Diana Rojas

An Opportunity

I’m a dreamer. One of my biggest dreams is to travel, to know new places, cultures and people. Although I never dreamed about making a life away from my country and my family, sometimes opportunities appear. You have to act practically and think about your family and your future, you have to take or leave that chance. This happened to me suddenly, when without thinking about it, without planning it, without really yearning for it, I could come to the USA.

The final 15 days were weird, small conversations about the future, meetings with friends and family but without saying goodbye. For them it would just be a business trip and I would be back in a month. Only the closest people knew about my real plans. I didn’t want to think or talk about the trip, I never thought that could be possible. Nevertheless, there was my mom, trying to be excited, to encourage me, to support me, to make me feel relaxed, even when I knew she was destroyed inside herself. I remembered my grandparents telling me: “Go, be free, grow, be happy, have a better life, don’t think about us, because we are going to be good and we want the best for you”.

The last day was fast, my airplane departed at 10 pm. I had to go to work in the morning, then I went to a resta

urant with my family. After that I hadn’t a lot of time. We went back home and there were other relatives waiting for me. My mom had prepared a lot of traditional food, but I wasn’t hungry, I was quiet, trying to see that everything was in the suitcase. The farewell was quick, just a picture and a kiss. I was already late and everything had been said. I went to the airport with my mother, my brother and an uncle. I hadn’t a lot of time there. The moment I had to go, mommy hugged my brother and me and we started crying.


Then I went to the airplane, my second time in one of those magic conveyances. Feelings of anxiety, fear and excitement were inside of me. The trip was short; I hadn’t finished my Coke when the pilot announced that we would be landing in Miami Airport in a few minutes. I just followed the other people. One of my friends who lived in Miami had explained to me what should I say when I passed through immigration.


Once there and after I followed my friend’s instructions, the officer took me to a little room full of people. I almost couldn’t find a seat. There were kids, old people, couples, whole families, everybody waiting for being called to one of the officers. My friend had told me that in few hours I should be out of that room. It was past 12 am and I was nervous, I wanted to read, but I couldn’t concentrate on the book. More people came in, some came out and I was still there. I started to fall asleep, but I couldn’t, if they called me and I didn’t hear... Time kept running and the expected few hours became 8 hours, the longest night of my life.


After I filled out some forms and I answered a few questions, I could go. The officer called my friend who was going to pick me up at the airport. I found my suitcase, I sat to wait for my friend and I couldn’t stand it anymore. I started crying, finally I had passed, the pressure was over, I had an alien number and I was a refugee.


I was in Miami for a week with some friends and some relatives, I was impressed by the amount of things in the stores, the huge traffic and all the new and developed things. Then I traveled to New Jersey, where I had an event to participate in and I would stay with my mother’s best friend for a while. I was excited because I would be near to NYC, one of my dream cities and the dream was about to become reality.


Time flies and I have been in the country for nine months already. I have learned a lot about the way of life here, about people, jobs. I have had the best support and advice ever. I have some achievements, that I sometimes think are nothing, but they mean a lot. When the doors closed behind me that Friday, May 20th, I was starting a new life, a completely different life, that I knew I wouldn’t be easy, but at the same time I could face it, no matter what happened. I was young, I was healthy, I was intelligent and I had made having a better life my main goal. Today I don’t yet have my desired job and I have realized that it is a long and difficult process but not impossible so I keep studying every day, trying to improve myself, to gain confidence. Now many immigration laws have changed and I feel relief at the decision I made. Sometimes I’m afraid but thankful at the same time for all the good people I have found in my path. My family is OK and I pray every day for strength and to enjoy every opportunity that life puts in my way.


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