters. It was very important start. I am happy because now I know more English than last year. I want learn English well for my future and my family's future too.

Thank you, teachers, for your help.

Monday, March 15, 2010

"My Autobiography" by Joanna Hidalgo

Hello, my name is Joanna Hidalgo. I’m from México City. I have been living in San Francisco since October 2009. I am a Video Editor. I select images and sound to create sequences. I work with ideas in a relationship between the author and me. I cut and paste media to create an original masterpiece. I use all my skills when I work, but I love it, and that’s why it’s kind of easy for me. I have been editing since 2004, and I used to spend a lot of time on one piece. Now I’ve become faster and better. I can also create some titles with 3D motion. I love documentary, and I have edited some short pieces. I would like to one day direct one by myself. My biggest goal is to become a professional filmmaker, and be able to perhaps combine both positions. I would also like to use my work to inspire a positive change in this world. In my films I would like to stimulate my viewers to be more conscious of each other and their surroundings.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Salvador Vargas: Distance.

So far, so near, you are from me; so far because distance separates me from you, and so near because you are in my heart.

If distance and time try to persuade me to forget you, they will not succeed because in this instant I am thinking of you.

If distance and time would conspire to separate me from you, conspiracy is my heart for loving you, cherished woman.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Salvador Vargas: A Love Poem

My Treasure

Huge hidden treasure I have for you.

Your eyes can’t see it, and your hands can’t touch it.

Only your heart can feel, and find it.

I have a thousand and one ways that lead you to me.

Thousands, a bit close, but only one will lead you to me.

Take care! Don’t rush the step that you can lose.

If you walk slowly, you might understand.

And if you find my treasure, build a beautiful palace that reigns in it because you will be my Queen

and I will be your King.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

"The Roberto Clemente Story" by Ana Maria Alfaro

Roberto was a good sports person. He was a famous person, a humanitarian, and a dreamer. He was a celebrity. But he cared about people, especially the children. Roberto was an excellent baseball player and a good human being. Roberto had a dream to build a Sports City, and he wanted to help the people of Nicaragua, Central America, who suffered an earthquake. He asked for donations door to door and in the radio. He did collect a lot of donations. He also went to the airport to help to load the plane. But he wanted to make sure the supplies reached the victims who needed them. So, he boarded the plane to watch over the supplies. But he never got there because the plane crashed into the sea off the coast of Puerto Rico. They never found him. The world lost a generous and loving man.