I moved here from Puerto Rico on May 23, 2009. I remember everything as if it was yesterday. I remember getting the heart-breaking news when my mom said, "I have decided that we are moving to the United States." I was nine, at this early stage in my life I was too young to understand the reasons for my mother's choice to move to a foreign country; but as I got older, I figured it was because she wanted a better life for me and my family. My father had died in a tragic car accident when I was seven. Coming out of court he was crossing the street and a car that was speeding hit him. In my mind justice was never served. My mom didn't want me and my family to grow up in an environment where we didn't feel safe and secure. This is the main reason why I think she made the decision of moving over here.

I recall packing my bags that cold rainy morning. My grandma drove us to the airport. Saying goodbye to her was one of the hardest things ever. Getting on the airplane was worse. Thinking about everything I was going to leave behind was just terrifying. How was I going to make new friends? How would this change impact my life? How would I ever survive without speaking English? That was my major concern: learning a new language. A few months after I got here, I started school I never felt welcome, so I developed a negative attitude toward my education. I realize now that my biggest challenge was myself. I was going to be my own roadblock if I didn't develop a positive attitude and put effort into this drastic change in my life. My goal was to learn English and adapt to my new lifestyle.

I was determined to learn English. I worked hard throughout my junior high school years. I took English classes and stayed for tutoring every day after school. As time passed, I became fluent in English, but I still need a lot of work when it came to my grammar. Going into high school, I was confident in myself because I knew enough English to at least communicate with others. My sophomore year was unforgettable. I met a wonderful teacher that made a dramatic impact in my life. Her name is Ms. Gale. What I love about her is that she's humble, kind, and she's patient with her students. She allowed me to make mistakes, but always had high expectations for me. She provided me a warm environment and allowed me to learn from her. With her I learned the importance of communication. She took the time to teach me everything there was to know about English. She changed me. She challenged me to get out of my comfort zone. With her I understood that sometimes those who challenge you the most teach you the best. I am so grateful for her. I thank her so much for never giving up on me and for still working and teaching me things up to this day. As of today I overcame my challenge by taking risks. I see progress in myself because I notice how my vocabulary has expanded. I love using words that I never thought existed. I like being able to write and freely express myself without feeling like I am limited because I am bilingual. It's amazing knowing that if I put something in my mind I will accomplish it.

I predict that my future will be bright. I want to graduate and make my family proud.

Until I discovered cooking, I was never really interested in anything; this is why I want to study Culinary Arts. I will attend Tri-C community college for 2 years and then go to Columbus Culinary Institute at Bradford School. After getting my Bachelor's Degree in Culinary Arts, I want to hopefully open my own restaurant and, when I become stable, travel the world and take the amazing gift of food to those who suffer from hunger. I will love to breathe the air of new places and learn new languages.

Facing my challenge has changed me because coming to the United States as a little girl and not knowing the language or the culture was a hard experience for me. Setting my mind to my challenge and putting effort into my goals has not only helped me overcome educational obstacles but daily challenges, too. Before learning English I felt useless because I couldn't communicate or meet new people. Now I am inspired to teach others. I have adapted to my new lifestyle and I feel comfortable speaking English. I feel blessed because I am bilingual. I have so many opportunities ahead of me. I mean just the fact that I can write this paper gives me a satisfying feeling because, who would have thought that I would get an opportunity like this? Looking back at the day when I was on that airplane on my way to the United States, I remember how I looked through the window. The blue color of the sky calmed my frightened soul and I found a little peace looking at the white clouds even though there was a storm of feelings inside of me. Remembering all this makes me grateful of my mother's decision to start a new life in this country. Throughout my journey, I've learned that one language sets you in a comer for life, but two languages open every door along the way.

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