Live out Loud Too Blog

About Being an Immigrant

About 6 years ago today I arrived in Chicago. Let me tell you, it went by faster than I was expecting and hoping. As I sit here to make a reflection of this time, I’m overwhelmed with memories.

In 2014, I moved to Marietta, Georgia. When I told my boss here in Chicago that I was leaving, he looked at me and said loud and clear “You are going to HATE it over there.” I kept myself positive, I usually don’t let people tell me what to do, or how to feel, but unfortunately, he was right. I kept his words flying around my brain.

The first minute there, my boyfriend, now husband, got hit by a car and went flying in the air. It was about 6am, it was still dark and we were walking back from the rental place. First mistake: walking. You are never, ever allowed to walk in Georgia. Not in the daylight, not in the sunlight. The lady who hit him, in a big SUV, said she thought he was a squirrel.

He miraculously got up, walk a few steps to the curb and check to see if he had broken anything. I yelled in desperation so loud the car stopped and she reversed. She saw us, but she didn’t want to open the window, as she was scared. Well, lady, you just hit my boyfriend, you should help. She didn’t.

A few minutes later, the ambulance, the police, and the firefighters were there. My boyfriend was in an ambulance, getting his vitals checks, being taken care of and I was seating there waiting for my destiny to be decided. They asked me about my I.d. That’s when my heart raced, I felt a cold wave in through my body. I still shake while I’m writing this.

“I have my passport,” I said in a complete frozen situation. My body shut down. I felt like I was going to faint. I was out of status for over a year now. Out of status meaning, you came over, you overstayed your visa, and you try to go ahead and have a normal life. It was possible in Chicago, why would it not be possible in Georgia? Because it’s the South of the United States, my friends. They don’t like immigrants,  they make sure to let you know you don’t belong.

After that incident, I went home and I cried. My boyfriend was fine, I was the one wrecked. I have never been so scared in my life. What if the police saw my expired visa? What if they asked for another document? What if I was taken to jail and deported? So many thoughts and I immediately regretted to have moved there. The next four years it would be me, trying to get out of there.

Yes, sure, it was not all bad. I made a couple of friends, that I love and cherish, that helped me out more than they think. Destiny, Maria, and Brenda were the ones saving me. We went for coffee, walked the square and laughed, and they sure made my days better, even if it was just for a morning.

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Brenda taught me, through her experience, that if you don’t have an American accent, you fake it one. “Talk like those White Girls,” she said, “It always works.” Well, I tried her theory over the phone with the Western Union attendant.  It works like a charm. What point did we get, that if we have an accent we are not heard or respected?

See you next week.

JS

Don't talk to strangers

“After hours of driving through the California Desert, he turns on his radio and hears a familiar voice “Good morning Michael, it’s a beautiful day today, I hope you can enjoy it. Cause I will!” Michael thinks it’s weird, as he recognizes the voice, but can’t make the connection of who that could be. Michael drives overnight and into the morning, it was starting to get into him. He removes his sunglasses and rubs his eyes, in order to keep himself seeing clearly; the road looks foggy. He sighs with exhaustion. Michael is not used to driving long distances alone. He looks around the barren highway for any signs of life. The temperature gauge read 107, and the car’s AC is broken.

Determine to reach his final destination on time, Michael refuses to stop for refreshments. After a while, he becomes delirious.”

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"The one that got away"

” A few years had passed since he last saw her face. His memories were always tender and carefully polished with laughter and hope. Her wavy brown hair, being held by bobby pins, her long and warm arms filled his days with hope.

The last time Giu saw his mom was the night he ran away. Natalia said her goodbyes at the kitchen with her teary eyes, while she prayed for the best life her child could have. Ten years had gone by since he joined the circus. Ten years had gone by since he last saw his family. He had grown up to be a man. The man she taught him how to be with values, strong character and personality.

The day the Circus got back to Giu’s town was a sunny bright day. He was apprehensive, but confidence was one of the skills he grew up to have. The carriage made his first stop, as usual on the Town Square, where all the kids would come to see the new entertainment in town. Giu got out of the truck and waved. He started handing some tickets to the kids, he actualy could speak better english than he ever had. His accent was still present, which made the kids laugh at whatever he said. Giu enjoyed the attention, as the giant escorted him away from the crowd of kids.

As the crew started to set up the tent, Giu’s head was being flooded of images when he was a young boy, when he had just arrived in this small town. That’s when he heard a familiar accent.

“So, I heard the circus was back in town, and I decided to check for myself. It turns out you made it. Good job!” said the voice.

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Art Heist

“Jimmy pushed his hair inside of his police hat, a uniform that he borrowed from one of his acquaintances, so he could get by without being noticed with his partner in crime, Mark. They had this plan for months to steal and sell those pieces of art on the black market.

They had just agreed during the robbery that they would lock the third partner, the security guard, in an office to make it look real and that there was no inside job. This way Manuel, security guard, could keep his job and nobody would suspect him.

“Are you SURE, it’s a good idea to keep me locked in here?” asked Manuel.

“Yes, they can’t figure out you are part of this plan” said Jimmy, putting tape around Manuel’s wrists.

“If you gave us the right direction, it shouldn’t take too long for us to find the pieces we want.” said Mark, on his walk towards the door, turning off the light and leaving Manuel to the darkness of his own regret.

A few moments after the following the direction they were given, Jimmy and Mark stopped in front of the first painting they would remove from the wall. “Landscape with an Obelisk” it was worth millions of dollars.

“Should we just pull it off the wall? The entire frame?” asked Mark, waiting for instructions on what to do next.

“Just take the painting and leave the frame, they will have a great surprise by tomorrow.” Said Jimmy staring at the paint …

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" The Circus of Life"

“Attention! Attention everybody! The circus in town. Come tomorrow to see the greatest spectacle on earth! We have the monkeys, elephants, clowns and the acrobats!”

He fixed his eyes on the carriages, as they passed by. Giu had never seen anything like this in town, it was full of life and was simply magical. He saw it as the opportunity he was looking for in order to change his life. Forever. Giu woke up the next morning with a new exhilarating feeling running through his body, like a thunderstorm about to happen. As he kissed his mom goodbye, he saw the sadness in her eyes. It had been there for a long time now. Giu shook his head and gave her some reassuring words, “We are going to be fine.” Natalia simply shook her head in response.

He definitely was not a dreamer. He had to grow up fast, hide his emotions while being the support for his mom and little brother. He had a small frame which carried a lot more weight than his body could ever. He felt like his frame was like a tiny ant, carrying ten times the weight on his shoulders. His dad had never been the moral support or financial helper they needed. In fact, he has only gotten worse as the time passed, he used words and provoked arguments to hurt his family. In the past, Mateo told Giu multiple times how useless he was, and how he was destined to be a failure, because it ran in the family.

Giu was feeling suffocated, like his voice was never heard. He had to find a solution to save him and his brother from that hostile situation…”

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