A petite woman and a two year old boy wearing only his diaper answered the door, “Hi, come in, have a seat!” were the first words spoken by Aurea. Her warm invitation led me into the front room. I followed behind, waiting for her to sit first but, she insisted again, “Have a seat.” To the right of me was a large olive green couch. I sat down and could feel the couch swallow my body. Aurea sat down as we naturally angled our bodies toward each other; the curious little boy waddled in to the other room. We began to discuss why we were meeting and got to know each other a little bit better. The muffled voice of another woman, who was not speaking English, floated through the house. Five minutes hadn’t past by when the boy made his way back into the room.
His tummy and left side of his face were covered in white powder. He held a small white baby powder bottle in his right hand, shaking it up and down, pouring more powder into the other hand. Aurea giggled and held her hands out to her son, “Keenan, can you put some on mommy too?” Her shoulder length black hair fell forward as she leaned toward him. His mischievous grin led me to believe that this was his plan all along. He walked to the middle of the room and stopped. He then continued to pour more powder out and put it only the left side of his face. It would then slide down onto his tummy and brown shag carpet. Keenan innocently looked at us as if nothing was out of the ordinary. Rising from her seat, Aurea excused herself to go clean him up.
I was sitting taking in my surroundings and pondering about the questions I was about to unleash on Aurea when she casually returned. She looked at me as if to say, “This is my American dream. This is what I worked so hard for and this is what I love.” Aurea sat down and began to tell me the story of how she did it.
When she would remember something new, her eye brows pulled together as she thought of a way to describe what happened without being too insensitive. She had a protective guard, not because she didn’t want to share her story. She didn’t want anyone else to have to know of the things she went through.
Ever since Aurea could remember, she had always wanted to come to America. In school they were taught English. Her desire to perfect it was unfathomable. One problem she faced was that the English teachers barely knew what they were teaching. It didn’t stop her though, nothing could. Whenever she had the opportunity, she would watch American movies and practice saying the words after them. When she was 12 years old she kept a journal, written specifically in English, for her husband, because she knew she was going to marry an American.
Now as she is looking back on her story, she can laugh about things that would bring a person to tears. She has reached her goal, but that doesn’t mean the journey is over. Her next goal is to get the rest of her family into America.