I Am Because They Did
The pilot said through the intercom that the plane would be landing shortly. The flight attendants cleared the aisle as they prepared for landing, and the passengers returned to their seats. As the plane began its descent, Octavius and Araceli Quijada could feel the nerves starting to run through them. They were about to start a new life in the United States of America.
As the plane grazed through the clouds and emerged into the view of the New York skyline, Octavius became very startled by what he saw. He squinted and looked out of the airplane window to the sight of white powder that had covered the city.
Unaware of what this white substance was, Octavius leaned over to the man sitting next to him and asked, “What in the world is on the ground?”
The man sitting next t0 him giddily explained, “Sir, that is snow.”
“Wow, I thought it only snows in the mountains,” as Octavius leaned back into his seat and muttered to himself.
At this moment, Octavius and Araceli had no idea what kind of life that they had just walked into. Being from the islands of the Philippines, neither of them had ever seen snow before. They were not prepared for the kind of life New York City was about to throw at them.
The plane arrived at the gate, and Octavius and Araceli exited as they entered into the fast-paced American culture. People racing across the airport. People running to get their luggage. The Quijadas were immediately thrown into the bustling of what is to come.
Octavius and Araceli settled into their apartment in Brooklyn, New York, but they quickly realized they were not prepared for their first winter ever.
Araceli said to her husband, “We need boots if we are going to survive in this winter. My feet will not take the cold with only sandals.”
Coming from the Philippines was quite the change in weather, so the Quijadas immediately went to run their first errand: buying snow boots.
Roaming the streets of New York, Octavius and Araceli came across things they had never seen before. Stores on every block, food vendors on every corner, and advertisements on every building. What caught them off guard the most was the sight of different races.
Octavius leaned over to Araceli asking, “Why is there a bathroom labeled for white people and one for colored?”
They had entered into a divided culture full of segregation where equality was not yet in existence.
With a new culture yet to be immersed into, the Quijadas finally made it to the store to purchase the snow boots. They finally had something American of their own. The snow boots symbolized the beginning of their new life in America.
I wake up in the morning to the sound of my buzzing alarm. I struggle as I climb out of my cozy bed preparing to take a shower. I mumble to my roommate, “Hey, it’s time to get up. Let’s go.”
Showering, brushing my teeth, and combing my hair, I prepare for my day of classes ahead. I walk down South Lumpkin St. to the Bolton dining hall where I have a meal, essentially prepared for me before I arrive. I feast and eat as much as I want and drink as much as I want. The options are endless for me.
I walk up the giant hill to North Campus of the University of Georgia and go to class where my opportunity for education continues. A constant stream of knowledge flows into my brain as I learn more and more every second I remain on this campus.
When class concludes, I walk back down Sanford Dr. toward my dorm as I pass thousands of students who are experiencing the same joys as I am. On my walk, I look into Sanford Stadium, a place where I have some of the best experiences of college. I arrive at my dorm where I use my laptop to surf the internet and finish all of my homework assignments. I have everything I need at my disposal.
After a long day of school, I strap on my tennis shoes to exercise or play sports with my friends. Those tennis shoes are always there right when I need them.
From the struggle to adapt to American culture to the endless opportunities at the University of Georgia, I am who I am because of the bravery my grandparents had to make it to America.
Thank you Wowo and Wawa
I decided to write this short story about my grandparents and about myself to show how my grandparents story has led me to where I am today. I used their arrival into the United States as the focal point of their story to portray how difficult and different it was for them to adapt to the American culture. After conducting my interview with Wowo and Wawa, they told me that some of the biggest challenges they had was adapting to the different lifestyle that America has to offer in contrast to the Philippines. Through this fictional story based off of the oral history, I wanted to illustrate the kind of experiences they had that showed how adapting to the culture was difficult.
In the second half of the short story, I wanted to portray what my life is like today. I wanted to explain how easy and plentiful my life is today compared to what my grandparents’ lives were like when they came to America. By describing my daily schedule in college, I hoped to show the contrast in my lifestyle compared to what my grandparents experienced.
I believe that this creative project concludes my project well because it shows how my grandparents’ story has affected me personally. Without my grandparents doing what they did, I would not be where I am today. Through this short story and thank you note, I wanted to illustrate the power and magnitude of my grandparent’s bravery because of the drastic and incredibly positive impact that their story has had on my life.