‘A completely new world’

PV sophomore moved from Cuba

Sophomores+Adriana+Bermudez+and+Melissa+Vazquez+both+attend+Pascack+Valley.+Bermudez+left+Cruces%2C+Cuba%2C+when+she+was+13+years+old+for+more+opportunities.+
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‘A completely new world’

Sophomores Adriana Bermudez and Melissa Vazquez both attend Pascack Valley. Bermudez left Cruces, Cuba, when she was 13 years old for more opportunities.

Sophomores Adriana Bermudez and Melissa Vazquez both attend Pascack Valley. Bermudez left Cruces, Cuba, when she was 13 years old for more opportunities.

Talia Dian

Sophomores Adriana Bermudez and Melissa Vazquez both attend Pascack Valley. Bermudez left Cruces, Cuba, when she was 13 years old for more opportunities.

Talia Dian

Talia Dian

Sophomores Adriana Bermudez and Melissa Vazquez both attend Pascack Valley. Bermudez left Cruces, Cuba, when she was 13 years old for more opportunities.

By Brianna Espindola, Pascack Valley High School

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Now a Pascack Valley sophomore, 13-year-old Adriana Bermudez woke up knowing her life would change forever on Dec. 11, 2015. She was about to leave her sister, grandmother, boyfriend, friends, and hometown Cruces, Cuba, to go live in New Jersey with her uncle.

Bermudez said she felt as if she “entered a completely new world.”

“It was not easy to move to a new country and adapt yourself to a new environment,” Bermudez said.

Like many other immigrants going to the U.S, she came to America for more opportunities and a brighter future for herself. She is planning on going to college to practice law because she “could learn something new everyday.”

Bermudez’s sister, Dayana, could not come to the U.S. because she was over 18 and would need to obtain her own green card. At PV, Bermudez has a cousin, Melissa Vazquez, who is a freshman and has always lived in River Vale.

“Before [she moved], we weren’t close and we didn’t talk a lot, but now, I think of her as my sister,” Vazquez said.

Bermudez’s favorite moment with Vasquez was going with Vazquez to Cuba together. She thought it was very special because before when Bermudez used to live in Cuba, Vazquez and she would not really hang out. Now that they are closer, they would hangout a lot in Cuba.

When we went together for the first time together, I thought it was very special. When I used to live [in Cuba], Melissa and I wouldn’t talk to each other and we wouldn’t hang out.”

— Adriana Bermudez

“When we went together for the first time together, I thought it was very special,” Bermudez said. “When I used to live [in Cuba], Melissa and I wouldn’t talk to each other and we wouldn’t hang out.”

Bermudez lived in River Vale during eighth grade with her uncle until her parents got a stable job, and then moved to Hillsdale for her freshman year at PV. Bermudez said that schooling in Cuba is much different than in the U.S.

“They don’t use computers [in Cuba],” Bermudez said. “They only use books and they write everything down on paper. There are benefits to this, though. It is so much easier to remember everything. I like school over there but I like it more here.”

Bermudez said in the United States, they “learn,” compared to in Cuba, it was an obligation for students to go to school.

She likes being in the U.S. but said that there were many difficulties adjusting. Learning English was one of the biggest challenges she faced because she thinks that she “had to relearn how to speak.”

“I didn’t have any idea how to use my first phone or what to do with it,” Bermudez said.

It’s hard to learn a language, make new friends, change basically your whole life, and adapt to a new system and weather.”

— Adriana Bermudez

Bermudez said that she misses her friends and relatives that live in Cuba even though she is able to visit them every year during the summer. While in Cuba, she saw her family every day since they lived close.

“What I miss more about [my friends] is hanging out,” Bermudez said.  “Since all of us lived so close after school, we would go to town and stay there until like 8 p.m. I like being there with them and hanging out because I don’t have a lot of friends here.”

Bermudez is planning on getting her citizenship when she turns 18 because in the U.S., 18 is the minimum age. However, her parents have a green card and work permission.

“I am doing well even though school is a little difficult,” Bermudez said. “It’s hard to learn a language, make new friends, change basically your whole life, and adapt to a new system and weather.”

This story was originally published on The Smoke Signal on March 26, 2019.