Once upon a time, there was a young woman named Linda from San Salvador, El Salvador. Linda wanted to move to the United States to reunite with her husband who moved to the United States of America years earlier and recently got his Green Card. Linda’s dream came true when she applied, was approved to receive a visa, and got on a plane to the United States for a better life. Linda said her goodbyes to her parents in San Salvador, El Salvador, and left for Southern California, USA.
Linda arrived in Santa Ana, California, USA, and was happy to reunite with her husband, Nelson. She was amazed at how thin he became and how many hours he worked in construction to pay the bills and send money to the family in El Salvador. She promised she would take good care of him and become successful in the United States to help with the bills and work together to buy a house and start a family together. She kept her promise and showed how much she cared for Nelson every moment from then on. She also regularly cooked some traditional foods like pupusas, tamales, and sopa de plata which Nelson loved.
A few weeks after Linda arrived, she and her husband, Nelson, met with an immigration lawyer who helped her obtain a work permit and apply for a Green Card. Her goal was to find a job to help take care of the bills and find an online or weekend English course so she would become fluent in English. She saw how hard her husband worked, and she wanted to make them both proud by becoming successful in the USA.
It took Linda three weeks to find a job and evening and weekend online English courses, and then she started working and going to school. During the day, Linda started working at a warehouse company called Superstar Foods. She packed products in boxes to be shipped out to customers. It was hard work but Linda was happy to be able to help her husband pay the bills and start saving money for a home. Linda registered for two free online English courses through North Orange Community Education, part of North Orange Community College District. Her teacher was Maestro Sersea, who helped her improve her English communication and comprehension skills. She was proud she was so productive and happy to be in the USA with her husband.
However, it did not take long before Linda found that her new life in the United States was not all roses and sunshine. Linda found that Santa Ana was not a safe place for her and her husband because gangs, drug dealers, and criminals preyed on people like her and the immigrants who came from countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and other countries. She felt afraid walking home from work as she saw gang members selling illegal drugs on street corners. Nelson told her that now that they were both working, he would buy a car for her to drive and not have to walk at night through dangerous streets.
Nelson kept his promise, bought a car, and helped Linda learn how to drive. Linda learned the street signs and soon became confident driving with Nelson. Nelson ensured he got car insurance for both of them so they were protected in case of an accident. On the day of the written test, Linda was nervous. She wanted to pass the test but was afraid she would do poorly. Luckily, Linda did great on the written test and was scheduled for the driving test. A few weeks later, Linda took the driving test and passed it. Both Nelson and Linda went to a restaurant to celebrate her accomplishment.
At the restaurant, Linda and Nelson talked about their future. They both agreed they wanted to start a family, but they needed to move out of Santa Ana to a safer place where they could afford to buy a house of their own. Orange County, California, was beautiful but too expensive for them to buy a house and start a family.
Linda continued working hard, and Nelson started extra hours to save money for the down payment on a house. They had decided to move to Bakersfield, California, to buy a home and start a family. Bakersfield was about two and a half hours away, about one and a half hours north of Los Angeles, California. It was a big town where you could get a decent home in the mid-200,000 dollars range. This was a big difference from Orange County, where small homes started in the 800,000 dollars range.
Linda continued her online English classes and made great progress in her English. She enjoyed learning English and collaborating with other students. Nelson was proud of her for making big progress in becoming fluent in English. Maestro Sersea, her English teacher, constantly encouraged Linda to stay in school and continue improving her skills. He told her that after becoming more fluent in English, she should start a certificate program NOCE offered for free during the evenings.
Linda took him up on the offer and began to attend classes as an Office Assistant. She left her job at the warehouse and started working as a secretary at a law firm to help save money for the down payment on a house. She was happy that now she was earning more and didn’t have to work as hard as at the warehouse. Linda finished her online English as a Second Classes and focused on finishing her Office Assistant certificate. Maestro Sersea told Linda that she was very lucky to have this opportunity because in most countries, you could not get such free education.
Linda and Nelson had bank accounts and credit cards, and their credit ratings were in the mid-700s. They had saved up money for their home and put it in their savings accounts. They would start looking for jobs and houses in Bakersfield in a few months. Nelson was sure to find a job in construction, and Linda was almost done with her Office Assistant certificate program.
When Linda finished her Certificate Program, she was extremely happy. She thanked her teachers and Maestro Sersea, who were proud of her academic accomplishments. She now had a certificate to help her get a good job in Bakersfield. Nelson said it was time for them to go to Bakersfield every weekend to look for jobs, find a real estate agent, and start looking for homes.
When they moved to Bakersfield, Linda started work at another law office to earn money to help cover bills. She saw this as a long-term position and career instead of just a job. The people there were really friendly, and Linda was proud of her work there. She felt she made a difference in people’s lives. This was so much better than packing boxes at a warehouse. Nelson found a great construction company in Bakersfield and started working as a Foreman.
