The Journey of a Latina to the U.S., Ten Years Later

Back in the USA, life lessons and settling in- part 2

 

Editor’s note: This is part 2 of A Latina’s Journey, Immigrating and Getting Acclimated in the US

Ten years after my first visit I came back to the United States to work at my brother-in-law’s company in California.

I moved back to same area as before, reunited with friends in the familiar cities of San Jose and Cupertino, California. Within a month I was employed as an administrative manager of a software company that developed solutions for Apple computers in the printing industry.

This was a different journey than the first time…completely different. It was an opportunity to raise a family and build a future. with my husband and my one-year-old baby. There was excitement and many worries, since it was all new for me.

Then the shock set in

It was a shock to find out how expensive preschool, rent, gas, and food were. Long gone was the romantic image in my head, but we were optimistic and sure we were going in the right direction.

Always a fighter these challenges were not insurmountable. My husband and I created a routine.  He studied English at night and we both worked full time during the day.

Lus Reyes and son My tasks included picking up my baby and coming home in time to cook and play with him, followed by he laundry, house cleaning and other day-to-day tasks required. The love for our family, dreams and expectations gave us the energy and the faith to keep going and put into perspective these “small adjustments” to our lives.

My new reality as a professional manager was nothing remotely similar to being a manager in Colombia. In Columbia I worked with a support team and I had a secretary, an assistant and an errand runner. And guess what?

In the U.S. I had to do all of that and more! A typical morning after putting up the coffee entailed a host of errands including regular visits to the bank, writing and editing letters and much more!

This was a wake up call for me in as a professional in a primarily service economy. In the world’s most developed country, I couldn’t fathom why I, was recognized engineer with a support team in my country , but not in the U.S. I couldn’t understand why I had to run all of these errands and waste my valuable time. Was it a mistake or was it just unique to this particular company?

Over time, I learned as a Latina being a manager in a small business in the U.S. included all of that in most cases…I realized I wasn’t the only one. My situation was not unique!

Stress became my permanent partner 

Between home duties, motherhood, trying to do my best to keep the house clean and being accountable at work.  The stress became too much and for quite a while I regretted having moved to the States and cried. But for several reasons we persevered, we stayed, We had hope for the future and faith in our ability to sort out all the obstacles that may come our way.

What did I learn from?

Well, many lessons, of course.

I had to learn to adjust to accept the changes. I stopped complaining and comparing. Instead I  learned to embrace opportunities to learn and to grow.

With the passage of time and slowly but surely us, Latins in the USA have become part of a society plenty of opportunities. What I learned most of all that it is up to us to pursue our dreams which requires a positive attitude, hard work and persistence.

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