By Rosura Estrada
When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind”
After graduating college, I decided to be open to opportunities and go where the wind took me. I landed in Donna, TX. I was there for two years to serve as a Teach for America Physics teacher for a charter school that serves mostly low-income Hispanic students.
I’d never gone to this region of Texas, “El Valle”. I felt far away from home, yet so close. Whenever I missed home, I would just go outside to the nearest taqueria or even Chic-fil-a, and was always greeted in Spanish. I would look outside my apartment window in the mornings and see the next-door field that reminded me so much of Mama Sipriana’s Rancho in Mexico. The best part was that most of my kids spoke Spanglish and I couldn’t imagine having it any other way.
After this experience, I decided to start my career in what I had studied, engineering. I wanted to become a STEM professional and show students what a Latina is capable of. Si se puede! I am still far away from home as I reach new heights and realizing it can get lonely. I am the only Latina in my office. Nevertheless, I always feel an urge to find myself at home through language. I listen to my Grupo Fantasma Pandora channel to get me through the afternoon slump at the office. I support bilingual live Latin bands such as Making Movies or Mariachi El Bronx at the local bar. I sing at the Spanish coro on Sundays. I read Octavio Paz before I go to sleep. My maternal language, El Español, has served as a companion I can take with me wherever I go as far as I want to go.
Language has become the means through which I keep myself rooted, to feel at ease when anxiety wants to take a hold of me.
I’ve realized that the higher I climb, the deeper my roots must become. Not only to remember where I come from, but to stay true to myself.