How life struggles prepared me to be successful in life–Hello again everyone, I just want to share the part 2 of my struggles in life. So last time, I was telling my story of how my dad took my brother, sister and me to Dominican Republic just because he broke up with my step mom, who was the person that was taking care of us meanwhile my Dad was working. After they broke up, my dad was desperate and worried because he had 3 children and didn’t know how he was going to move on and just didn’t have anybody to take care of us. My dad 8 years ago just couldn’t take care of us and wasn’t making much money so ended up sending us to Dominican Republic. Again, I never knew I was going to spend 7 years in Dominican Republic.
So last time I left of that I in Miami, Fl. So we took our last flight towards Dominican Republic at about 12:00am. We waited like 10 hours when it was suppose to be 4 hours wait.
Finally, we arrived and were all happy. It was an exciting time for me because I got to see my mom again after many years and other relatives. That night though, something bad happened. One of my cousin’s wife got shot in the chest while waiting for us. How it happened was crazy. This military dude was chasing a burglar that tried jacking up his wife’s purse. While he was chasing the criminal, he was shooting at him, but unfortunately one of the bullets reached my cousin’s wife’s chest and she died saying that she wasn’t ready to die. Very sad week.
Moving on, a month later my dad came back to Alaska and we were in Dominican Republic trying to adapt to that new life. Two months after that I was already practicing baseball trying to become a professional player. I was at the moment living with my grandma but annoying things started happening there, my clothes, were being stolen, the money my dad sent for us to eat didn’t know where it was going because they would cook a very small amount of food that it wasn’t enough for everybody.
So what started to happen, I started to become weaker because I wasn’t eating enough for baseball. I remember I almost fainted on a baseball practice where temperatures were like 98 degrees that day. I was doing so well while my dad was in Dominican Republic for a month, but that was because I was eating well, good vitamins, protein etc.
My mom saw how weak and unhealthy I looked, I mean, I was jogging and doing all this exercise under a hot ass temperature without a good nutrition to recover all the calories and minerals I used up, plus, my mom saw how each day I had less and less clothing and my dad at the moment wasn’t sending me money because he thought that we were eating well and we were ok, at least that is what my family was telling him and he believed them. The only person that would take good care of us was my dad’s mom or my grandma but she had stroke and the left side of her body was dead.
My mom after seeing all that, decided to send me to her mom’s house or my other grandma, which lived in San Juan de la Maguana(south part of the country. My mom couldn’t take care of me sense she was working as a maid in a house the 7 days a week. With my grandma I was doing ok because she would make sure we had food on the table even though there were times we didn’t eat until 5pm sense my grandma had to hustle money by selling plantains and other goods in the small market nearby, and we had to wait for her.
Sometimes I would even help her sell some stuff meanwhile she was cooking for at home. I was not the only one with her, I also had other cousins living with us. Another thing that happened was that we would not have water for days coming out from the faucet, so what we’ll do is go to a near by river with some gallons and buckets and get water for our grandma and us to take shower and our grandma would boil water for us drink and for her to cook.
I lasted like 1 year living with my grandma, after that, I went back to the capital where my mom rented a house and I started living with her. I started playing baseball again at the age of 16, but at the age 19 my baseball dream was over sense my elbow got injured after a practice, causing my fast ball to loose effectiveness or speed.
I was very sad but never gave up on moving on. I remember I told my mom that I needed to find a job, so I started with the job search and found my first job at the age of 19 in a call center in the “Time Warner Cable” project. There I got trained on everything about customer service and how cable service was provided internally. I was part of the tech support department and billing department. I was so happy because I was able to help my mom pay rent and other debts she had in order to make sure I was living comfortable. Then my mom brought my little brother Oliver, a son she had in 2000 with another man.
After 2 years in the Time Warner Cable project, I requested a transfer to the “Western Digital” project. There I was earning more money, but a year after some of my coworkers and I got dismissed just because we were demanding a raise. I took the money they gave me for all the years of working with them and bought my plane ticket towards Puerto Rico. I’ve been bugging my dad for 5 years just telling him to take us back to U.S. but he kept getting mad sense at the time he couldn’t bring us because he was afraid of responsibility. Finally he decided to come to Dominican Republic after we spent 7 years of hunger, well, it wasn’t that bad for me sense I decided to find a job and decided not to be failure in life, just sitting and waiting for a miracle. I couldn’t even go to school over there like my dad promised, due to my school papers were in English and even we translated them it was no good because my dad needed a certificate from a Dominican Republic embassy certifying that my school papers were legit.
