The Decision to Leave

kianny - mom

With her mother in the D.R.

Kianny was not the one who made the decision to migrate to the United States. Her mother left to Puerto Rico when Kianny was 9 years old.  Her mother fixed her papers (documentation) and Kianny’s as well. Right before finishing high school, her mother gave her her green card. Her mother decided to bring Kianny to the United States when she was 17 because she could not study in the Dominican Republic due to lack of money to pay for schooling. She recalls postponing purchasing her flight tickets up until the last possible minute right: “And I kept postponing it. Like, when do I buy the ticker? Oh, I’ll buy it next week. I’ll buy it. And then I came a couple of days before the 3 months expired.”

She describes leaving the island as a huge loss. Even now she experiences a feeling of loss. Everything that she knew and who she was, was left behind. The change was brutal.

Map view of Kianny's journey from the D.R. to the Bronx, NY.

Map view of Kianny’s journey from the D.R. to the Bronx, NY.

However, despite the large change, she was young and wanted to explore.  Her mother was in Puerto Rico but because she did not like it there, Kianny moved to the Bronx, NY with her aunt. There she lived in a 1-bedroom apartment with her married aunt and 3 cousins. She had a small mattress in the tiny corner of the apartment right by the door and was charged with being the last one to go to sleep and the first to wake. This remained her living situation until she began working to save money and move to someone else’s bedroom. Although it was difficult, she did not see it as difficult at the time, but rather as something that had to be done.

The one thing she knew for certain though, was that she wanted to study and that was what kept her going.

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