From España to Estados Unidos

Shirley Londoño, Viewpoints Editor

My family and I left Spain five years to come to the United States due a poor Spanish economy and lack of jobs there. We also wanted privacy. Because of my large family and the business we were in it was difficult in Spain to find privacy. In my city, Vitoria (in the northern Basque region), most people know my family by name.

I moved from Spain almost 5 years ago, without any knowledge of this country or its president, nothing. When I came was 10 years old, almost 11, so I really didn’t pay attention to what was on the other side of the “big pond.” I still remember the day my mom told me we were moving, I cried. I was going to leave my friends, and relatives… Apart from that I didn’t know any English and I believed it was a really hard language, which it is.

The hardest part is the holidays. I have so many relatives that I used to celebrate holidays with. My first Christmas was horrible. It was just my parents, my siblings, a cousin and I. We usually celebrate it on the 24th, and stay up until midnight to open the presents. My mom tried something new: she hid all of the presents and made us look for them. It was fun until you found them. Christmas (navidad in Spanish) just wasn’t the same as how we usually celebrate it. The first two years was boring. My parents didn’t have friends or any relatives in these country.

After almost five years in this country, my parents made friends, which made holidays less boring. My relatives started to visit us. Everything changed so much in these five years. My family and I learned a new language, we moved to another town, which we never did in Spain. I went to a private school, and it was the first time I was enrolled in a private school. It was hard at the beginning but so far my years in the USA have been great. After all, they say, “The secret of change is to focus your energy on not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”