We used to make several trips to the United States when I was young. We even visited with the intention of helping the government with the war effort during World War II. At the time, the American government was in desperate need of structural engineers to help with their aircraft and landing strips. They even recruited workers outside of the United States. So they invited my father, who at the time lived in Mexico, and was a Mexican citizen, to help in that venture. At the time I was a very young child but my father agreed and we moved from Mexico to Alhambra, California. But all of a sudden my father was drafted. Even though he was a guest of the United States, the war was in full force and the allies needed experts to design air strips. Because of his skills, he was recruited
But my father also had to think about his wife and children, who all spoke little to no English. The United States granted him six months to move us all back to our home in Mexico. As soon as he found this out, he started to move us all back to Mexico so that he could go to the war with a clean conscience. And wouldn’t you know it? Before the six months were up and he came back to the United States to serve in the military, the war ended! So my father did not get to go to the war, which disappointed him tremendously. But this disappointment also ended my first stint in the United States.
My second brush with the United States came when I was sent to boarding school in Los Angeles with the intention of learning English fluently. Like I said, my dad got a degree here in the United States, so he was fluent in English. So then my father finally figured out that maybe it was time for me to go to finishing school. So then, I did go there, and then learned all these trades that I was supposed to learn, which I mean was interesting, but as far as the education I was supposed to get, I didn’t get, because of that transition and that movement. And the fact that I was in the university in Mexico; the way that we figure out grades and everything there is much different than the way they are done in the United States. In the states, everything is credit hours. For example, the fact that I had four semesters over there doesn’t mean anything.
My father always wanted us to have the same advantages and adventures he did. He always pushed us to be well-traveled and to know many languages. I always felt like I took advantage of that. I always had a bad case of wanderlust, and was always ready to explore new places. The United States was always one where my family thought I should go, so much of my exploration was channeled here. I had many more encounters with the United States before finally deciding to stay here. I was often sent to boarding school here as a punishment. Sometimes it was because my parents were travelling, but most of the time… it was for something I had done.
My final time before moving here came upon the insistence of my mother. It was shortly after my first husband left me, and I was planning to go to Spain with my young daughter for two years, so that she could have much of the same experiences I had. However, my mother had a much different idea for me that year. Although I already had the flat rented in Spain, and I was ready to move there with my child, my parents both implored me to move with them to the US, even if just for a year. I figured, it’s not my money, what do I care. So I did move to the US with my parents, my sisters, and my child. We all lived there for about a year before they all decided they did not want to continue living there. However, instead of moving back to Mexico, or even moving to Spain for the remaining year, something else had caught my attention here in the States.