C1 Welcome to Neutral
I am finally, finally, here. After years of processing my papers, years of focus in studying, I am finally here. Cara Astrid Noble is finally here! In the country where opportunity is far, far, greater than where I’ve come from. I will be spending two years in high school in this foreign land. Back where I’m from, I am technically a high school senior; but at 16 and in this country, I am at just the right age to start my junior year in high school.
Finishing high school here will later give me better access to world-class universities, which might lead into me having a good life. I can’t stop thinking of all the possibilities, the future that I’d be able to make for myself here. A very good one. Far better than my parents had. Maybe even better than my aunt who’s the first one to come here as an immigrant worker. It literally took me blood (nose bleeds because I just won’t stop studying), sweat and tears to get here and I won’t let anything to jeopardize this. I owe it to my parents, to my aunt, to myself.
“So, this is your room, I know it’s small and we’re a bit cramped in this apartment, but I hope you’d still be comfortable.” Annie, my mom’s youngest sister said as she put the last of my boxes on the floor of my new room. I’m in love. The room isn’t that huge, but it has a huge window. It is right on the wall as you enter my room, letting in all the sunlight, and two small corner windows by my bed. “I see you’ve put the wallpaper of my liking, huh.” I said as I note of the wallpaper with pale violet vintage flowers. The room, even a little small looks amazing and comfortable. “I have my own bathroom too?!” Annie nodded and proceeded to show me a small bathroom with a bath-shower combo, a toilet, and a sink.
Annie lives at the top of a four-floor apartment building. According to her, this was the best among all the places she looked into, years ago once she could afford a place of her own. The 4th floor was supposed to be the storage area for the building, but the owner at the last minute decided to turn some of the space into another apartment. Annie said she got the lease for “a very, low price” and has lived here since then.
Turns out the owner of the building is friends with one of her friends which is why she got the place on a cheaper rent. “You got me a four-poster bed? You didn’t have to!” I exclaimed as I bounced on the mattress of the bed which took half of the room. I don’t even care about the space. Imagine what I can do to make this room pretty! MY. OWN. ROOM! “Well, there was a huge sale at IKEA, and I had extra so…” Annie smiled indulgingly at me and took out the pillows and bedsheets from the cabinet.
“And here’s the stuff that goes with your bed.” Annie (she refused to be called Aunt Annie), sat next to me and sighed. “You ready for this? It’s going to be quite a change.” I swallowed at the tender look on her face and nodded. My aunt looked tired, but still very beautiful. The first time I saw her at the airport, she looked a little bit lonely, she smiled a bright smile though, so I forgot to ask her about it.
Annie left home at 19 and has spent the last eight years here, working. She started as a nanny, even though she has a degree at early childhood development; she said if she wants to be something, she has to start somewhere, even at the bottom. So, she did. Right now, she’s one of the teachers at a privately-ran daycare centers located at the Upper Neutral which paid good, she said, and with that, she “can definitely support me”.
You might be asking how on earth is she a degree holder at age of 19? Well, she started school earlier than most children back home (just a year early though, I think), graduated high school at 15, attended a public university back home before she was even 16. By 19, she had her degree in college, found an opportunity to work here as a lived-in nanny and the rest is history. And because my aunt is kind and selfless, she worked hard to be able to bring me over here with her. To ensure that she had enough residency to be able to apply for a citizenship, she skipped going home for holidays and important events for years and just worked and worked. She also never bothered for a relationship the whole time she was working to petition me. She’s technically my mother—she actually adopted me when I was 10. My real mom said it’d be easier for my aunt to petition me when the time is right.
And that time is now.