Being American

March

March 9

Worst. Day. Ever.

Today I can officially say it was the worst day ever.

After tennis practice, I look at my phone and there are four new voicemails from my mom. Her voice is distressed and all she said was to come home immediately. While I listened to each voicemail, I walked towards the parking lot where my dad picks me up.

He wasn't there...

I called my dad to see if he was on his way, but he didn't answer. His cell phone went straight to voicemail.

I knew something was wrong.

My friend gave me a ride home, and during the ride home I could hear my heartbeat pound in my chest. My stomach turned in ways it shouldn't.

When I got home, I walked in the front door, my hand was sweaty but I felt cold, I looked up after closing the door behind me and found my mom sitting in the middle of the living room.I'll never forget the moment. For a long time all she could do was hold me in her arms, crying and unable tp speak. I kept asking her what was wrong, I feeling her pain but was still so confused about what had happened.

As the sobs subsided, she started to tell me what had happened. As she spoke, I felt my whole world collapsing. A meteor had crashed through everything I had know. I felt like my life was over...and maybe it was. I began to cry, feeling the magnitude of what was happening to our family.

I still want to deny everything she told me. Maybe this is just a bad dream, and at any time I will wake up from this nightmare. Even as I sit here now, I can't accept what's happened.

My dad is gone...he was taken away by ICE

and soon ICE will be coming for my mom...

March 10

The. Next. Day.

My eyes feel heavy. They look like they have been stung by bees.

I am not sure if I even slept at all last night, but it sure feels I am in a terrible nightmare that I can't wake up from.

I'm afriad, mad, hurt, destroyed, and absolutely depressed.

I went to school today, but my mind didn't. All day I was thinking about my dad and if I was going to come home to an empty house.

I just want to pretend none of this is happening to me.

I didn't go to tennis practice today, I went straight home, couldn't wait another minute not seeing my mom. As I opened the door to my house I could feel my heart beating faster, and the moment I put a foot in the doorway I could hear my mom talking to someone. A sigh of relief came out.

She was on the phone with a lawyer, but from my mom's face it seemed like it wasn't going well.

I went to my room and as I laid on my bed, I closed my eyes and my tears were sliding down the side of my face into the concha of my ears and falling onto the sheets of the bed.

My head is pounding, and my mind won't stop thinking.

I know soon my mom will be coming downstairs to tell me I need to start packing and that we are leaving soon. I know that is our only option.

My mom is next if we don't do anything.


It's another sleepless night.

March 12

This. Friday. Sucks.

I should be excited that it's Friday today. Usually means I get to sleep in and hang out with my dad all weekend, but this Friday means packing everything we can.

My mom's talk with the lawyer went how I expected it did. The lawyer had no good news for her, which only confrimed her decision with moving and leaving everything behind.

We are putting our washer, dryer, dining set, and living room set into a friend's garage. What we are taking with us is our clothes, a few paintings, some home decors, some kitchen things, but leaving everything else behind.

Tonight is the last night I get to see this home full of my parents hard work.

Tomorrow is my last time I can call this my home...

I have been sitting in my closet starring at my clothes since I got home from school. I am not sure if I don't know where to start or if I am ready to make this nightmare real.

I know my mom is trying her best to figure out how to even handle this. She just lost her home, her life has turn upside down, and there is nothing I can do

I am trying to stay strong around her and give her so much faith and hope that everything will be okay.

Except I feel as useless as a pen with no ink.

March 13

My. Last. Night.

It's 3am and I am finally laying down. Even though my muscles are aching and my eyelids won't open, I can't fall asleep.

We spent all day packing and moving. I never thought I had the strength to move so many bags and boxes. Now all of our stuff is sitting in the living room and dining room of this man's house.

We waited really late to move the big appliances into my dad's friend's garage. My mom said we didn't want to look suspcious or draw attention from our neighbors.

Our home is empty but it has felt like that for the last five days.

While packing I saw something in my mom's eye I never seen before.

Fear.

Fear of losing everything her and my dad worked for.

Fear of being taken away.

Fear of the unknown.

I am going to try to get some sleep in this empty room. In a few hours we move in with a friend of the family, and never looking back.

My life is falling apart.

March 14

Not. Our. Home.

The place we moved into is big for only one person living in it. It's a two story home. There are two bedrooms upstairs, one is the masters which is the owner's room and the other is the guest, which is the room we are using.

Yesterday I was in my own bed and now I am sharing a queen size bed with my mom and sister.

Everynight I would read my book before going to bed and that would be around eleven o'clock sometimes even midnight. Now we are laying in bed by 10:30 and I don't know what to do with myself. If I move a little I will wake up my mom and she needs all the sleep she an get.

I miss my room. I miss my bed. I miss my life.

We now live 40 minutes away from my school. I hate mornings already and this is not helping. If I could only fall asleep, so I could just stop thinking.

Is this horrible nightmare every going to end?

March 18

I. Hate. Mondays.

I am glad today is over.

Today was the Mondayest Monday ever. But every day feels like that anyway.

Good news...

My mom told me that I get to see dad at the county jail tomorrow after school.

I mean I guess that's good news.

I have never been in or even close to any jail or prison. I am not even sure how it works. I wonder if I get to see my dad through a glass or maybe a little room like in movies. I so hope I get to hug me and kiss him!

Now thinking about it makes me excited

But yet a little broken inside.

Just another sleepless night.

March 19

The. County. Jail.

I saw my dad.

It was nothing like I imagined it was going to be.

The man who is letting us stay in his home drove my sister and me to the county jail.

The entire ride there I held the note my mom wanted me to give to my dad.

I wish she could of came, I don't know if they would handcuff my mom right then and there if she showed up with us, but we can't take that risk.

