I Wrote in English Today
When I decided to write about something successful in my life, I found a never ending list. My mind was in the same way as my desk, it was a mess. I wrote ten, twenty or maybe more sheets of paper whose destiny was the trashcan. Although my head was full of thoughts in Spanish, the universe of my brain was unable to create the connection between mind and hand. Because this language and I could never been good friends, it was almost impossible write in English, though fortunately, I never learned the meaning of surrender.
We moved to this country in 2004, and I could survive for one year in spite of my ignorance of its culture and language. After the normal process of culture shock, I comprehended the necessity of communication. I felt impotent when I had a lot of questions concerning school, or the sports of my sons, and I was incapable of linking my mind with my tongue. Frustration was another word to explain the feeling that I experienced when I spent hours and hours trying to decode the that looked like hieroglyphics instead of English words.
The necessity of communicating with teachers, counselors, and coaches as well as help in the searching process for the appropriate university for my sons was the trigger for my vehement desire to understand this language. September and October of 2005 were the hardest months of my life. Without a wide English knowledge, and a total ignorance of the higher education system of this country, I was involved in the processes of investigation and admission, my English dictionary an unconditional friend in this process. Finally, all the requirements were reached and sent on time to the chosen universities. Three months later, we received by mail the best notice of the world, my son had been accepted with full scholarship at Kalamazoo College MI.
I continued studying English independently, because by being a chauffer, doctor, nurse, teacher, mother, etc, at the same time, I did not have time to attend a formal English school. In February of 2008, I made arrangements with my family in order to attend Ysleta Community Learning Center (YCLC), since then it has been easier to communicate with all kinds of people, and to understand the complex university educational system. Last year, I walked with my little boy the same path that I walked before with the eldest of my children, but this time with best knowledge of the necessaries steps to follow the right road. Once more in January 15, 2010 the postman arrived at our home bringing excellent news, a full scholarship attached to an acceptance letter addresses to my youngest son to attend Kenyon College in the state of Ohio.
I always said that the triumph of my children would be the family triumph. This success was built working all together with struggles and renunciations. My husband, an industrious man of 73 years, continues working to provide material necessities for all of us. My sons, with their lives of hard work, look for the balance between the classroom and the pool, without time to socialize. My contribution to this great team was my time, my love, and put in stand by my career. We do not have material wealth, but we have richness of ideas. We are not owners of a house, but we are owners of our dreams and decisions. After two years of studying English, my brain and hand became friends again .The universe of my brain was able to make the necessary connection between mind and hand, and I finally created the first link of my success chain, I wrote in English today.
Maria Rangel-Contreras is a native of Guanajuato, Mexico. She is a married woman, mother of two wonderful sons, 18 and 21. They have been residing in El Paso, TX, since 2004. Student of YCLC or “the school of the opportunities” as she calls it, and proud to have as her teacher Liz Moya, since two years ago.