Silvia Aquino Montes

Why did you move to the US?

Because my dad got a better job offer

What was it like when you first started living here?

It was very difficult. At first, I felt enclosed because we came here in the summer and we were planning to buy a house but we weren't able to purchase it. So we had to a stay in an apartment with only one car and my dad needed that car for work so we were stuck inside the whole summer. We would go out on the weekends but not that often.

Did you ever explore the area once you moved into the apartment?

Somewhat. We only had one car and we did have another one but it didn't run.

Were you scared to venture out because you had just moved here?

Yeah, I was scared. It is very intimidating because everything in Puerto Rico is compacted because it’s a small island. Back in Puerto Rico, the biggest highway was five lanes and here the highways are much bigger. Driving for an hour here feels so much longer than back at home. We had to drive an hour to get to the closest Costco and by the time we got home we were so tired.

What do you miss the most about Puerto Rico?

The hot weather and I feel like it's so black and white here. I visited Puerto Rico three years ago and it was so colorful and different. All the houses are different colors and shapes and here all the houses are the same and it just feels so grey.

What was the hardest thing to adjust to here?

Speaking English. I spoke English, but only the basics. Here people use different words for different things.

Were you ever bullied because you were from Puerto Rico?

No. I felt isolated from those in ESL (English as a second language) and those that were born here. I knew English so I was not put into ESL and I didn't grow up with the people who grew up in the town so I felt like I was in between them.

If there is any advice you can give to someone moving to the US for the first time to make the transition easier?

Don't stop yourself from knowing things. Explore. Talk to people. Don't let your insecurities as English being a second language or being a different culture stop you from exploring new places and meeting new people.