When I was growing up, I never thought about my parents’ immigration status or the notion of being a “first generation” student. At that time, I didn’t even know what being first generation really meant. I wasn’t even aware that my parents were immigrants until I was in fifth grade.
While I was growing up I noticed that my parents were struggling to attain their visa and documentation papers because at the time there was something happening that immigrants couldn’t get their papers fast and they had to wait a long time. I didn’t know what was happening to them because I was just a child and I didn’t know what immigration was. They ended up getting their green cards and visas and that was actually really good. Now I realize that they were so fortunate to obtain their green cards because with the new administration in place it’s even more difficult to acquire proper documentation.
I enjoy being first generation because I can share some of the cultures and traditions of the United States with my parents like the 4th of July and Thanksgiving. And now that they have a visa they can now vote for the President of the United States which is very pleasant. But I like that my parents came from another country and that they each have their own traditions and culture and food.
Take my dad and mom for example, he comes from Guatemala and she from Mexico. They both have their own types of foods that they ate back home and I have to tell you they are delicious. Some of these foods are black beans with eggs and some corn tortillas, chiles rellenos, and tamales chapines. I am in love with this cuisine and I am happy that my parents have introduced me to them because of where they came from.
Additionally, since I am first generation, I had to learn English at school without the aid of my parents because they are only able to speak Spanish. And I have to say it was quite a struggle in the beginning because most of the kids knew how to speak English. Then there was me who didn’t understand English at all. So I had to learn in one way or another so that I wouldn’t fall behind.
My brother and I have taught our parents certain things to say in English and they slowly but surely seem to be improving. I am actually very proud of them now because it has been 16 years since they came to the United States because they came when I was going to be born and I am about to turn 16. So they have been here for almost 16 years and they seem to understand and speak English alright, but there are times where they say something wrong and my brother or I will help them out.
I am proud of my parents and their decision to come to the United States so that my brother and I could have a better life. I hope that one day I will be able to repay them in any way possible.