“Mami se tiene que ir” (mom has to go now), the tears were streaming down Alexandra’s face when she heard this. Her life was coming to an end, she wasn’t going to have that woman who she called Mami anymore. The woman who took care of her when she had a scrape, taught her how to walk and made her the best morir soñando drink ever. No more driving around in the front of the pasola (moped), feeling that cool breeze hitting her warm face. As any child would do she immediately clutched on to her mother leg like a spider would to its web. She did not let go for her life, she cried and cried until her grandfather pulled her away. Crying in his shoulder and hearing her mother’s voice for the last time. For her it felt like a goodbye but it was really a see you later.
After a few days she became distracted and did not feel the absence of her mother anymore. Alexandra and her sister Marlene, which is three years older than her, received phone calls from their mother every few day. “Eres mi corazoncito de melón”, was the ending of every phone conversation that she ever had with her mother. The conversation between them started with a “son mami”, a saying that most kids Hispanics say to their mothers. She had no idea where her mother was, all she had in mind when her mother left was that she was leaving. She was too young to know that there was more to the world than the Dominican Republic. The United States, where everyone goes for their dreams. And where her mother had gone to make her children’s dreams come true. Her grandparents’ house was not far from the capital. They lived in a small town where everyone knew each other, where you called everyone you vecina (neighbor) even if they lived 5 houses away.
After two years of phone calls, Alexandra was finally older and more aware of where her mother was. Being able to kiss her other and hug her again like it was the first time, she was the happiest she had ever been. In a few days she would go on a plane to go to America, she was a bit confused but happy she was going to fly for the first time. All she knew from movies is that there is snow and people speak English. On the way to the airport she started asking all the questions.
“¿Ase frio allá?” (Is it cold there?)
“¿Vamos a regresar?” (Are we coming back?
“¿cuánto tiempo falta?” (How much time?)
“Si ase frio, vamos a llegar en dos horas, tranquilízate hija” (It is cold there, only two hours left, calm down). Her mother was already frustrated as it is and she was not helping the situation.
After two hours, the plane had landed, everything went soothingly well. It was May of 2001, and Alexandra had recently turned six years old. In a matter of months she would be heading to first grade and learning English as a second language. In the meantime, she would enjoy her first summer in Massachusetts.
The adjustments to the American lifestyle was a culture shock to her. Before she was able to go outside when it rained, play with her friends and have the...