A short-story about an alien in Davis, CA:
Originally from a small peaceful town in the warm Pacific coast state of Nayarit, Mexico, I'm told I was brought to the southern California coast to be united with family kicking and screaming when I was 3 years old. But being given no other choice, I eventually learned to adjust to city living in the States and flourished in the English language and adopted an American lifestyle while attending K-12. As far as I knew, Oxnard, CA had been and would always be my hometown. By senior year, I had participated in Honors courses, played Varsity Basketball, been an officer of a school club, and was more than ready to join fellow classmates in the process of choosing majors and applying to Universities. But I learned that was not quite what life had in store for me. By this time, the B2 visitor visa with which my grandparents brought me here had expired and the F4 (I-130) family-based immigrant visa petition entered by a US citizen brother on my behalf had been processing for 9 years with no given date of completion to look forward to. I was an illegal alien. I was stifled by the knowledge that I could not at this point follow my high school dreams of attending any of the UC's I'd been accepted to or of continuing to pursue a hobby in runway modeling. So I did the only thing I could do- I ran. I packed what I could along with a couple of scholarships, jumped in a car with a cousin, and thus arrived in Elk Grove, CA two days after graduating from Hueneme High School in the summer of 2003. Needing some semblance of control in my own life, I soon moved on my own to Sacramento, CA where I thankfully found full-time work as a server, went to school little by little at the local community college without any kind of financial aid, stayed out of trouble, and established my roots as an adult as best I could while living in the shadows for 4 years.
Early in 2007, I finally received word from USCIS and was granted an appointment to appear in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico for final processing of my immigrant visa petition. Hoping for the best, I was unprepared for the worst- when I arrived I was informed that my visa petition had been denied on grounds of my residency in the US since my visitor's visa expired when I was 9 years old. I was not permitted to cross the border back into the US and thus was exiled from the only home I knew. I was taken in by my godparents in Toluca, Mexico and was surprised at how hard it was to transition into life in my country of origin. Bureaucratic red tape made it impossible to translate my high school transcripts with which to find employment on my own, so for the first 6 months my godparents invited me to tag along on family vacations throughout Mexico. Such places of archaeological interest as the Aztec pyramids of Tenochtitlan and those of natural beauty like the deep blue waterfalls of Puente de Dios in San Luis Potosi succeeded in distracting me for a time. When my godparents were finally able to secure me a job as a receptionist at one of the busiest hotels in Toluca, I also found that though I looked Mexican enough and spoke Spanish well enough, the slang and social references and popular customs eluded me to the point of ridicule amongst my coworkers. I did the best I could as I busied myself working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, for the equivalent of $400 USD a month, but I knew Mexico would never be home and I longed for California with all my heart. 1.5 years later, just as I was giving up all hope, I received notice of the attorney general's approval of a waiver on the grounds of inadmissibility on my behalf due to my extenuating circumstances and otherwise good citizenship, not unlike many later DREAM Act petitioners. I was granted LPR status and was finally allowed to go home.
I returned to Sacramento to continue where I'd left off and finally move forward with my life. I was welcomed back to my original serving job and branched out with a second job at Circuit City for full time employment, but the economic recession I found the country in didn't allow that to last for long. I found that I needed more help as an LPR than I ever did while living in the shadows and became indebted financially as well as to many friends and family members for their help. As I returned to school with a change to a more lucrative major, I accepted an invitation to reunite with another cousin in Suisun City, CA rent-free for 9 months in order to afford payments on my first car while I commuted to work and school in Sacramento. I then took a break and followed a friend to work in Las Vegas, NV for 3 months. I returned and settled down again in Sacramento for another 3 years during which I helped one and eventually a second younger sister to follow me from So Cal and get settled much in the same way I had done almost 10 years earlier. I also took opportunities to volunteer at the UC Davis Medical Center's Neonatal I.C.U. and E.R. departments for career exploration, to pursue a natural love for nature in roadtripping/tidepooling/hiking around the Northern California and Oregon coast, and to volunteer with the Delta Conservancy in Waterway Clean Up and conservation efforts. In the Spring of 2013, I finally graduated from Cosumnes River College with Biology, Pre-Nursing option A.S. & Social Science A.A. and prepared to apply to Bachelor's of Science in Nursing programs, as well as for Naturalization to US Citizen status next year.
Throughout my 29 years, I've followed family, my own sense of adventure and need for independence, government orders, and friends in my wanderings within Mexico and California. I've learned to disregard the "keeping up with the Joneses" blues as I watched fellows from my Class of 2003 accomplish goals, dreams, and life's milestones far ahead of me. I've worked hard, played little, and waited patiently for my time to come. When it did, unfulfilled high school dreams faded or transformed and gave way to new dreams, forged with a new sense of hope. I've taken some time to take care of me and do things I had not the opportunity to do before. Amongst those things, I took a chance on love and I'm happy to say that this time I followed my heart to Davis, CA. That love may have resulted as a dud in the last few months, but I don't regret making the move. I'm excited to continue exploring what this town has to offer and what I can do for it.
(written/edited as practice to attain Wiki skills for a potential employer- feel free to help :)