A couple of months ago, I was sitting at the dinner table with my mom and dad. I was eating and they were just having a conversation as they went through the mail. “Lombriz, leeme esto” my dad said to me as he handed me a letter for me to translate. I began reading through it and was able to perfectly understand it until I began to think about the words I had to translate. I began to get frustrated because I was unable to translate words I perfectly understood in english to spanish, my first language. My dad took me out of my thoughts as he said, “Entonces, que dice?” I began explaining him the more simple words I was able to translate and then I choked not knowing what to say next. I tried to use other words to fill in the blanks but none made the letter clear. I saw my dad’s face as he got irritated and upset that I was not able to do the one thing he asked me to do. “Entonces pa que vas a la escuela si no aprendes nada? Que no pones atención o que?” he exclaimed at me as he stood up and snatched the letter from my hand. I sat there in shock not knowing what to say. Not being able to help the only people I want to give back to, made me feel useless. All my parents ask of me is to do good in school, help around the house, take care of my younger brothers and work.  At the same time, I understood that translating was also out of my learning since in school we don’t learn spanish and the words I speak in spanish aren’t the same as in English. However, it made me think of other places where my parents will face not being able to understand some English. It also made me think of all the other people who in this country understand little to no English. My dad and I were able to sit down after and talk and I explained to him that the English we learn in school isn’t related to bills nor do we have a Spanish class that would allow us to learn how to translate. He apologized and said he understood. I am truly fortunate and grateful towards my parents for opening new doors for me allowing me to learn a new language.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 New Doors by Karina is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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  1. Eva 6 months ago

    You bring up such an important point about bilingualism. To be truly bilingual, you need to be taught functional language in both Spanish and English. I’m sorry that we’re not helping you with that at Life Academy. This must have been such a frustrating experience for you. But, I’m glad that you and your dad were able to come to a place of empathy and resolution.

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