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.