BC: This book is based on a true story. The Sanchez family moved from Chile to America a few years ago. Ray, the oldest son, is writing a letter to his grandparents back in Chile telling of his life here in America. Pay close attention to what Ray and his family face living in a culture that is very different from their own.
FC: My Life in America Jennifer Carman
1: I would like to dedicate this book to the Sanchez family for all of their time and help in making this book possible. They are truly a special family to me, and I have grown to really love and appreciate each and every one of them.
3: My Life in America By: Jennifer Carman
5: It was a brisk, cold Friday afternoon when Ray and Tomas came home from school. “Mama, there is nothing to do. It is too cold to go outside and I am finished all of my homework for the weekend,” sighed Ray. “Ray, you have plenty of toys and games in the basement. Why don’t you find a game to play?” Mama replied. “That’s okay. I am not really in the game mood,” muttered Ray.
7: “Well, I am getting dinner ready shortly and Jenn will be here in about a half hour. Papa’ and I decided to go out to eat tonight. Just find something to do until Jenn gets here and I am sure you will have lots of fun for the rest of the night,” reassured Mama. “Okay, maybe I will-“ “I know what you can do,” Mama exclaimed. “You can write Tita and Tata a letter. I was just talking to them on the phone yesterday, and they were saying how much they miss all of us here in America. I am sure they would love to hear from you.” “Okay, I do miss them a lot too so maybe I will write them,” Ray said thoughtfully.
8: Before Mama had the chance to say another word, Ray hurried up the steps, got out a piece of paper and pencil, and began to write at his desk… Dear Tita and Tata, Hi! How are you? I’m good. I miss you. How is everything in Chile? It’s cold here in America. The weather changes a lot. It is so crazy. It’s almost May, and can you believe that we actually had a snow storm last week?
11: I really miss the warm weather of Chile. I love playing in the snow with Tomas, Ben, and Trini, but we are all looking forward to playing soccer outside in the nice, warm, and sunny weather. I have a soccer game scheduled for next Sunday, but I don’t know if we will be able to play with all of this snow.
12: The other day, I was thinking about all of the memories I have had here in America so far. It seems like just yesterday when we all landed in America for the first time. I was so scared. I didn’t really know what to expect. It was a struggle learning a whole new language, but I enjoyed the challenge.
15: The funny thing is now we actually have a hard time remembering our own language at times. Mama does a great job at making sure that we don’t lose our Spanish, and we do our best to help her with her English. We have taken many fun trips all over America as a family since we have been here.
16: My favorite trip was when our family went to California. It was cool to see the western shows. Trini’s favorite trip was Walt Disney World. Ben enjoyed our trip to Canada, and Tomas said that he had a great time when we all went to Virginia. I do agree that Busch Gardens was a lot of fun.
18: It was surprising at first when we traveled because I was not used to so many different looking people living in one country. In Chile, the people are more alike. It makes it easier for us here in America sometimes because they accept our differences. We don’t stand out because we are Chilean.
21: I really miss our family summer vacations to your house on the island. I was just telling my friends at school the other day about all of the fun times I have had fishing, taking trips in the boat, and going to the beach in Chile. My friends thought it was so cool and asked if I could take them with me next time we go. I don’t think they realize how far away Chile is or even anything about our country other than what I tell them.
22: Sometimes it seems like Americans think that their country is the only great country out there, but Tomas, Ben, Trini, Pablo, and I know that is not true. We are proud to be Chilean. Sometimes living here makes us feel like we are not Chilean, but we also do not feel American.
25: It is hard at times because we have all made some good friends here and play a lot of sports, but we never know when we will have to pack things up, leave it all behind, and go back to Chile.
26: Anyway, I guess I better go now. I think I hear Mama calling me down for dinner. I am so excited. We are having hot dogs for dinner tonight, and Jenn, our babysitter, will be here any minute now. I love you both so much. Tell the rest of the family I said hi and I miss them too. Have a great day! See you in the summer! Love Always, Ray
29: About the Author Hi! My name is Jenn Carman. I am a senior at Baptist Bible College in the Elementary Education program. I presently live with my parents and 2 brothers-Josh and Jason in Coatesville, PA. I absolutely love kids and look forward to teaching them. I also really enjoy running, scrapbooking, singing, playing the piano, reading, and spending time with my amazing family. The inspiration for this story came from the time I was able to spend getting to know the Sanchez family as I babysat their children- Ray, Tomas, Ben, Trini, and Pablo. I wanted to write a book that would help children understand the opportunities and difficulties that other children their age face when they leave their homeland and culture and come to America. The greatest opportunity I have had as an American citizen is to have the freedom to choose what I believe in. When I was about 5 years old, I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, and ever since that day He has continually blessed my life in so many ways. He is my Best Friend, and I am so thankful for the unconditional love, forgiveness, and joy that He brings to my life.
30: Behind the Scenes