With help from their new real estate agent in Bakersfield, they looked at close to 15 different homes. Finally, they found a nice house in a safe neighborhood. Linda was happy with the house, the area, and the weather. The house was affordable but not too big. It had four bedrooms and two bathrooms. It was an older house but well kept up. The price for the house was $300,000. They got a 30-year home mortgage with a low-interest rate because of their large down payment and high credit, so the monthly home mortgage payment was cheaper than the rent they paid in Santa Ana. Linda and Nelson loved living in Bakersfield. They loved being homeowners and made friends with many of their neighbors.
The good news kept coming for Linda and Nelson. Their immigration lawyer told Nelson he was scheduled for the American Citizenship ceremony. He was very happy he could become a citizen of the country that adopted him and gave him opportunities to be successful. Linda also received news that her application for a Green Card was approved. She was happy that she was a permanent resident of the United States, well on her way of becoming an American citizen. She was grateful to live in a country where her dreams came true through hard work and determination.
For the next couple of years, Linda and Nelson enjoyed each other and their new home. On weekends they had barbecue parties and invited their neighbors and friends. During vacations, they traveled around the United States and visited different cities and states. They especially loved visiting Washington D.C., where they visited the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and even the White House.
Then one morning, Linda began to feel sick. Linda and Nelson were worried and they both took off from work and went to the hospital. They were scared that Linda was severely sick. The doctor tested Linda’s blood, gave her an ultrasound, and smiled. She told them that they should be happy and excited because they had a set of healthy twins. Linda couldn’t believe she was pregnant. She would soon be a mother, and that’s exactly what she wanted. Nelson was jumping up and down with joy.
Soon after, Linda and Nelson became parents of twins, a boy and a girl. Everything they ever wanted to achieve, everything they ever dreamed of, came true. Linda and Nelson were together, happy, and in love. They both had good-paying careers. They owned a home they loved. And now, they had a family of their own. They appreciated all they had and looked forward to their future in the United States of America.
English Learners, what did you think of this story? What did you like, and what did you want to be different? How would you continue this story? Add your insights in the comments section below.
Activity: Multiple-Choice Questions
Directions: Please take out a sheet of paper or use your notebook to write your answers. Once you write your answers on your paper, please review the answer key below.
- Based on the passage, why did Linda want to move to the United States?
A) To reunite with her parents in San Salvador, El Salvador.
B) To find a better job opportunity in the construction industry.
C) To start a family and live in a safer environment.
D) To pursue higher education and improve her English skills.
- Which word best describes Linda’s emotions when she arrived in Santa Ana, California?
- What did Linda promise her husband, Nelson, when she arrived in the United States?
A) To learn how to drive and buy a car.
B) To find a job and help with the bills.
C) To cook traditional foods for him.
D) To take good care of him and become successful.
- What motivated Linda to find a job and attend English courses?
A) Her desire to become fluent in English.
B) Her goal to reunite with her parents.
C) Her passion for teaching English.
D) Her interest in working at a law firm.
- Why did Linda feel afraid walking home from work in Santa Ana?
A) Gang members were selling illegal drugs.
B) She didn’t know the area well.
C) She had a fear of driving at night.
D) She had encountered criminals before.
- How did Linda and Nelson plan to save money for a house?
A) By working extra hours and finding higher-paying jobs.
B) By investing in stocks and real estate.
C) By cutting down on expenses and living frugally.
D) By applying for government assistance programs.
- What did Linda do to improve her English communication and comprehension skills?
A) Took online English courses.
B) Attended a certificate program for free.
C) Hired a private English tutor.
D) Practiced speaking with her neighbors.
- What did Linda and Nelson do to improve their credit ratings?
A) Opened bank accounts and credit cards.
B) Paid off all their debts.
C) Applied for loans and mortgages.
D) Participated in credit counseling programs.
- Why did Linda leave her job at the warehouse?
A) She found a higher-paying job as a secretary.
B) She wanted to pursue a career in construction.
C) She was laid off due to company downsizing.
D) She was offered a position at a law firm.
- How did Linda and Nelson afford to buy a house in Bakersfield?
A) They won the lottery and used the prize money.
B) They took out a large mortgage loan.
C) They received financial assistance from their families.
D) They saved up money for a down payment.
- What did Linda and Nelson do to celebrate their accomplishments?
A) Went on a vacation to Washington D.C.
B) Hosted barbecue parties for their neighbors.
C) Bought new furniture for their new home.
D) Went out for a fancy dinner at a restaurant.
- What news did Linda receive about her immigration status?
A) Her application for a Green Card was approved.
B) She was scheduled for an American Citizenship ceremony.
C) She was selected for a diversity visa lottery.
D) She was granted refugee status.
- How did Linda and Nelson’s life change after they moved to Bakersfield?
A) They started their own business.
B) They had a set of healthy twins.
C) They won a community service award.
D) They became active members of a local church.
- What did the doctor reveal to Linda and Nelson during their hospital visit?
A) Linda was severely ill and needed treatment.
B) They were expecting a set of healthy twins.
C) They needed to undergo further tests and examinations.
D) They should consider adoption as an option.
- How did Linda and Nelson feel about their life in the United States?
A) Regretful and homesick
B) Content and grateful
C) Ambivalent and uncertain
D) Disappointed and frustrated