We walked through security and then entered this room full of computers screens. The security guard told us which computer to sit in front of and to just wait there.

After a few minutes the screen turned on and my dad was on the screen. It almost felt like I was doing a video call to him. I grabbed the microphone which looked like a landline phone and said “Hey daddy.” My dad had a phone on his side too.

Since I couldn't give my dad the note my mom gave me, I just read it to him

I could see him trying to hold in his tears. They cut his hair as if he was in the army. He looked pale and skinner.

His sense of humor was still there. He told me on his bracelet they put white as his race. We found it ironic.

It was nice being able to see my dad at least through a screen, but yet I feel so disappointed and hurt that we didn’t get to touch him.

It has been a long day. I really just want to sleep, I don't think I have anymore tears to shed for the rest of night.

March 22

This. Is. Serious.

Mom just told me today, they are going got be moving my father to a different facility.

She said he is moving to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. I guess there is detention center in Colorado where all undocumented immigrants are detained and then from there they go through a process to be deported back to their country.

All I know it's further away from us, and things are becoming more serious.

Why is this happening to us?

Today is the first day of Spring Break.

I guess I finally get to sleep in, and be with mom all day.

Lately school feels pointless anyway and I am exhausted.

March 26s

Before. My. Birthday.

Tomorrow is my birthday.

I am turning 15.

I came downstairs and saw my mom looking through our stuff. I asked her what she was doing, she said she was looking for something.

After a few minutes, she looks at me with a half smile on her face and watery eyes,

she takes a deep breathe and tells me dad and her were going to throw a surprise party for me.

They bought a charcoal grill to cook some burgers and were going to invite my friends over.

I really wanted to cry, I could feel my thorat closing and my eyes watering. But I held it all in, and smiled.

She then opens her right hand that was clenching the entire time, and as she opens I see somehing shine, it was beautiful necklace.

I grabbed my mom and hugged her so tight I couldn't even breathe. She began to cry, and all I could tell her is "Thank you."

I started imagining my birtday party. Hearing my dad laugh with his friends. Watching my mom get the patties ready for my dad to grill. Eating my mom's Peruvian appetizers with my friends.

I looked at my mom, forced a smile on my face and told her "everything will be okay."

March 27

It's. My. Birthday.

I am officially 15.

I should sound more excited about it.

But today sucked.

My dad’s friend picked me up to drive my sister and me to the ICE detention center.It was about a two and a half hour car ride. Once we got there we walked through security and into a waiting room. There were so many families in there, some with kids, but they all had the same look in their eyes. The look of pain. We waited for about 10 minutes and then a women came out from another door that was inside the waiting room. She had a piece a paper and called the last names of the inmates that were waiting for us to visit them. A few of them stood up when they heard the last names being called, I stood up when I heard my dad’s last name. We walked through the door and there were ten seats in front of a window and a few extras right next to them or behind them. In front of the chairs was a plexiglass window, on my side was a telephone, and on the other side was another telephone connected to the one on our side. I sat down in front of the window and waited. After a few minutes, the door opened on the other side, and my heart started racing, I saw my dad walking towards the window I was sitting in front of. I was so excited and my dad couldn’t stop smiling! We only had 30 minutes to talk. My dad started the conversation by wishing me a happy birthday and was so excited to show me a picture he drew me. He opened up a paper he folded in four, turned it around and there was a cake with 15 candles. It was a beautiful. He couldn’t give it to me right there because of the rules. Thirty minutes flew by so quickly, and inside me felt like it was the last time I would be seeing him. We said our goodbyes and in my dad’s eye I could see the sadness drowning him. The drive home was quiet to the point I could hear my tears drop to my lap. Now I am in this room, kneeling in front of this lit candle praying to a God I can’t see, to bring my life back, to bring my dad back to me. Why is this happening?

Happy Birthday to me.

April

April 17

I. Am. Exhausted.

Weeks have passed and nothing has changed. Everything is still in limbo.

It’s the second week of school after spring break, and I have been trying to not break down.

I don’t like living in a stranger’s home.

I don’t like sleeping in one bed with my mom and sister.

I don’t like my life.

There is part in me that is hopeful. Hopeful my life will go back to what it use to be. Hopeful I will wake up to the smell of bacon on a Saturday morining and my parents talking about the news or what we are going to be doing for the rest of the day or weekend. Hopeful I will watch every football game with my dad and cheer on our favorite team. Hopeful I will laugh and smile again, and mean it.

Everyday I’m scared for my family, and I’m exhausted. This fear is exhausting.

April 24

Goodbye. Our. Things.

It’s Saturday, and another week has passed.

We started selling our belongings.

We have many thing that isn't necessary anymore to have. We are selling some of our things that are pricey through craiglist, but most it we are selling through these garage sales we are going to have almost every Saturday.

My mom put me in charge in posting our things in craiglist, such as outdoor decor, like our water fountain. I also am posting a few of our furniture we took with us and didn't leave in our home, like the small table we used in the front entry of our home and the bar stools.

In the garage sale we are selling all the toys and children things my mom had in her daycare. My dad's toolkits and lawn mower is out there.

I know we are keeping our clothes and some miscellaneous items that are important to my mom.

In my eyes everything I could ever call my own is disappearing. Seeing strangers grab my dad's things and purchase it for less than $10 feels like a stab in the back.

Every item that gets sold makes this nightmare worse and if there is no turning back now.

This money we are saving from selling our belongings is so we can survive.

If only selling all these things meant my dad could come back to us, this wouldn't be creating such an empty hole in my heart.

April 30

Another. Boring. Day.

Sunday's used to be spent watching football with my dad. Now I am spending it in this room that I hate. How did it all change with a blink of an eye? How did I never appreciate every moment I had with my dad, every second that I got to spend with him. I miss screeming at the tv with him when football players would do something stupid. I miss laughing at his jokes or driving with him everywhere. I miss my dad.