I remember I called my dad before he came to get us and asked him if I was going to have any issues entering the U.S. sense I discovered that I was a resident of the U.S. and residents have certain restrictions of how much time they can be outside the United States. Residents can only be outside U.S. for six months and I was outside for 7 years, so I was worried and asked my dad. My dad told me that everything was ok sense immigration in Dominican Republic gave him a permit that stated that everything was going to be ok when entering again. My brother and sister would not have any issues sense they are U.S. citizens. I believed my dad sense I didn’t know any better about immigration laws here in the U.S.
Making long story short; my dad arrived and gave me my papers(U.S. Resident card). I bought my own plane ticket and headed to Puerto Rico to live with my aunty Luchy who volunteered to take care of me meanwhile I find a job.
The day came for my departure and my mom organized a party for me. I remember that I promised my mom that I will come back to the U.S. and will work hard and study hard to become someone and also to bring her and my little brother to the U.S. to live a better life. I thank her for everything and I also thank God for being there for me even on harsh times I decided to leave out from this story.
I left Dominican Republic on January 22 2012 and my dad escorted me to the airport and before I headed to my gate he wanted me to lie about the time I was outside the United States and when I arrived to San Juan, Puerto Rico I told the officer that I’ve been outside the United States for 1 month and 10 days. The officer then asked me what is the purpose of my return to the U.S and I told him to work and finish high school. The officer looked at me and asked why I haven’t finished high school, and sent me to customs and Homeland Security for secondary inspection where I was detained and investigated. It was so intense because I knew I have lied to the primary officer and was so ashamed of what I did, because I’m not a person that lies.
They took me to this little room where they asked me questions. Then they left me by myself for a few minutes. While by myself I decided to pray to God to help me stay in the U.S. and to forgive me for lying. Then I noticed that everybody was being nice to me, but I was still frozen and shaky and I had to tell them the truth of everything that happened.
I spent like 12 hours detained for lying, but the chief officer said that she knew I was not guilty and that she was going to help me. So they took my finger prints and filed me for permanent residency. At that moment I was so traumatized sense I felt like a criminal or something like that, lol, and just because of listening to my dad. The chief told me that I would need to go to court and speak to an immigration judge to clarify why I was in Dominican Republic for so long.
After a few weeks my dad called to see what happened and I told my dad that I told them the truth. My dad also proposed me to live with him again in Alaska and I accepted because in Puerto Rico I wasn’t finding a job or a way to study.
Before leaving Puerto Rico I received a court hearing date notice, which later on I filed a motion to change venue to move the hearing to Seattle,Washington, which was the nearest immigration court to Alaska. I left Puerto Rico on March 13 2012 and just like the beginning I took 3 planes. I went from Puerto Rico to Texas, from Texas to Seattle, and finally from Seattle to Anchorage, Alaska. I remember I arrived Alaska with no money, no ID just me and my clothes and a burning desire to succeed to help his struggling family in Dominican Republic.
It was great to be back to Alaska I got to meet my old friends again, but at the same time I felt like a failure sense I didn’t have a job and didn’t have no money to even start up again.
I then decided to take action, and went with my dad to get my ID card which the lady at the DMV was giving me problems sense she never seen a provisional I-94 form provisional resident’s card and denied to give me an ID without approval from immigration. My dad and I decided to go to immigration to explain the situation and they told us that the documents they gave me in Puerto Rico should be good to get a state ID. After that, we decided to go to another DMV location and we explained the DMV person that attended us, that we have gone to immigration and they said that the documents I showed should be good to get an ID. They were very kind and approved my application and I got my ID.
A month after, I applied for a job at Home Depot and started working right away. I also signed up for GED classes which in only one month I got my GED diploma and that day I felt like a champion. I remember that during tests I would pray to God to help me pass my GED tests and guess what, I did pass all my tests and it was like I had an angel sent by God all along helping me to move on in life and internally telling me what to do. Like guiding me.
Today a year after coming from Puerto Rico, I attend Colorado Technical University getting good grades and working for Xerox in the Health Care project earning 15/hour which is not enough here in Alaska where everything is so expensive but is enough to survive and help my with mom in Dominican Republic and my girlfriend with something .
I really have improved in just a year, I mean I have a car, I have job, and I own my business with Organo Gold and also joined Empower network which is helping me expand my business. So my success doesn’t end up here I keep succeeding and Empower Network and Organo Gold is helping me get where I want be in life.
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