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Night Train

By Diana Juan Juan

My name is Diana, I am from Guatemala and I am going to talk about how my life changed for wanting to reach the American dream. In the United States my family and I are immigrants, I went through the hardest moments of my life. When I was in my country I lived with my mom, sisters and brother. While my dad lived here in the United States we had a hard moment because we couldn’t see him for a long time and it felt like we did not have a dad to look up to, ask for advices, and make jokes with us.

For me it was really hard and sad to stay in Guatemala, when my parents decided to come to the United States I had to live with my grandparents for 4 years. In those 4 years it felt like time did not go by because I was not used to living with my grandparents, even though it was my blood and they were always dedicating their time for me, I could not handle being without my parents. It got even worse when I was told that I had to stop going to school because my grandparents lived too far from the city and from any school, but I had no other choice since they were the only close family I had at that moment.

I cannot find the words to describe the moment when I was told that I could reunite with my parents after those 4 long years. My trip started with a bad news when immigration told my dad that I could not travel by as plane a punishment for living in Guatemala for too many years without the United States’ permission and not having all the proper paper work. After receiving all of that bad news I made a decision that no matter what, I was going to be with my family again. Throughout my trip I had to cross Mexico as an illegal immigrant even though I was a US citizen. On my way I suffered hunger and sleep desperation because every day that passed by it could be a day that I spend with my family. When I made my decision I did not know that it was going to be a really dangerous trip.

The most dangerous thing that happened to me during that time was I had to travel on La Bestia Train, which was not the best decision that we made because the next thing that I’m about to tell you still makes me have nightmares when I remember it. It was about 1:00 am. I was traveling on top of La Bestia Train when suddenly it stopped. Everyone looked around, scared, trying to figure out what was happening, when out of nowhere a bunch of men, probably gang members, started shooting at the people on the train to take their money or any valuable things they could be carrying. Some of the innocent people tried to desperately run away from the robbers but not all of them made it some got shot and killed. Some women were raped; luckily, I was one of the few people that got away successfully.

When I finally made it to United States I felt incredibly happy and I could not even believe that I made it through all the hard times. My first day in the United States was like a dream and I couldn’t believe that it was true if I was actually living in the United State with my family. It pased like one or two weeks and it still felt like a big dream. After that it went back to normal and my first Christmas with my family was amazing because it was my first holiday with them. I really enjoyed that day and is it a beautiful memory to have with them.

On my first day of school it was hard for me because I am a Latina who only speaks Spanish with her family at home. On my first day of school I felt scare because I didn’t know anybody and I couldn’t speak English, I had no idea of how I was supposed to ask or explain myself to anyone since almost everyone speaks English. In my first week of school I told my parents that I can’t study anymore because the language was hard to learn, but they kept telling me that I was going to learn English because nothing is impossible in life as long as you put it as your main goal, so I did. After that I kept going to school. But now I feel comfortable because I learned English and I can understand it better than before.

I know being an immigrant is hard because you never know when immigration can come and deport you. Life in the United States is beautiful, but that can’t change your home country. These past 2 years have been hard because I miss a lot of the traditions, the culture, the landscape and other many other things that my home country has. Also, a thing that I miss from my country is the weather, which is tempered, the perfect weather for me. Guatemala has many beautiful places where you can visit and store memories with the other many cultures that Guatemala contains. A future goal is to visit Guatemala because not only do I store many memories there, but also my grandparents live there and one day I hope to be able to see, hug and spend time with, them remembering old times.

I know it’s hard for everyone to leave their family members behind to go in a search of a better life for their family and future children to have a better education. In order to reach these goals people are willing to sacrifice the union of their family and even sacrifice their lives to have better opportunities in life and accomplish more than their parents have ever done. To me this is the meaning of the American dream and my story is one of the million that the Hispanic lives every day. No matter what happens in your life or how hard it gets, it will never be impossible for you to overcome all of those obstacles just never give up.