But it's just a boring day with my thoughts.

May

May 2

I. Feel. Stuck.

Living with this man is so scary.

He is always yelling at my mom. Saying she needs to pay him, but when we moved in he told us his home is ours, and now he wants us to pay him for all the months we were here.

I don’t know what we are going to do… We have no one, we have no where to go.

My mom can’t work or otherwise the ICE will find her and take her from us. I can’t work yet. I feel stuck, I wish I could help. I can only imagine how my mom feels...

May 20

I. Am. Scared.

We have to move.

This man we’ve been living with is threatening my mother that he is going to call ICE and report her.

I am so sacred.

What if he does?

What would happen to my sister and me?

When will this nightmare end?

May 21

Last. School. Day.

It is the last day of school.

I’ve been looking forward to summer break, glad that I will be able to spend everyday with my mom that I will be able to spend the whole day with my mom.

My mom has been looking for a new place for us.

I know she has been contacting a friend of hers from her old job, but I don't know how much he can help us.

We can't afford rent. We can't go back to our house.

We are drowning in quicksand made out of situation after another.

I hope she finds it soon…I don’t think we can live here anymore.

May 24

Back. To. Peru.

My dad is being sent back to Peru.

My mom just got a call that he will be leaving on Wednesday.

I can’t believe they are actually deporting him.

I can’t believe my dad is being taken away from me.

I mean I knew this would happen, but I didn't think that day would be so soon.

My mom seems as if she already expected this to come this early. She was calm and silent. I wasn't sure if to cry or if to just sit here with her in silence.

My mom needs me to be strong and give her hope, I can't break down in front of her, not right now.

I don't know what will happen once my dad gets to Peru. Who is going to get him from the airport? Who will he stay with? I want to ask my mom, but I don't think she knows. She is silent still, but her face shows concern and confusion.

This is my dad's home. This country has been my parents home for 18 years.

They went through so much to get here, to live a better life. To live the "American Dream."

They tried so hard to become citizens, but were denied twice, before and after I was born.

After so much money spent on lawyers and getting notified that they were getting deported, they knew the only way was to move to another state, and continue to work hard.

My parents only have each other as family. My dad has no one in Peru. He is going back to a country that is now an unknown place to him. This is his home, his family is here. I am his daughter, a U.S. citizen, and there is nothing I can do to stop this.

How am I suppose to stay strong when the light at the end of the tunnel only gets further away and darker?

May 26

He. Is. Gone.

My dad was deported today, we didn’t get to say goodbye…

I didn't get to hug him goodbye.

I didn't get to kiss him goodbye.

My dad is gone.

May 31

Found. A. Place.

My mom found a place for us to live, we’re moving in three weeks.

We are moving to this women’s home. She is my mom's friend's sister. I thought he couldn't help us but I was fortanely wrong.

She has her basement available for us. My mom went with her friend yesterday to meet with this women, and I guess it's good to move there.

The problem is we haven’t told the man who has been verbally abusing my mother that we are leaving.

I can’t wait to leave. I don’t want anymore nights where I am holding my sister and we are crying together until we hear silence, no shouting, nothing. Then, after a few minutes we would hear his room door open and close, and then my mom would come to us and hold us until we both fell asleep.

I want my old life back, where we were safe and happy. Where my family was together.

Where I had my own bed, my own room, my dad...

I just want to be home...

June

June 2

My. Bestfriend's. Birthday.

Today is my best friend’s birthday. I am not sure if I am going to see her today. I haven’t seen anyone since summer started.

But when you are scared and all you want to do is be next to the only family members you have left, you shut everyone else out.

But hey, Happy Birthday Best Friend.

June 7

My. Dad's. Birthday.

Today was my dad’s birthday.

He is in Peru, living with an old friend of my parents.

We got to Skype him and wish him a happy birthday.

He looked skinner than ever. His eye were sunked in, as if he hadn't slept in days. Not sure if it was the camera but his skin looked pale.

My dad looked sick, but his smile was full of joy.

He was telling my mom how different Peru looks and how the food hasn't changed.

We cried. We laughed. We smiled.

It was our first birthday being so far from each other.

But I got to see his face, hear his voice, see his smile, even if it was through a computer screen.

June 10

Little. By. Little.

Over the last two weeks, we have slowly been moving our things to our new place.

We’ve been careful not to show any signs that we are leaving, moving only small amounts of things at a time. My mom has been scared to tell the man that we’re leaving.

But today is the day. We have probably three more trips to do, and we are out of this place.

June 11

Holding. Us. Hostage.

Yesterday was so scary...

The man came home earlier than we expected and saw us moving things to our cars.

At first I thought he was going to start yelling at us again, but he went inside his house and we didn’t see him for awhile.

So we packed the car and my mom went over to the new place we were moving to. My little sister and I stayed behind to get the second load ready.

By the time my mom came back to get the second to last load it was 9:00pm. When my mom got to the man’s house he was in the garage yelling at me. Asking where we are going and when my mom is going to pay him. I didn't know what to say, I just wanted him to stop yelling.

I heard the truck pulling into the garage as I turned my head I saw my mom get out of the car, her face was red and her eyes had fire in them. She started yelling at him. I immediately grabbed my sister and stood behind my mom.

He told her if she doesn’t pay him for all those months we were there that he will call ICE right now. My heart stopped, and I know my mom’s heart stopped too because she stopped yelling back, got quiet and started crying.

She told him she would pay him, but to let her load her truck and when she comes back for her last load that she will give him the money.

He agreed, but he demanded her that my sister and I had to stay here.

HE WAS HOLDING US HOSTAGE!!!

