For mami, the states was “la ultima coca cola en el desierto” (the last coca-cola in the desert). The best thing in the world. Her intentions were to come to the states and study medicine, but after a few months she realized not knowing the English language meant being stuck with the worst jobs. “Ni en la bodega se hablaba Español.” You wouldn’t hear Spanish, not even in the grocery stores.
She began the first 20 years in the states working in sewing factories, but once all those jobs were outsourced the next step was to become a home health aid.
Her morning routine always requires the same ritual. She gets up AT LEAST 4 hours before she needs to be at work. Then she leaves at least an hour and a half before her twelve hour shift. Even if it only takes her 30 minutes to get there, she still leaves way too early.
20 years after starting her new job, my mom is a 64 year old home health aid still working 12 hour shifts, considering if she should push her retirement in order to help make ends meet.