Friday, October 14, 2011

From a Pig Trough to Prosperity.

 I was born at home in a small village in Central Mexico and slept for two months in a galvanized pig trough. Growing up I spoke English at home with my American parents and at school I spoke an awkward, backward language that resembled Spanish until the channels in my brain were formed into full sized macaroni and were able to contain the super highway of words and phrases that previously had been nothing more than an alphabet soup.
My mom and dad had nothing when they moved to Mexico. They had very little money and struggled to keep me and my siblings afloat during tough times. We were no different financially than our poor Mexican neighbors. My mom washed our clothes on a rock in the river and knew how to make a pie out of flour, two eggs and Country Time Lemonade. Although we were a very resourceful family there were times that I really struggled with how difficult life was for us. My parents have always said “God gave us Lily because he thought we needed a responsible adult in the family,” and for years my mom had joked that when I turned eleven I needed to go out and get a job to help support the family. On my birthday, I put on my little rubber rain boots, walked out the door and did just that. Since then, I have never been unemployed.
Growing up in the middle of hundreds of dainty doe-eyed brunettes as a tall, awkward, blonde girl was a challenge at times. Although I spoke the language fluently, I always felt a gap between myself and my friends. Our cultures were different; my parents accepted and practiced many Mexican traditions, but never let go of their American roots. On Easter morning in the USA you have a bunny with a basket full of painted eggs and chocolate and in Mexico you have a man dragging an 80 pound wooden cross down a cobbled road with donkeys trailing behind him and soldiers painted silver with brooms on their heads.  
When my family and I moved to the United States, I began to understand how precious it was for me to have grown up in Mexico. I had much more understanding of the world, not only academically but culturally. As I met new people I realized that even here, even though I was American, I still didn't completely fit in. I was different; I was born and raised somewhere else, spoke a different language as well as English and had an entirely different life experience than other people my age on both sides of the border. Although my life has been unusual and challenging at times, I finally appreciate how it has shaped me. Despite the fact I have lived in abject poverty, the lessons I learned are invaluable in preparing me for anything I want to do in the future.

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