My hands and feet were ice cold. My hands couldn't stop shaking, as if I had three cups of coffee

I helped packed the car and my mom looked at me told me every thing will be okay and left. It was getting dark and really late and all I could hear was my mom's voice telling me everything will be okay...

I sat in the garage and held my sister on my lap as tight as I could.

I needed my mom to come home as quickly as possible, I had no idea what this man was capable of doing.

It started to rain so I had to close the garage door, I didn't want to, but it was getting really cold, and I didn't want to go inside that man's house.

Time seem to be going by so slowly, but yet it was almost midnight.

My mom came back and brought the money, it was everything we earned at the garage sales. My mom's friend came too but he was hiding in the back of the truck. My mom didn't want the man who was holding us hostage to know she was getting help from her friend.

The last load had some heavy items and it was still raining outside and only getting colder,but somehow my mom and I had the strength to carry these things.

The last load was completely packed and the crazy man came back out again into the garage.

I quickly rushed into his house to give it one last look making sure we weren't missing anything and as I came back out my mom was giving him the money.

I grabbed my sister and put her in the truck.

As my mom starts walking towards the truck, my mom's friend goes to our other car, starts it and drives away.

My mom gets in the truck, looks at me, grabs my hand and says,"it's over."

We drove away and did not look back.

Today, I woke up in a stranger’s home again, but I know this time we are safe.

June 18

The. New. Place.

We have been here for a week now and it’s not bad. The woman and her husband who accepted us to live here are really sweet people. We spend most of our time in the basement trying to organize the mess we brought.

The basement is a decent size. We have our own bathroom, but we are still sleeping in one bed. As much as I miss my room I feel better sleeping next my mom, it gives me security.

All of our things are in the living room of the basement.

The things we still have are like home decor stuff and some furniture, which I am still posting them on craigslist. Back to square one, trying to save up some money.

I know this isn’t home but at least I my mom is safe and that's all that matters right now.

June 22

My. New. Laptop.

My mom bought me a laptop since we sold my desktop computer. I need to do my homework with some kind of technology.

We have been skyping my dad as often as we can. The problem is sometimes he doesn’t have a computer, so days go by without hearing how he is.

I have never ever been so far away from my dad and not knowing when is the next time I will see him.

This hurts so much.

June 30

Selling. Our. Truck.

I have been spending everyday of my summer next to my mom.

I use to spend everyday with my friends going to movies or spending the night at my bestfriend's place.

Every summer my family and I would go to Elitches and spend all day their riding all the water parks and every rollercoaster we could.

My summer's were fun and now I sit here in front of my laptop trying to sell our truck. The first vehicle my parents bought brand new. This truck that drove us from Louisiana, where I was born to here, Colorado.

I have never sold a truck or any kind of car in my life before. But we need to sell it. We need the money so we can send some of it to my dad so he can buy food and pay for his rent.

I miss my old summers.

July

July 4

Fourth. Of. July.

Today symbolizes a day of freedom and opportunity.

A day to be proud to be an American.

Yet, it’s hard for me to be a proud American right now.

I was taught this country was full of opportunities for anyone who had the drive to work hard and strive for success. My parents were an example of that. Since I could remember my parents drilled me on how important education is and how lucky I am to have been born here. In my parents eye's this country was majestic and full of growth.

All I can see is a country full of hate and betrayal.

My parents contributed to the economy. They always paid their taxes. They were good citizens. They never committed a crime. The only crime they ever did was getting here illegally. But it's not like they didn't try to fix it! How can the country I call my home, my birth place, just take my parents from me?

I had it all and now I have lost it all, and everyday something that was ours is now someone else’s.

Freedom and opportunity has been stripped away from my parents in a blink of an eye.

Yet, my mom, my sister, and I sat together and watched the fireworks and celebrated the independence of this country.

July 13

Missing. My. Friends.

I haven’t seen any of my friends.

They invite me to places but I can't leave my mom. She feels safer with me by her side. She is unsafe if we go to places because if she got pulled over they were take her away. If somehow ICE found out she was here they would take her away. Having me here just maybe they wouldn't, knowing she has my sister and me to still take care of. I am not sure how it all works, I just know she feels better with me here, and I feel less scared knowing she is not being taken away the same way my dad was.

I don’t know what is going to happen when I have to go back to school.

I don't want to thin about school.

July 15

Faith. And. Hope.

My dad got an appointment to talk to the United States embassy in Peru to see if he can come back home with a visa.

There is a lot of paperwork he needs to fill out before the 28th. But this can be it! There is hope he will come back home!

We can be a whole family again!

We could move back to our house!

I am not sure how we would get our things back, but that doesn't matter! As long as my family isn't seperated anymore, I don't care about anything else!

The 28th can't come any sooner!

July 28

Back. To. Normal.

Today is the day!

My dad should be calling sometime later today.

It has been a long time that I've been in a good mood!

I got butterflies in my stomach!

I have been praying everyday since my dad has made that appointment!

I know He is listening. My mom told me before my faith can move moutains, and I have poured out all my faith to Him.

My dad will be back and everything will be normal again...

July 29

He. Failed. Me.

My dad was denied.

He cannot come back to the United States for another 10 years.

Since he didn't listen to the first warning of deportation this is his punishment.

I am speechless...

My body feels empty.

Did God even listen to my prayers? Does He even exist?

July 31

My. Goodbye. Note.

August

August 3

I. Love. You.

My note gets heavier and heavier in my pocket.

It has been three days since I sat on the cold cover of the toilet seat holding a razor and looking at the veins of my left wrist.

All I could think about was my sister at first. "What a selfish thing to do" is what she was going to say.

I couldn't stop crying. I cried picturing my sister, knowing she would feel abandoned.

Then I started thinking of how many more notes I needed to leave. A note for anyone I loved or were big part of my life.

