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The Arambula sisters miss family in Mexico but enjoy life in the U.S.

Jenna Robinson

Jenna Robinson

The Arambula sisters, senior Brenda (left) and sophomore Mariana, enjoy living in Michigan with their parents.

Autumn Prescott, Kearsley High School

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Immigrating to a new country is a life-changing commitment the Arambula family made years ago.

Mr. Felix Arambula, sophomore Mariana and senior Brenda Arambula’s father, moved to Michigan to find work as a teenager while he was dating their mother Christina. He returned to Mexico, married Christina, and after the wedding the couple moved to Michigan together.

Later, sisters Brenda and Mariana were born in Michigan.

When Brenda was three years old and Mariana was one year old, the family traveled to Durango, Mexico, where their parents are from, to visit family. After the trip, trying to come back to America was difficult.

Mrs. Arambula had trouble with her visa, which is an endorsement that indicates the holder is allowed to enter, leave, or stay in a country for a specified amount of time, and wasn’t allowed to reenter the United States.

The family decided it was best for Brenda and Mariana to stay with their mother in Durango while she waited for her visa paperwork to be fixed. Mr. Arambula continued his trip home to continue with his construction work.

This wait, which took about eight years, left Mariana and Brenda to grow up in a Mexican culture and make memories with their family.

“I like how me and my family got really close. We would always go on vacation, and we would always hang out, like go out to eat and stuff like that,” Brenda said. “We would always hang out at my grandma’s house.”

The grandmother’s house they visited was Grandma Christina, their maternal grandmother, because they lived with their mother at their paternal grandmother’s house, Grandma Gloria.

Brenda and Mariana attended school in Mexico, which is set up differently than American schools. The Arambula sisters attended a small private school.

Brenda said, “Over there, like when you’re in the sixth grade, after that you move to secondary school, which is like seventh, eighth, and ninth grades. And then 10th, 11th, and 12th is before you go to college.”

After the United States finally granted her a visa, Mrs. Arambula and her daughters — Brenda, 11, and Mariana, 9 — traveled back to Michigan to be with their father.

Mariana said, “My dad was making a good amount of money in his job to support us all. They thought the move was better, economic wise.”

The adjustment was difficult and there were many things the sisters had to learn about American culture. The English language was an especially hard obstacle to face.

“Since we moved to Mexico when I was 3 years old, I didn’t remember any English,” Brenda said. “I thought people were going to make fun of me or look at me weird because of the language barrier.”

Learning the language was especially difficult, Brenda said, because she and her sister had a basic knowledge of English.

“It was hard because I only knew the basic stuff (in English) like numbers and colors and stuff, but I couldn’t have a conversation, like a fluent conversation,” Brenda said. “So I had to learn. In middle school, we had a second-language teacher, and she helped us sometimes.”

Today, the girls are glad they made the move and enjoy living in America. Certain things like the environment and learning opportunities, such as learning French, have become their favorite things about living in the United States.

Mariana said, “I would say I like the weather most, specifically when it comes to winter time. Yes, I hate the cold, but for coming from a country where it doesn’t snow during this time, it’s really nice to see snowfall. The view is just beautiful to me. I love it.”

Brenda and Mariana have a large family of 14 cousins, sevens aunts and uncles, and their grandparents who still live in Mexico.

“Even though I miss my family like crazy,” Brenda said, “I am pretty happy we moved because we are so used to it here now, and now I can speak more than one language.”

Both girls speak Spanish and English fluently, while they are also learning French.

Brenda and Mariana appreciate living in Michigan as a family with their mother and father.

Their dad has a good job, they spend quality time with their mom, and they get to grow up with each other.

Mariana said, “My sister and I are going to school, getting our education, and learning life lessons. As long as the four of us are together, things are good and, hopefully, continue to be.”

Read the original story here.

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