I am Sonia Flores. I am from Chihuahua, Mexico. I have lived in Colorado Springs since 2002 and I am 26 years old. I started to attend District 11 Adult and Family Education because something very upsetting happened in my life.
One morning, in 2005, a police officer came to my door. I was afraid something dangerous was happening outside. Instead, he said we needed to leave the apartment immediately, because the manager on duty said we didn’t pay our rent, but she was wrong. The day before, my husband had spoken to the assistant manager and arranged to pay our rent the following day, and she said it was no problem. Still, I had no paper or proof to show to the officer, and I could not speak any English. Two men walked into my home, and they started to take out all my stuff. They carried it all to the dumpster. I was rushing to collect everything I could carry,like clothes, diapers, and a small TV, and put it in our truck. I was able to grab a half of a watermelon from the fridge before I took my 2 year old son to the truck and put him inside.
After the men were finished, I took everything back out of the dumpster and put it on the grass. People thought it was a yard sale, and I sold anything I could. I planned to get enough money to stay in a motel for a few nights. When it started to rain, the rest of my things got too wet to save, so I put them back in the dumpster and stayed with my baby in the truck.
I could not go anywhere because I had no driver’s license and the truck had no plates yet. My son and I had no place to go, so we sat in our car for 7 hours and ate the watermelon until my husband could come to pick us up.
That night, in the motel, I was so angry with myself because I could not understand most of what the police said to me and I could not speak or ask questions. I had no way to defend myself or stop what was happening. I promised myself that one day I would speak perfect English and have a career in the United States.
This is the reason why I started to go to ESOL classes in 2006.
After my daughter was born, my church helped me to find Head Start and my little boy went to preschool. At his school, I learned there were classes for adults, and they even gave us transportation. My kids were very young, and I was an adult when we started to learn English together.
I started with nothing. No words, no sounds, and no verbs. I remember my first sentence: “My… name… is…Sonia,” and copying what the other students were saying even though I didn’t understand anything! This was the most beautiful experience for me because soon we learned the colors, numbers, and shapes, and I even read a book.
As time passed, my English got much better.
Right now I have graduated from ESOL and am working toward a GED. My goal is to finish my GED because one day, a long time ago, I made a promise to myself. Also, I believe that every day we need to speak English everywhere because we live in the United States. We need to participate in school, work, and in the community, and be able to communicate and stand up for ourselves.