I thought to myself, I don't want them to hurt, I don't want them to think they are to blame.

But at the same time, I knew I couldn't survive another day.

Empty. Alone. Dark. Sad. Hopeless.

I closed my tear-filled eyes. I was ready to leave this earth. But I hadn't written those letters.

Then three seconds later, I hear a knock on the door. It was my little sister, asking if she could use the bathroom.

At first I didn't say anything, but then I said, "hold on." I took a deep breathe, closed my eyes, I knew it wouldn't be tonight. I wanted to kiss my sister. There were things left to do and say. I opened the door, and there she was doing a pee pee dance. I smiled at her and said "I love you."

She was the reason I didn't go through. She was my sign to stop and think.

My hoplessness hasn't left me. My sadness, darkness, and desperation didn't get better right away.

Three days ago, I wanted to end my life. Truly wanted to. I wanted to end my life, but I didn't. I didn't.

August 9

Sister's. New. School.

We found my little sister a new school closer to the house we live in so that my mom can have an easier commute to drop her to school.

Her new school is nice. We met her teacher too and she is lovely. She is definitely a 3rd grade teacher, she is so cheerful. The teacher walked my mom and I to my sister's new desk. She has her own little name tag. My heart filled with so much joy seeing her name tag. I don't know what it was, but walking through her new school, seeing her desk, watching my sister's face loving all of this gave me a little bit of hope that everything will be okay.

I only hope she can adjust to this change. She is turning eight soon and she deserves a good school. She deserves a good life.

She deserves to have me in her life.

August 17

First. School. Day.

Today was the first day of school for me. I had to wake up at 5am and then stay at my best friend's house until school started.

Since my mom needs to get my sister ready and her take her to school, my mom's friend who found us this place to live in works at the airport which is close to my school, offered to drop me off and pick me up from school. The only crappy thing about this is school starts at 8am, and my mom's friend has work at 6:30am...

Luckily I found a solution, rather than my mom's friend dropping me off at school so early, he is dropping me off at my friends house. Her house is right behind our high school, so it’s a quick walk to school.

Sadly I will be getting their so early like I did today and my friend is still asleep so I just get to lay on her floor until she gets up. How I wish I could have still been sleeping till seven like I use to.

I am not good with falling back asleep after I have been up for awhile so just laying there on the floor, only had me thinking how much this sophomore year is going to suck.

August 21

Sister's. Birthday. Party.

My little sister turned eight today.

My mom and I got her a cake to sing her Happy Birthday. We tried to make today as warm and fun for her as possible. My sister isn't the most vocal person or shows her emotion, but I am sure this must be so difficult for her. Spending a birthday without dad for the first time ever, it's painful.

Her last birthday we spend it at a cool water park with so many friends and families, and this year she gets a tiny cake, our dad taken from us, and a broken family.

I just hope loving her is enough. She is so innocent and kind.

I love her so much it pains me to know she is hurting.

I hope she had a good birthday.

September

September 3

It's Labor. Day.

Three day weekend!

I get to sleep in, something I haven't done in awhile.

I am excited to spend today with my mom and sister even if we aren't doing anything, but all I really want to do is lay on this bed and be alone with my thoughts.

I am never physically alone. I don't have a place where I can escape. There is always someone around me.

I would have never thought I would want be alone, but I don't know what privacy is anymore and I miss it.

September 22

No. School. Today.

I woke up this morning not feeling well.

My head hurt, but it didn't feel like a normal headache.

My eyes felt so much pressure when I would close or open them, and when I looked at things they weren't clear. My head throbed and pulsated on both sides.

And the moment I got up to go to the bathroom I was incredibly nauseas.

I asked my mom if I could stay home, and she said of course. I believe she loves it when I am home with her. I think she doesn't feel lonely. And it helps me knowing I won't be at school only thinking about her.

September 30

Another. Sucky. Day.

I stayed home today.

Someone finally wants to our truck, and they are coming by today araound 4pm.

I helped cleaned the truck. There wasn't much to clean since my mom has been cleaning it everyday just in case someone decided to buy it right there.

Four o'clock rolled by quickly. My mom and I were sitting at the kitchen table when we herd the knock.

It was a Mexican man who didn't really speak English. My mom gave him a piece a paper that gave him ownership of the truck. He gave my mom the money in cash. She handed him the keys, we walked him toward the door and my mom walked with him to the truck. I stayed by the door watching my mom show him things inside the truck. They shook hands. My mom walked back to me. The man started the truck, backed out of the drive way and drove away.

Tears were falling down my face. I didn't realize how hard this was until I saw someone else driving away with the truck my dad would drive to work everyday. The truck I pratically grew up with, that has been in our family since I was five.

For me, that was the last thing we had that was my dad's. The only thing I had left that gave me hope that my dad could come back. Now it's gone and all I have left is my memories adn realizing he isn't coming back.

October

October 12

I. Feel. Sick.

I woke up again feeling like a truck ran over my head. I webMD my symptoms and said I have migraines. Last time I had this I just slept it off so I hope it works again.

I should care that I am not going to school again, but honestly I could careless.

I just want to sleep and forget about the world for a day.

October 16

Migraines. After. Migraines.

My mom made an appointment this morning to see my physician on Monday. I am adding another problem on my mom's plate and it's definitely not what I want to do.

But this pain in my head grows more and more as if my sadness is its power source.

Hopefully my doctor can just give me some pills and this can just be over.

I really just want to go back to feeling normal. Then again, what is normal anymore?

October 18

Lasted. Three. Hours.

I was sitting in class today. I thought I was feeling better, but right before class ended my vision was getting blurry and the right side of my head started pounding! All of a sudden, every noise in the classroom made my head throb more and more. My teacher's voice, the pencil touching and moving across the paper, the chatting of two people in the back. My ears could hear each person's breath. My head felt like it was going to explode. My eyes couldn't stay open because the fluorescent light of the classroom only made it worse.

