September 11, 2006
My mother is 21 years old. This is her first passport picture. She is preparing to leave her home, her mother, her family, her language, her culture, her country and basically, life as she knows it to work as a nanny for an unknown Colombian couple living in Washington, D.C. She is going to America, where she can choose her own life. The possibilities thrill her and terrify her. She is going to America in spite of her mother's pleas and her brother's threats. No one can stop her.
She leaves on August 12, 1967.
What she doesn't know is, she will live with a couple who take advantage of her and mistreat her. She will not be prepared for the snow and cold. She will meet a Puerto Rican girl whose family rescues her and takes her in as one of their own. She will meet my father on a blind double date and marry him in San Antonio. They will not understand each other very well. They will drive across the desert to San Diego, where she will meet her new American family. They will begin their life together in an apartment complex in dusty Lancaster, California.
This will be the first year of her life in America.