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November/December 2007 Bonus Writing

West Covina students compare their journeys with the Pilgrims' journey

(Editor's note: Teacher Victoria Banuelos sent stories written by Sandra Rios Bem and Karina Medina. They are students at the Pioneer Adult School in West Covina , California . The theme was to compare and contrast the Pilgrims' journey with their own journeys to this country. Sandra's story was published in the paper. Here is Karina's story.)

New America
by Karina Medina (from Argentina )

I came to America on November 11, 2001. I brought with me my children and some clothes. Before I came I was worried about the new country that I was going to see; everything that I knew was from letters because my husband was here before I came. So, I was so impatient to see him and to see California . And when the flight of 12 hours ended the first thing that I saw was the American flag. A little bit later I saw my husband, so happy to see us.

Day by day I was learning different things about this country and, more interesting for me was to see different cultures.

My husband was the person who helped me a lot because he was here first; he taught me how to buy in the market, drive, and every new thing that I had to learn.

And the most important is-- this country has beautiful weather, nice people, delicious food, and nice neighbors. About the food, in my country everyone eats a lot of meat, but here I learned not to eat meat every day.

The similarities with the Pilgrims are that I was looking for a new life like them. And I think, everyone who comes to another country feels the same as the Pilgrims because sometimes you can expect something but you don't know if it going to happen.



Nebraska students respond to stories about mentors
(from the October Easy English Times)

(Editor's note: These students attend Benson High School Magnet in Omaha , Nebraska )

Response to Roberto Lemus' story "My mother and stepdad are my mentors"
by Rodolfo B. Rovira Jr. ( Philippines ) 
I had a similar experience to Roberto Lemus. My mother's dream was that her son would finish school, because our life was really hard. One day my mother told me, "Son, be good, do your best. I can't think about your future but I hope you can do it."  After one year I dropped out and my mother was very angry at me. She told me, "What do you want to be? And I said, "I want to be a businessman." But my mother didn't talk about my school anymore. Then after a few years my mom got married in our country. Her husband was from the United States . He is a good husband and a stepdad to us. They love each other and after a few months, we came to the United States and I continued my school. Now I'm here in Omaha with my mother and my brother. I'm studying because my goal is to finish school and to get a job. My mother is very happy because I'm doing well. My mother said she is proud of me and I said, "Thank you mom, you are my inspiration in my life."

Response to Gloria Castaneda's story "My mother is my mentor"
by Erendira Ventura Rodriguez ( Mexico )
"My mother is my mentor" is a great article. I totally agree with Gloria. While I was reading, it made me think about my mother, and my big dream to make her feel proud of me. Like Gloria, I want to show her that her encouragement and her love will make me reach my goal. She has always been there for me. I think Gloria will agree that our best mentors are our parents and most of the time our mothers. Finally, I want to say congratulations to Gloria that she realized her dreams, and I will try and work hard to make mine a reality, too.                 

Response to mentor stories by Roberto Lemus and Gloria Castaneda
by Sary Castillo ( Mexico ) 
I agree with Roberto and Gloria in everything they said.  Our parents are the best people to help us, and for sure it is never going to be too late to at least try and make your dreams come true, and be a good professional.
My education has been influenced by my parents as well. My dad and mom are teachers, so they are always telling me not to stop studying, and not to cease trying to make my dreams come true. My parents had a hard life, and everything they have now is because they have been working really hard to make their dreams come true. For this reason, I would like to be like my parents, and do what they did to make my dreams come true.                  

Response to Betty Malmgren's story, "Hot Air Balloons"
by Jose Reyes ( Mexico )
I do not totally agree with this balloon race, but I think it is exciting to many people. But I want to know if they think it is dangerous. What if a balloon crashes into another one, and falls down or something happens in the air? Can Betty Malmgren answer my question?

(Editor's note from Betty Malmgren--There were more than 100 balloons at the Reno Balloon Races. The balloons go very slow. The pilots are highly trained. The race has good supervision. Yes, accidents can happen. Accidents have happend at other events. I felt like this race was safe. It was beautiful to see so many balloons in the air!)


More writing from El Rancho Adult School
(Editor's note: Teacher Kathy Lex sent us stories from the following students in her ESL class at El Rancho Adult School, Pico Rivera, California: Martha Cecilia Avila, Maria Ayala, Ana Cabrera, Marisela Chavez, Leticia Garcia, Xiomara Farias, Rolando Gallo, Marivel Granados, Martin Gutierrez, Anabel Hernandez, Roberto Lemus, Mari G. Leon, Lorena Lio, Maria del Carmen Luna, Marlene Manuel, Francisco Mateo, Sandra Mendoza, Maria T. Orellana, Nancy Ramirez, Maria Esther Rodarte,  Valerie Rodriguez, Claudia Romero, Cristina Romero, Aracely Toscano, and Guadalupe Velez. We are sorry we do not have space for all the stories.)

When I was young......

I earned money for a pair of special shoes
by Mari G. Leon

     When I was ten years old, I remember I wanted to buy a pair of shoes called suecos.  Those shoes were made of wood and leather with hand painted flowers on them. They were expensive.  I went to ask my mother for money to buy those nice shoes but she said, "I'm sorry, Lupita.  I do not have money to give you."  I got so sad and I began to cry.  Later I thought, I am going to ask my uncle for work.  I remember I went to speak with my uncle and I told him what my mother said.  Later he said it is OK if you work here with us until you earn money for your shoes. He used to make shoes too, but they were a different type of shoes. I remember I had to apply a clear liquid on the shoes.  It made them shine.  I worked there for a few days.  My uncle used to pay on Saturday of each weekend.  I remember that one Saturday evening he called me.  He said, "Lupita, come.  Here is the money that I owe you for your work."  I do not remember how much he paid me but I remember it was enough money to pay for my beautiful new shoes.

I liked to play soccer
by Martin Gutierrez

     When I was young, I just played with my friends. We loved to play soccer, especially on the weekends.  We played all day.  I don't remember how many friends we were but sometimes some friends needed to wait to play.  When we were young, we didn't call each other by names.  We used nicknames.  Some guys didn't mind the nickname but others were angry.