The bell rang and I immediately went to the front desk to call my mom to pick me up.

I waited for my mom on the benches that were in the front office. It was lunch time so everyone was out in the hallways walking around or getting lunch. My two best friends walked by the office and saw me through the windows and made a face of what's going on They walked in and sat next to me and asked me what I was doing. I told I felt really sick, but didn't give them any details. Just said my mom was heading this wasy to pick me up.

I could see in their face of concern and wanted to ask questions, but instead they hugged me and said I they hope I get better soon.

They know I am going through a hard time, but they really don't know anything. I haven't been at school in such a long time, that I don't remember the last thing we talked about. I hate that I am keeping them in the dark, but what's the point in telling them when no one can help me or my family.

I saw my mom opened one of the front doors. I grabbed my backpack, said bye to the front lady and walked towards my mom. She grabbed my hoodie put it over my head and then grabbed my hand.

The pain in my head wasn't going away yet the moment my mom grabbed my hand I felt slighly better.

October 19

What. Is. Wrong.

The nurse took my weight, my height, my blood preasure, and asked how I am feeling.

I described my migraines and she then asked if I knew what was causing them, I said no.

I told her there are days I where I get them all day long, and other days I don't get them at all or only for a few hours. The only thing that has been helping is sleeping.

She was typing everything I was saying, and then asked what medicine I take when I get these headaches. I looked at my mom for the answer, I had no idea what she was giving me. My mom said ibuprofen or advil. She then asked how long I have been getting these migraines. I said about three weeks now. For a while the only noise was the typing of the nurse on the computer. She then said the doctor will be with us shortly and to let her know if we needed anything. My mom answered her back with a thank you.

After about five minutes my doctor knocks on the door and asked if she could come in. My mom said yes.

My doctor went through the same questions as the nurse did. I answered her the same way I answered the nurse. She then checked my eyes, my ears, and inside my mouth.

She said "everything looks fine on your chart, what's going on?"

In my head I said "you have no idea." I looked at my mom hoping she can answer this for me too, but all she did was nod as if she approved for me to tell my doctor what was going on.

So I did.

My mom was crying. My doctor was tearing up. The nurse was trying to hold it in. For the first time ever I explained to a stranger, and it felt weird...

After a long silence, my doctor offered my mom and me her condolences and diagnosed me with depression. She then prescribed me medicine for my migrains and nausea.

After writing my prescription my doctor talked to my mom outside of the room. Not sure what that was about, but I didn't feel asking questions or talking in that case.

The ride home was quiet. The only thing my mom said was I am getting more tests, just to make sure there isn't anything wrong with my head.

And I thought I found the answer...depression.

October 20

Mom's Birthday. Today.

It was lovely and sad today

My alarm went off at five. I immediately grabbed my iPod and turned it off. I turned my head to face my mom and with a smile on my face I said "Happy Birthday Mami."

She turned her head to face me, grabbed my hand and squeezed it so tight, and said "Gracias mi hermosa."

I then took my medicine and fell back asleep.

That night we skyped my dad and it was nice, yet hurtful.

We caught up with my dad on his journey in Peru. He still looks skinny and pale, but his smile is warming. We laughed about stories my dad told. Yet, tears were shed when we recognized how sad it is that we are apart on this special day. If this isn't easy for my mom or me, I can't imagine how my dad feels when he is absolutely alone.

"How many more birthdays are we going to spend apart" is the question that has been running through my mind all night.

How does anyone live with this constant pain and distance?

My heart aches.

October 28

CAT. And. EEG.

The doctor ran all of my test on my head today.

The CAT scan was pretty neat. I had to lay still for thirty minutes while half of my body was in this cocoon shape machine.

After that I had to do my EEG test. I sat on this super comfy chair and the nurse placed these little wires all over my scalp. That one took a long time. I actually I had to fall asleep so they could see any strange activity in my brain.

Taking out the wires was a little icky. I had goop from the wires all over my scalp. I couldn't wait to get home to wash it off.

Now my mom and I have to wait for the results.

I am sure I am fine since the pills for my migraine help at times.

But I know taking these tests help my mom feel a little better, cause I know she feels like she is helping me with whatever is going on in my head. Even though I know its this whole life we are living in.

I just hope the results come back negative, or whatever good thing doctors say.

October 31

It's. Halloween. Day.

My mom dressed my sister as a cute little witch. We took her around to a few houses. I know my mom is trying to take advantage of holidays like these to make this situation slightly better for us.

Especially for my sister. She is so young and so innocent. She doesn't deserve to be away from dad, living in a basement of a stranger, and sleeping in one bed with us.

She is only eight. I don't even know if she fully understands what is going on. She is just so sweet and strong.

November

November 2

Can't. Do. It.

I broke down today.

I told my mom I can't live this way anymore.

That I need our family together. So I suggested, but more like persuaded that we should move to Peru and start our lives there, together. I told her that my sister and I can adapt.

She looked at me without saying a word at first, and said no, she doesn't like the idea. That this country is my home, and if we moved to Peru, I would be behind in school, becuase English is my first language.

She then went on to say Peru is a third world country and we wouldn't get the benefits that I get here.

I immediately fired back saying I didn't care about any of that. I care about our family. We need to be together. A family needs to be together.

I held her hand and cried hoping she would understand me.

After such a long and draining conversation she fianlly agreed, and told me to start looking for plane tickets.

We are moving to Peru...

November 4

I. Am. Clear.

My scans and test came in today. My physician called my mom to let her know they didn't find anything wrong. Every thing looks good.

I know my mom feels better knowing nothing physically is wrong with me. I do too.

