I vividly remember my mom, brother, and sister starting our life in the United States. We had high expectations based on what we had seen on TV and our father's stories with us over the phone. When we landed at JFK Airport, we were very excited to reunite with our dad as we looked at our surroundings in awe. We wondered what this phase of our lives would bring.
While our father shared life stories here, I still remember we felt the people were so different, and the highways were so noisy. One saying that stuck with me that day was that he told us, "you could do and be anything you want to be here." I did not understand what he meant at that time, but I now realize what he meant many years later.
We put down our suitcases in a rented basement and were very happy and hopeful to start our new life in a new country. Soon after, we registered for school. Since I was the oldest child, I helped our parents in translating the English language. My parents delegated the family budgeting and payment of bills to me at one point since they had difficulty with the language. These early responsibilities helped me to grow and shape my character.
By this time, I also started taking up my first teenage jobs like babysitter, restaurant hostess, waitress, etc. I also remember using the money I earned while working to help my parents pay the family bills.
My story of coming to America to reach the American Dream has taught me that we can persevere through any life struggle and the challenges we overcome in life become the stepping stones to our greatest opportunities to serve others later on.
Read my full story and more in my book "Connecting the Dots Backwards" https://www.elonaloparicoaching.com/books.html