Chapter 1, Emma: Leaving Mexico
It was a warm summer day, the humid Oaxacan breeze was coming in through my window. It was the last day of school, and I was excited as I could be; I was only one year away of celebrating my 15th birthday with a classic quinceañera party!
I would wear a big and sparkly pink dress, and my mom will even let me straighten my hair to have a fancy hairdo, instead of my regular afro. My 14 closest girl friends will be my damas de honor, and I would choose every one of them the perfect chambelan, and the hottest boy in school would be mine, that's what I've always wanted! Or at least, that's what my older sister, Sofía, would've wanted, but there was an earthquake on her 15th birthday and it canceled everything, so now I have to make all her quinceañera dreams come true.
I've never had feelings for a boy, and I don't think it's normal. Every single girl in my school is gossiping and fighting about which boy they think is the hottest, or who is in a relationship, and when a girl is missing for more that a week, there's always rumours that she got pregnant, which, unfortunately, are almost always true.
My rumbling stomach was more than enought to distract me from my thoughts, so I quickly made my bed, washed my face, and put on the outfit I had pre-picked yesterday. I looked myself in the mirror and rushed downstairs.
When I arrived to the first floor, the smell of homemade tortillas and homemade cheese from our farm inundated every single room. The plates were already on the table, and my dad was serving us some chocolate milk.
Normally, everyone would serve themselves their food, and my younger brother, Juanito, would be playing with his action figures in the living room while watching cartoons, and Sofía would be eating as fast as she could to get to her highschool as early as possible, so she could have some time to make out with her boyfriend, Noe, behind the bleachers.
But today, however, wasn’t a normal day. I could feel my stomach turn upside down as I saw everyone sitting down around the table. My parents had a "we have news for you" face, and I could tell that both Sofía and Juanito were nervous.
"Sit down Emma," my dad said with a serious voice "we need to talk."
I sat down nervously, and glanced over at my siblings, equally terrified of the news that were about to be told to us.
"We're moving to Canada!" Announced my mom in an excited tone.
I could feel my heart drop. Canada. I wouldn't be able to have my perfect quinceañera, or go out to get ice cream with my friends every summer afternoon, or go to the Guelaguetza. My life would turn upside down, and not in a good way.
I couldn’t help but start to cry, and get lost in my sea of thoughts, I even saw Sofía lock herself in her room, and Juanito started to throw a tantrum.
"It's the best thing for us," my mom said, trying to calm us down "I got an excellent job offer in Toronto! Besides, most of our family is from Canada, so you won't be completely alone."
It was true, both my parents were Canadian, but I was mexican, my siblings were mexican, my friends were mexican, my entire life revolved around Mexico. What would I do in Canada? Sure, I speak English at home, so I wouldn't have a language barrier, but other than that, Canada and Mexico have 2 completely different cultures. And how will I make friends if we can't relate.
All I could think about was moving to Canada, even though it was the last day of school, I was devastated about the fact that I'd have to say goodbye to everyone I knew and loved. I had to start again from scratch once I got to Canada, after all.
"Is this why from October to February I wasn't allowed to leave the house to apply for a highschool 'just so I could study there for my last year of highscool'?" I asked between tears "I knew that wasn't true, but this isn't what I was expecting!"
"What were you expecting? To apply for a programe 4 years later? Of course I was lying!" Added my mom sarcastically.
"I thought you were doing that just to brag to your friends that I was accepted into a Canadian school, or for extra credit," I explained "but not this! This is way worse than what I thought!"
I finished my breakfast, brushed my teeth, and left for school without saying a word on my bike. As always, my friends and I met outside my house, because it was the closest to school, and started riding away.
"I have some terrible news." I announced in a somber tone, which I don't usually use, so, naturally, my friends were worried and expecting the worse.
"Did someone die?" Asked Valeria, worried.
"Are you pregnant?" Camila interrupted me.
"Of course she isn't, Cami! She doesn't even have a boyfriend!" Valeria scolded her. "What happened, Emma?"
I shighed, "I'm moving to Canada in a few weeks."
They both looked at each other and burst out laughing.
"Canada, good joke, eh?" Said Camila, trying to catch her breath from laughing.
"What would you even do in Canada? Drown your tamales in maple syrup?" Joked Valeria.
However, they saw that I wasn't laughing, and that I was starting to cry. That's when they got worried.
"Wait," Vale said "you're not joking."
"I'm not, we have to start packing up this weekend." I announced.
"Really?" Questioned Cami
When we arrived to school and parked our bikes, they hugged me and tried to comfort me.
"At least you'll get away from the cook-an-egg-in-the-sidewalk-hot summer," Cami joked "lucky!"
We all started laughing and as Vale wiped away my tears she said; "It's gonna be okay, we'll keep in contact! Don't worry about it."
The rest of the day went in slow motion. Everyone was having fun, including the teachers! In every class all we did was talk and eat candy. We even watched a movie and had a recess twice as long as usual. But I was still having a terrible day.
That same day, when I got home, I was welcomed by a ton of boxes, suitcases and backpacks. Cami and Vale had decided to help me pack, so at least I wouldn't be alone. We started by laying out everything in my room on the ground, and we decided what I would recycle, what I would donate, and what I would keep.
At first it seemed like an impossibble task, but thank to them it was easier than it would've been if I'd just done it alone. We were joking, singing, gossiping and, before I knew it, we had finished!
It was late, so they went home and I went straight to bed. The next morning, they came in and helped me with my clothes. What didn't fit or I didn't like would be donated, and I'd keep everything else. However, this was way harder than yesterday, because I wanted to make a good first impression when I arrived to Canada.
The sun was setting and we'd only gone through half of my clothes, and we'd eaten 2 boxes of pizza, a whole tub of ice cream, and several soda bottles, most of which, I'd eaten due to the nervousness and anxiety of leaving all my friends behind and going to a completely different country.
After my friends left and my mom saw the terrible mental state I was in, she calles my aunt, who's daughter has depression, and asked her for help on finding me a therapist I could go to once I got to Canada.
Hearing that conversation made my heart ache, and it made me realize that we'd stay in Canada for a long time. I wasn't ready for that, no one was ready. Only my selfish parents who want the best for themselves and couldn't care less about the perfect life we have here in Mexico. Sure, we may not have a lot of money, but at least we're happy; and that's what's most important.
The next day, I didn't want to leave my bed. It was the safe space I could always go to. My parents were worried, and they tried to talk to me and convince me that moving to Canada is the best for all of us, and that I shouldn't have to worry. But I didn't care what they thought, for all I care they're terrible parents.
I didn't want to go to Canada.