One less worry now, even though my migraines haven't stopped I don't want to worry my mom anymore.

November 8

We. Got. Tickets.

December 15th it is. Two stops. Total of 14 hours.

It is going to be a long journey, but we will finally be reunited with my dad.

Just thinking about it gives me goosebumps! A whole new world. A new beginning.

But most importanly, we fianlly get to be together again.

My heart just keeps skipping a beat just thinking about it!

November 17

A. Moving. Company.

After hours of researching the best and secure international moving company, I finally found one.

Since we are taking our refrigerator and leather couches that my mom seems she cant depart from, I had to make sure how much all of that would be. I am not a big fan of calling anyone, so this process is very uncomforatable for me. But at least I am helping my mom, and I know doing all of this takes maybe just a little stress off of her.

We also started putting all of our things in boxes and labeling each box with a number. I made another sheet with what each box contains.

Since we have been doing this, it has been feeling more real. I am so scared and excited at the same time. I have never been on anairplane before or even a different country!

I still think my mom is unsure about all of this.

I can't blam her, but my life can't move on without my family together.

November 19

I. Want. This.

I told my best friend that I am leaving.

We were practically sitting in a pond made out of our tears.

A friendship of seven years, where we would see each other everyday, is not going to be different.

We started reminiscing about the good ol' days, like if we were eight years old.

We promised each other we would keep in touch all the time, and that our friendship would only get stronger.

I am going to miss my life here. I have my friends here, people who have been with me since I was in kindergarten. But I have to leave all of that behind. I can't live in this basement anymore. I can't live knowing my mom is living in fear. I can't live like this anymore!

I want this. I want to move where my dad is. I want my family together again.

November 24

Let's. Give. Thanks.

Good old Thanksgiving tomorrow.

Another holiday we are spending apart.

I am starting to hate birthdays and holidays.

I cannot wait for the 15th of Decemeber. I need this day to come sooner. All I can think about is seeing my dad and hugging him again. Feeling his warm tight hugs. Having long conversations about sports. I miss him so much right now. I wish he was here. I wish that my life never changed.

December

December 3

The. Withdrawal. Papers.

I went to my advisor today to get to get my withdrawal papers for my teaches to sign, since I won't be here for my finals.

I need all seven of teachers to sign and either tell me what my final grade will be or let me know if I can take the final early for their class.

As long as they don't ask questions this should be easy.

One last step and we move to Peru. If someone told me a year ago that I would be moving to a whole different country, I wouldn't come close to believing them. But here I am holding a piece paper that sets me free from this school and to a new journey.

December 8

One. Last. Signature.

The signature process was going smoothly for the most part. Most of my teachers signed the paper and added what my final grade would be. I had a few teachers where I had to write a paper and turn it in before I left. But one teacher made today extremely weird.

I believe this teacher doesn't like me very much, which I can't blame her. I am never at school anymore practically.

But after her class today, I handed her the papers for her to sign. She then proceeded to start asking me questions:

"Why are you withdrawing?"

I said I am moving to Peru to live with my dad.

"Are you coming back?"

I said "no."

"Is it immigration?"

At this point a lot of things went through my head. I haven't told anyone but my best firend what is going on. I didn't want to tell anyone, but then something in me, almost like a gut feeling told me to be open.

So I answered her with a yes and explianed very little of what was going on.

What I was not prepared for was what happened next.

She offered her home to me.

She said that I could live with her so I can finish high school. At first I was left speechless. Who just offers their home to a complete stranger?

I politely declined her offer letting her know my mom would not accept this kind offer, because she is a strict person and would never want me to be out of her sight.

We ended it with her saying that the offer still stands and that she understands.

I came home ready to tell my mom what happened at school today, little did I know my mom was going to give me a heartattack.

When I finished telling my mom the story, she said "that is it, that is a great idea, you will be living with your teacher.

We are skyping my dad tomorrow, so he can put some sense in to my mom. But I have a bad feeling about this.

December 9

Dad. Said. No.

The Skype call went as I thought it would. My dad was against it. He argued with my mom that I need to be together with our family. He also said that they wouldn't be able to live a life without worrying about me. But of course my mom convinced him. She said she understood all his points, but that they need to think about my future.

I understood my mom's point and I know this is hard on her too, but how does she not understand this is my decision. I am the one that wants to move to Peru. I am the one that wants the family to be together.

But I have no say in this...I am living with strangers again.

Why is this happening? Why can't it just go my way for once.

December 11

My. Teacher's. Home.

We had a lovely dinner at my teacher's house. Her house was very nice and quiet big. Her husband picked us up from here and took us to his and my teacher's place.

During the car ride he seemed like a very nice guy. He had classical music on and didn't say much, but the environment was calming and peaceful.

For dinner we had a delicious soup. It was nice to sit around a table and kind of feel like a family.

After dinner, my teacher gave us a tour of her beautiful home, everything was lit up with christmas light and decorations. Our last stop was showing us the room I would be staying in.

It was beautiful as well. The decoration of the room was as if a young princess lived there.

Overall it was a beautiful night.

But I still don't understand why is this happening...

December 13

Can't. Be. Happy.

The international movers came today.

We showed them everything we want them to take so they could figure out what to take first into the huge truck they brought.

Two men started taking the couches and two other ones were taking the refrigerator. After that they started talking the boxes.

All the moving took less than an hour.

I was impressed.

After they left everything became so much more real.

I want to be happy about this! I want my heart to be cheerful, but it can't.

We all are flying to Peru, but I am the only one coming back to live with my teacher. Moving to Peru was my idea! Being together as a family in Peru was my idea! When did all that change? I don't understand! I am visiting Peru for three weeks and coming back.

I just can't win. I just can't be happy.

