Itinerary and decisions

For a moment, I wished I had stayed in Berkeley and accepted USF’s offer of admission. There are several compelling reasons to stay in California. I’d be close to my family, and for an undocumented student who hasn’t been able to get a steady job, moving to Virginia is a really stupid idea. I also like California, at least northern California, and love San Francisco. If I could choose a place to live at (in?) for the rest of my life, it might very well be the Bay Area.

But Hollins seemed like a better fit that USF, mainly because it was unfamiliar. Staying in SF meant seeing the people I’d become used to seeing, spending time with them instead of spending time writing. Hollins was a good choice a couple of months ago.

I remember when I first came to Berkeley (or Oakland, rather) and went to be in my new room in my new home. I had an intense feeling of disorientation and fear, as if going to bed in a strange new place were the most frightening thing I’d ever experienced. I’m pretty sure that when I go to bed in Virginia on the first night, I’ll be quite terrified, if only because now, help will be three thousand miles away instead of three hundred.

I think I’ve figured out my itinerary for the next three weeks or so. I’ll fly out of Los Angeles, connect somewhere in the midwest, and end up arriving in Raleigh, NC. After that, it’ll probably have to be the Greyhound bus to Roanoke, although I’m a little scared of traveling at all at the moment, because of the increase in deportations.

Two things before I crash for the night, both relating to different aspects of friendship:

1. To my new friend – don’t give up. I hope fate sends you here again for this message.

2. Thank you for saying this: “The undocumented immigrant thing must be really hard. I was reading through your blog and it hit me suddenly that it hasn’t exactly been a cakewalk for you. You must have really worked to get where you are– America can be really hard, I guess– and I really admire that.”

I don’t think anyone realizes the difficulty of being undocumented, and so I appreciate what you said. I have tried to work hard. I think I’m very optimistic about everything because I know things couldn’t really be any worse for me. I always think about those people who aren’t really doing anything with their lives and what I would give to be them, to have a chance to do something.

It looks like I will be able to take part in a class action lawsuit against the USCIS (US immigration service). If the court rules in our favor, I’d get my priority date shifted six years back, to 2001, meaning I would get my green card in a matter of months. I hope the case goes to court very soon.

8 thoughts on “Itinerary and decisions

  1. Best of luck to you, Denis – I've been avoiding the blogosphere out of political cynicism and stress over my partner's medical condition- and I was afraid to come back to your blog and see you had cancelled plans to go to hollins. Good luck. Your immigration stories are very interesting to me. I'm looking to move out of the country so my family can afford health care, and having spent a lot of time looking at different countries, it seems it would be very, very stressful to secure long term residency practically anywhere. Canada is probably our best bet.

  2. 🙂

    I began work on my story after reading your email. It's a bigger start than I could have ever hoped for. Thank you.

  3. You know where I stand on the MFA and location, so I won't rehash it. I will say that what you are doing takes a lot of gall, and that is to be commended. Moving somewhere where you have no tenable connections or history can be scary. But you've done that by coming here in the first place. It will help your writing, I know it will, and probably make you a better person too because that's a cliches and cliches are universally true!

  4. I'm crossing my fingers everything works out! Things seem difficult and complicated, but I do think your choice to move and attend an MFA program in a new place is the right one. Writing should be about exploration, and often that means literal, off-the-page adjustments, moves and new definitions of home.

  5. I hope you know that your experience doesn't go unshared. I may not have been undocumented when I came over here, but I do know what it's like to live as a poor immigrant. I appreciate every second of where I am today, and part of that optimism stems from overcoming past hardships. I commend you for your perseverence. Don't ever stop doing what you love doing best.

  6. You'll have people to call upon in Greensboro if you start freaking out, which is only about 100 miles away.

    Doesn't Roanoke have an airport? I'm sure it's more expensive to fly into, but after adding in busfare from Raleigh, it could work out to be the same.

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