Coming to the US at the age of five, I was downhearted to leave my life and the majority of my extended family in Peru. In an attempt to cheer me up, my father promised on the plane that once we got to the US, they were going to celebrate our arrival with fireworks at the Rose Bowl stadium. We landed on the afternoon of the fourth of July. A cousin picked us up from the airport and drove us to my aunt’s house in Altadena where we would be staying until my parents could get on their feet. That night, my aunt drove us all to the Rose Bowl and as it began to get dark, the fireworks began. In that moment, with the comfort of my family and the exciting flashes of fireworks in the sky, I got the feeling everything was going to turn out all right.
My parents had great jobs in Peru, my father owned his own business and my mother had a high-status job at a company, but they wanted to give my sister and me more opportunities and a better chance at life so they decided to migrate to the US. This meant leaving their jobs, our house, and most importantly, our family, which was very difficult because we were very close-knit. A few days before we left, we had a going away party. I was happy to see everyone I loved and know how much they care about us, but at the same time it was heartbreaking to realize that I wouldn’t be able to see many of them after we made this journey.
After our arrival, my parents understood that the only way to survive in a foreign country was by preserving their cultural values. Once I began school, I found this to be very challenging because I was also trying to assimilate. Not only did I have to learn the language, but I also had to immerse myself within a different culture. There weren’t any special classes for non-English speakers at my school, but I was fortunate that one of my first teachers spoke a little Spanish and could communicate with me. I then met some of my bilingual classmates who became quick friends as they helped me overcome my language barrier.
My daily activities became easier with my improved knowledge of English, and I finally felt more settled in after the first few months. My family kept our Peruvian culture alive by keeping Peruvian customs in our household. We chose to integrate American values into our lives, as we were a long way from Peru. Along the way the friends we made, made it easy for us to get familiar with our surroundings. We met Peruvian friends that shared similar lifestyles to ours which was great because we could share stories from Peru and feel like we still had connections back to our roots. My friends around my neighborhood and school really helped me feel at home, giving me great advice on struggles I had. My family and friends have had a great influence in shaping the person I am. All the support, care, and love they have showed to my family, I take in to consideration because it has made me the caring person I am today.
A friend and I had a conversation turned out to end out friendship. It was something so unexpected and difficult to deal with because I considered this person one of my best friends who I cared so much about. After that conversation we went our separate ways, knowing we would wouldn’t speak again. The next day I woke up feeling down knowing that I wouldn’t be able to talk to my friend. That day, I cancelled my plans and stayed home to spend some time alone. About half way through the day, neighborhood friends came over and told me to come outside to join the football game they were having. I wasn’t really in the mood but they convinced me. I remember that as the game went on; all my worries were gone at that moment. Going out and playing sports turned my day around. Sport are a great pastime I love do to the feeling of being with people you care about.
Sports motivate me to become better at anything I do. The message I receive from sports is that anything you do if you put enough time and effort, you can accomplish your goal. I have put that message to use many times like when I see an athlete perform at a high level it motivates me to prove that I can be at their level. If I can’t, I practice until I’m at least one step closer to where I want to be. I apply that message to life because it brings out the best of me. I know I can achieve many things in my life and acquire multiple skills but it’s up to me to put the time and effort, and sports are what give me that motivation to achieve my goals.
Sports doesn’t just help me with difficult times and motivate me be the best that I can be, it has also had a great impact on helping me grow my second family, friends. Having moved to a new home, I was pretty lonely not having any friends around my neighborhood. Luckily, I saw a group of kids playing sports outside and I went to ask if could join them. I had no idea that day I would have met people who I now consider my best friends. Since that moment, we often came out and continued playing sports every weekend, which made us known in our neighborhood. I also remember that the first summer in my new home, my new friends and I world go out on the street and play sports for hours nearly every day. That helped me physically become a healthier person do to all of the exercise I was getting.
My parents both have inspired the career I want. Through her work at a chiropractic center, my mother has taught me the importance of helping others through the medical field. Through his construction career, my father has shown me the importance of hard work and perseverance. I hope to honor them both through achieving a college education and becoming a physical therapist.
After school each day, my mother used to pick me up and take me to her job at a chiropractic center. I spent a lot of time there wandering around, looking with curiosity at the equipment. I often watched the chiropractors give adjustments and treat their patients. It was powerful to see someone come in with pain and then emerge with relief. I even had the opportunity to learn how to adjust myself, which empowered me to want to continue learning about this kind of medical help. My experiences and the opportunity to witness what occurs in the chiropractic field influenced me in my career path as I plan to become a physical therapist and having the privilege of helping others like the chiropractors did where my mom worked.
My father has greatly influenced my perspective of life. He has proven to me that everything is possible. He is a recent immigrant, unfamiliar with the language and culture of the US, but he has consistently found jobs to support us. With hard work, knowledge, and dedication, my dad has been able to quickly gain promotions from the bottom to the top and he always has the will to strive for more. He set an example when he worked in construction by starting as a typical worker but studying new techniques to prove to his bosses that he had the ability to do much more. Little by little, he gained promotions, and with his hard work and the confidence he gained from his bosses, he became the assistant to the superintendent of the whole construction project. His example has taught me to take advantage of every opportunity that is given to me and with hard work and perseverance, any goal you set can be achieved.
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