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Published by crystalalcala1023, 2019-11-20 20:23:14

My Journey as a writer

My Journey as a writer


Literacy Narrative


Being the oldest daughter of two immigrant parents that came to this country for a better
life wasn’t always easy, I had to learn everything on my own. As I start my first year of
college I recall back to my childhood and how I struggled with reading and writing. I am
standing here as the first generation in my family to go to college, starting a new journey
in my life. I struggled most of my childhood; I was split into two worlds, one at home
always speaking Spanish and the other at school learning to speak English on my own.
Spanish was my first language, and I grew up in Chicago, and going to school I took my
classes in both languages.

As soon as I turned 12 years old my family and I moved to the suburbs in which I had to
take classes only in English, which was a change I had to adapt to. This transition had
made me struggle the whole year, and I was behind on my reading and writing skills. One
day I got home from school as I was entering the kitchen, the aroma of enchiladas spread
throughout the whole house. As I was sitting down my mother tried consoling me after a
hard day at school, “Honey don’t worry you will soon learn English and who knows you will
even teach us”, and I responded “Why did we decide to move? It feels like we don’t belong

I was put into groups that were separated from the rest of my classmates because my reading and
writing skills were lower than expected, so I would try my hardest at home to read books every night.
My mother always encouraged me to read by having me read to her every night. One night as I was
starting to read a book to my mom, we had heard a loud cry from the other side of the room. My mom
hurried to get my sister and bring her to bed with us as I continued to read. As I grew older, I
developed a love for reading and I did not just read because I had to but because I started to enjoy it.
Every time my mom and I went to the store I would look around to look for books yelling across the
store, “Mom I want this book please can I have it!”, my mother always said yes to encourage me to
improve my reading skills. As I was on my way to school I had commented to my mom that I wanted to
teach my sister how to read and write and told her, “I don’t want my sister to go through what I went
through as a child struggling to read and write in English so I will teach her myself”. As my sister grew
older, I had taught her many things so she would not struggle the way I did and so she wouldn’t feel
alone like I did. We would read our favorite books together and I helped her with her homework or
anything she needed help with.

As the oldest daughter I was mostly in charge of pretty much everything related to
making appointments, phone calls or even coming to my own parent- teacher conferences
to translate for my parents, even though I always told my parents the good things my
teachers would say and leave out the bad stuff. My teachers would say “Crystal needs to
practice a little more on her writing” but I would turn around to my parents and say how I
been improving on my writing in Spanish. Although I struggled most of my childhood
learning the difference between Spanish and English, translating from home to school was
always overwhelming for me. I had to learn everything.

I went from being the girl that could not speak English at all to setting up appointments,
making phone calls or even reading forms my parents could not understand. As being the
oldest child, I had many responsibilities upon me. All I ever heard was “Honey did you
make this phone call?”, “Don’t forget to set up your sisters’ appointment”, so as I made the
call for the doctor’s appointment,

“Hello, I am Mrs. Alcala I would like to make an appointment for my daughter”

And my mom the background reminded me what to say “Mija no te oldives de mencionar
que la medicina no le esta ayundando a tu hermana y se seinete mal!”

So, I translated, “Ma’am I am making this appointment because the medicine my daughter
has been taking does not work and she doesn’t feel well”

It was responsibility after another. Although learning to read and write on my own made
me the writer I am today. It helped me get through my middle and high school years

Once I got to high school, I took very hard English classes that changed my outlook on my
writing since being a bilingual speaker, my teachers pushed me to always do better. I
always enjoyed writing essays for my classes or even doing other writing assignments. As
my last year in high school I decided to take two English classes, one was more based on
Latin Literature and the other was similar to creative writing, I had decided to take both
English classes in one year because I wanted to improve as a writer and I enjoyed writing.
As I always decided to pick challenging English classes, I chose to take the Latin Literature
to remind me of my culture and where my love of writing started as I transition from
Spanish to English.

As a child I was stuck between two languages in which I struggled most of my life, but it
has come to my advantage as now I am fluent in both those languages. My family always
spoke to me in Spanish at home and well I learned English at school. I hated going to
school as a child because I was forced to learn a new language; it felt like my culture was
being taken away as I needed to learn English to be successful but what if I didn’t want to?
I loved speaking Spanish at home so why couldn’t I speak it at school? I didn’t really
understand why I was being forced into these classes and why I had to be put into separate
groups because my reading and writing skills were lower than expected, I felt isolated from
my own classmates.

I was always put into separate groups until I was able to learn English and improve my
reading and writing skills. When I got home from school, I always went to my bedroom to
read books so I couldn’t be put into the same classroom as my classmates, that was always
my goal and my encouragement to learn. If it wasn’t for my journey of being born of two
parents that came here with no English whatsoever, I would not be where I am today. I was
very independent in my schoolwork because my parents did not understand what I went
through as being the oldest and figuring out everything on my own. I never had a guide
that help me throughout my high school years, I always did my homework on my own and
when I did not understand something, I always found a way to figure it out.

My biggest struggle throughout high school was preparing myself for college, as I did not
know what to expect and I had no one to go to for advice, I was terrified. Preparing myself
for the SATS or AP tests was also hard because I did not what to expect. As I studied all

night my parents always seem to come to my room and said with a smile on their face,
“Mija we are very proud of you and you’ve come a long way”. Although it was arduous
journey, I made it through my high school years, as I graduated high school and started
my first year in college. My struggles as a writer improved through the hardships and

challenges, I faced on my own as being the first in my family to make it to college.

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