My Childhood in Mexico and My Experiences being an ESL Student (English as a Second Language)
My Childhood in Mexico City
Hello everyone! :) Today I want to share with you some personal experiences that I had in my childhood living in Mexico and also some experiences that I had coming back to California at eight years old to live with my parents again, and becoming an ESL student in elementary school.
If I told someone that does not know me well, that Spanish is my first language that person would immediately think that I was born in Mexico. That would make sense, but when I tell that person the truth that I was born Santa Ana, California, they would be totally surprised, well maybe not too much, but only a little bit. I only know that they would be really surprised if I told someone face-to-face that I am 23 years-old; they would think I was lying and say: "No you are 13 or 14, not 23!" Well guess what I may look younger than my age but I am really for real 23.
Living in Mexico for a few years with my two Aunts, Carmen and Conchis and my Grandparents really was a neat and wonderful experience for me because I had the opportunity of learning about my culture and my Mexican heritage; both my parents are from Mexico, so living over there was really interesting and exciting.
I do not remember well the first night I spent it in Mexico but I do know the reason why me and my siblings were sent by my parents to live in Mexico with my relatives was because my parents did not want us to struggle along with them in terms of that they were not financially stable yet; my Mom told me once that they were saving enough money so that way they can be able to find a good home for us to live in as a family and also for us to be able to come back to California. Both my parents thought it was safer if they sent us to live in Mexico for a few years while they got settled, and it is what happened.
During my years in Mexico, I was reminded excessively about the importance of education by my Aunt, Carmen (who was my Dad's sister, RIP). She was the main person in my family whom I considered to be my second Mother:) because she instilled in me the importance of respect, kindness towards others, and to not give up, that nothing is impossible. If I want to achieve something in my life then the only way is to dedicate myself to it, and have faith that one day I will achieve something worthwhile in my life.
There were times when I was a well-behaved girl, but then there were also times when I also was a rebellious girl back in first and second grade. There were days when I really did not want to study or practice my times tables and would get in trouble a'lot by my Aunt for it. I would cry and throw temper tantrums at her begging her not to make me study today because I just would not want to, but my Aunt still would not let me. She was really strict when it came to studying, doing homework, and other school related activities, but she was also a nice and fun person to be with. She would let us do a'lot of fun arts and crafts like drawing, coloring, paper dolls, painting, and other artsy projects for fun. What I loved most about my childhood in Mexico is going out with my Aunts to Mexican restaurants to eat yummy tacos and quesadillas with mushrooms. We would also visit a'lot El Zocalo which is a really big place where people sell things like clothes, jewelry, food, and other fun stuff, there would also be people playing instruments and so hearing traditional Mexican music being played while eating a churro was always really great.
The education in Mexico is really different over there than how it is in the U.S. In Mexico you have to buy the required school uniform that all students have to wear. You also have to buy all of your textbooks that you will need for your classes during the school year (believe me the school textbooks are kind of expensive in Mexico) You basically have to buy everything that you will need for school. I only did kindergarten, first grade, and second grade in Mexico so I do know a little of how schools are over there. In Mexican schools students are also required to bring their own lunches everyday, it is not like the schools in the U.S. where the school gives you breakfast and lunch everyday, in Mexico your parents have to give you your lunch for school.
Coming back to California and Becoming an ESL Student
I never knew that coming back to California to live with my parents would bring such rapid changes into my life. These changes would affect the rest of my childhood and beyond. I was eight years old when I came back to California along with my siblings. I was really happy to see my parents again and was really excited but nervous at the same time when my parents told me that I was going to start third grade in Las Positas Elementary School, which is in La Habra, California where I live. I can say that third grade was a struggle for me because I did not know anyone in school, and I did not know any English on my first day of school, I was a really quiet and shy little girl which affected my grades immensely; school was always hard for me since I would not understand the lessons and my homework was impossible to do on my own on top of that my Mom was not able to help me also because she did not know English also so Third grade was tough for me. Also the things that I had learned in a school in Mexico were totally different from what I was learning in third grade, everything was just so confusing for me.
But as I continued learning English and got better at mastering the language I started to do better in school that by fourth grade I already considered Language Arts, writing, and reading as my favorite things to do in school. Math has always been my least favorite subject because to me it was just complicated and kind of boring for me to learn but it was something that I had to learn really well forcefully in middle school and in high school.
School has taught me to not be afraid to learn new things and to face my fears, it has also taught me to learn from my mistakes.