Lupe Martinez, ESOL Student
My name is Lupe. I’m from Mexico. I’m 29 years old. When I was 17, I had a big surprise. I was pregnant. At that time, my parents told me, “If you or your sisters become pregnant without being married, we’re not going to support you. We run the house.” I was so scared. That day, I thought and thought about me and my baby. It was the right time to escape from my family and my boyfriend in Mexico. My boyfriend was very violent. He said to me, “If you’re not for me, you will not be for anyone.” He was very jealous. I made the decision in the spur of the moment to travel to Chicago. I said to my mom “I want to go to Chicago with my aunt.” My mom talked with my father who said yes. He sent money and I prepared for my travels. I had a date with my boyfriend that night. My boyfriend was there, but I was not. He didn’t know about my baby. I wasn’t prepared to tell him.
When I travelled, I cried a lot because I loved my boyfriend very much, but he was not good for me. In the desert, I walked for almost two weeks. My aunt cried because we found snakes, spiders, skeletons, and many coyotes howling at night. My aunt said to the other people “Please call a taxi!” because she was so scared. And I was too. She wanted to drink water but we didn’t have any. We walked more. After that we ran and ran. People said screaming, “Get down! Get down!” and we lay down. On the ground, I cut my hands, my feet, and my body, but my stomach had only one small cut. I thought I would lose my baby, but I did not.
My first day in Chicago was bad because Chicago is different than my county and bigger. That night, an old friend called me and said “Do you want to work?” I said yes. The next day, I started to work cleaning houses. My life in Chicago was very bad because I didn’t speak English and I didn’t understand my bosses. I was depressed, so my manager told me, “Lupe, you need to take a class in English. You are young.” But my answer was “No, it isn’t necessary.” She pushed me, but I still said no. Sometimes I got lost in the streets, but I didn’t ask for directions from people because I didn’t speak English.
One day, when I was nine months pregnant, my friend asked me “Lupe, are you pregnant?” and I told her my story. She helped me and we went to the hospital. The doctor asked me “Why didn’t you come to the hospital before?” I was worried about my baby, but my baby was born healthy. I decided to give him the name of Alexander Guadalupe because I promised to God in the desert, “If my baby is ok, I will give it the name Guadalupe.”
Four years later, I met my husband and I stopped working. We had three more children. My oldest son started to study in public schools, and he asked me to help him with his homework. I didn’t understand it because I didn’t speak, write, or read in English. That was not good for my son. He didn’t do his homework.
One day I was approaching my son’s school and I saw many people outside. I asked a woman “What is going on?” She asked me if I wanted to register for English class. I registered, but I was very nervous and scared. I thought I would never learn English. I thought it was very difficult. When the teacher asked me a question, I didn’t answer because I didn’t understand. I continued with my class and now I’m very excited about my English. Now I try to read books, explain my children’s homework, speak English with people who speak English, and help my friends when they need a translator. I’m trying to write my story. It is not good, but I try. I will continue to study English and maybe in the future I will speak English very well. I want it, and I’m sure I will. I want say thank you to my teachers because they have patience with me. They are good teachers. I say thank you to APCC because they give many opportunities.