“I Was Able to See Everything in a Different Way”: Opportunities
Kathy was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, in the 1970s. She grew up mainly living with her grandma in Ecuador with her older brother Stalin. When she was thirteen years old her mother, stepdad, younger sister, and older brother all migrated to the United States and embarked their journey to arrive in the Inland Empire. Her mother Cira was a nurse in Ecuador and her step dad Luis was a marine biologist, it was a drastic change for them to leave their lives and careers to create a better one in the United States. The transition at a young age, followed by the language barrier made it difficult for Kathy to adjust to her new life.
“My aunt Frances, which is my mother’s sister, lived here and gave us the residency to come to California. I did not know the environment, I did not know anyone. I missed my grandma which is like my second mom, we lived in her house since I was born, that’s all I knew. Not knowing the language which is English over here was really hard and made me feel very lost, alone, and shy. Which made it hard for me to communicate with anyone not being able to speak English.
"Once I overcame all of my obstacles and once I was determined to learn the language and to come out of my shell, to do better. I feel like it just, you know, brought opportunities. I was able to see everything in a different way. I started making friends, I was able to learn a new language, I graduated with good grades, I found a job, and I was able to save up money to purchase my own car. So that was my first accomplishment to be able to know that I did something for myself at such a young age, which I believe I was around eighteen, nineteen years old when I bought my first car and by then I had a boyfriend.
"I was able to have fun and enjoy life and I was able to relax and to see the good in life and just be able to enjoy more. When I was twenty-two I married the father of my first child, that was one of my biggest accomplishments being able to have a beautiful baby girl which is interviewing me now my first born healthy baby. When she was seven, I gave birth to my second child, the relationship with their father did not work out but I was able to keep going and be there for my children and provide.
"Losing my dad at the age of sixteen was very tough for me knowing that I was never going to see him again, not even for a visit if I ever went back to Ecuador. It was really, really, hard for me. It was, I want to say, one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through in my forty-three years of age. Not having my dad with me has been really hard because I wish he would have been there when I turned fifteen to do the first dance with me, when I graduated I wish he would’ve been there, when I got married for him to walk me down the aisle and each time I had my children I wish he would have been there to share my joy.
"When Alyssa my second child was about one year old, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, so I knew that I had to fight and win the battle, stay positive and keep going. Thank god, I won the battle and beat cancer. Ten years later and the cancer is back to get its ass kicked again. After going through my divorce and beating cancer I was able to meet a wonderful man and got remarried and had a third bundle of joy.”