December 15

And. We're. Off.

Off we go!

Right now we are heading to Dallas, and then from Dallas to Panama City, and Panama City to Peru.

My mom had been packing all night long, I am not sure if she slept at all. We left the house around 5 in the morning and landed in Dallas Fort Worth aroud 10 in the morning.

This is all us our first time being on a plane. This is such a different experience for me. Helping my mom and sister navigate through airports and having this be my first time is kind of difficult. So mant different annocuments here and there, taking a train to get to the right gate. It's a whole another world out there.

We have a long day and night ahead of us and I am ready to sleep. I am just not sure if I will be able to. I cannot wait to see my dad at the end of this trip! I will finially will get to hug my dad!

This trip will have a happy ending...at least for awhile.

December 16

We. Have. Landed.

This is it!

We are now only feets away from seeing my dad.

The only feelings I have right now is tingling in my tummy and skin getting sticky.

I had no idea Peru was humid. Last time I was in a humid place it was ten years ago in the place I was born!

When the plane was landing, my little sister was so amazed by all the lights in the city. I was too, if this place is beautiful at night I wonder how it looks like during the day!

We are finally getting off the plane!

I have been waiting for this moment for a very long time now!

We are going to be together again!

December 21

Beautiful. And. Different.

We have been here for five days!

Peru is so different from the United States

Some places are beautiful and others are just not developed yet. It is crazy how one block can look so beautiful with remodeled homes and well taken care neighborhood. While right across the street some homes haven't finished building, as if it as okay if the roof was covered by sheet only.

The tourist places are magnificent. Palm trees everywhere. Stores and restaurants that I know, such as Gap and TGIF.

The best thing that Peru has, is their food!

The authentic peruvian food is to die for!

Right now we are staying in this old apartment that looks out to the beach, which is pretty neat. My sister and I have never seen the ocean. I mean I have when I was very little but I don't remember that, so I count this as my first time.

The best thing about being here, is being with my dad. Being together as family again. For the last five days and four nights I have hugged and kissed my dad good morning and goodngnight.

After nine long months I have my family together.

Yet all of this will end soon. In three weeks I will be moving in with my teacher.

I will be leaving my family behind.

But I don't want to think about that right now. I just want to enjoy every second that I have with my family and appericate the beauty this country offers.

It's all beautiful and different.

December 24

It's. Christmas. Eve.

Christmas Eve is my favorite day! And it's here!

We are going over to a family friend's house on my mom's side to celebrate!

It is summer here, so for the first time ever I will be wearing shorts and a cute shirt rather than a sweater and a heavy jacket.

At midnight there will be firworks going off everywhere! I can already hear people outside celebrating with music and drinking beers!

I will be cherishing the time I spend with my family today, because I don't know when will be the next time I will be celebrating Christmas with them again.

December 25

It's. Christmas. Day.

Feliz Navidad!

We didn't get Christmas gifts this year, but being together again, is the only gift I need.

We are not doing anything special today, just relaxing at home. I think later tonight we are going back my mom's family friend again. Peruivans never stop partying it seems like.

But it's nice just sleeping in and spending every moment with my dad, mom, and sister. I would love for time to stop now, so I can just stay living this moment forever.

But time just keeps going...

January

January 1

The. New. Year.

Happy New Year!!!

Right when it hit midnight, Peru lit up like a firecracker.

Fireworks were going off everywhere. Champagne bottles popping in every single home. We were at my dad's friend's apartment welcoming the new year. It was nice meeting a friend from my dad's childhood. I felt like I was finally getting to meet and understand my dad's childhood. I felt even closer to my dad and even my mom when I met her friend over Christmas. There is so much history in Peru that my parents never talked about it and I never even asked about.

The entire city of Lima, Peru was celebrating together. It was a wonderful night dancing and eating peruvian food.

My heart was filled with so much love watching my parents kiss at midnight. It was another of those moments where I just wanted time to stop.

I just wonder now what the year 2011 will bring us.

January 3

Four. Days. Left.

My time in Peru is running out.

In a few days I will be moving in with my teacher.

I am still confused on why is this happening. Why does my mom think this is right choice? Why can't I just be with my family? None of this is fair!

I don't my teacher or her husband! I only met her husband once. I barely went to her class. These people are strangers to me!

I am going to be all by myself!

My family is here. My home is where my family is.

I don't want to go.

I am not strong enough to leave my family and be all alone.

I am just not strong.

January 6

Packed. And. Positive.

Fully packed.

My flight is tomorrow at 10pm.

My parents are being so positive over this situation. Telling me everything will be okay. That this is for best. That the U.S. is my country and I need to continue my education there.

I understood everything that they are saying. But for me none of that matters. My chose is to be here with my family.

This hurts me so much. In less than 24 hours my heart will be split in two.

I am going to be alone. I won't have my mom or my sister. Did I make the wrong chose, making my mom and sister move to Peru? Were we fine just living in that basement away from my dad? Was this all my fault?

I am feeling dead inside,

and I thought feeling this way was over.

January 7

I'm. Only. 15.

I haven't stopped crying since I said my goodbyes.

We got to the airport almost three hours early. I checked in my bags and got my boarding pass. My mom, dad, and sister all came to say their goodbyes. We waited by security for about an hour. We didn't say much, but my mom and dad couldn't stop holding my hand or just touching my arms. I held my sister on my lap, not wanting to let her go.

I kissed my mom, my dad, and my sister goodbye.

I gave each one of them the longest hug I have ever given to anyone.

My pain inside only grew more when I saw tears coming down my sister's face. I left her. I won't be there to see her grow and hit her milestones.

I left my parents. The only people I have as family.

I just left my home. I am going back to my country all by myself.

And I am only 15.

Now

Now

Who. Am. I.

My American Journey.