|To submit a story, please:
send it in an email to WoWlibrary@fresnolibrary.org,
mail it to ATTN: WoW Office, 2420 Mariposa St., Fresno, CA 93721,
or drop it off at any Fresno County Public Library branch in an envelope addressed: ATTN WoW.
|Here are some of the stories we've received so far. . .|
| I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I've lived all over the Eastern and Midwestern states (Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio and Kentucky). I lived in Cincinnati, Ohio for 12 years and owned a house there. After I graduated with my Master of Library and Information Science degree from Indiana University, I was faced with having to find a job in a tough market. Luckily, I had the ability to pick up my life and move to wherever. One place I never thought I would be is California.
I never had any desire to move to California or even to visit. But my best friend from grad school got a position at Fresno Pacific University. One day when I was looking through job ads for librarian positions, I saw a listing for Fresno County Public Library. On a whim, I went ahead and applied. I thought, well, at least I'd know one person! Little did I know that that whim would determine my future.
In September of 2014, I packed my little car with as much of my stuff as I could. But what I was leaving behind was even bigger: my house of six years; my mother; my 6 year old dog; everyone I knew; the Eastern Time zone; snow; normalcy.
I drove across the country on my own. It was a great experience. I wish I had had more time to do it as a sight seer. It was the most beautiful drive I've ever been on. The U.S. has some absolutely stunning scenery. But I got sunburned just driving through Nevada. No one ever told me to wear sunscreen just to drive; that's not really something to worry about back East. Before the actual move to California, I had spent a total of two days in Fresno. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I moved in with my friend from grad school. I crashed on her couch until I bought a new bed...which wouldn't fit up her stairs. We set it up in her bare dining room and for nearly four months, I slept there. In a dining room. During my first two days at work for the county, I learned a very important lesson. Never leave a can of soda in the car. It was like 105 (in September!!!) and evidently soda cans will explode in heat. I had no idea.
Over New Years, I drove to Colorado to be reunited with my dog. My sister drove him halfway out. I had gotten my own place, finally. Being reunited with my dog meant the world to me. But nothing felt normal yet. Everyone I know that I haven't met through work is far away. I haven't seen my mother in over a year. I haven't seen my best friend since I drove across the country to move here. I haven't spent more than 6 hours with my sister in three years.
The summers are the hardest. I don't deal well with the extreme temperatures. It's just nothing like I'd ever experienced. Even when I spent a summer in Israel, it didn't feel like this day after day heat. Another thing that I'll never get used to, or like, is having to watch football at ten in the morning or at five thirty in the evening. It really should be called "Monday Evening Football" here on the West Coast. I don't like how if I don't call folks back home immediately after work, it's too late to call them.
But it's not all bad. I got to drive down the coast from San Francisco to LA. That was amazing. I've been to a couple of the National Parks. Yosemite is really breathtaking. I like the "winter" here. I like being in driving distance of some amazing places. I've made some incredible friends.
And the thing that has kept me here in California: I love my job. I've been able to do some really amazing things that have an impact on the community here at Fresno County Public Library. But it's not home yet. My home is 2,400 miles away. And there are some days that it really feels that far. I don't know if I'll ever be a California-girl. I seriously doubt it. But, as the months continue to pass, it feels like California is becoming more like home. One day, maybe I'll stop feeling like a tourist.
| My name is Angela. I am from China. My journey to California started in 2013. My favorite food is sushi. I like sushi and I can make sushi, too. I worked at a media company in China.
I came to California all by myself. I miss my family and friends and co-workers so much. I only use WeChat of social media to talk to them. When the holidays are coming, I will feel lonely. I can't do anything with them, like play ping pong or karaoke or something like that. So I will go to the library and read some books.
I think I will feel better after I spend a long time here because I will meet more friends and I enjoy life in the nice and free country.
| I am from Mexico. My name is Martha. I came to the United States in 1989. I have three children: two sons and one daughter. I miss my brothers and my sisters. They are in Mexico. My life in the United States is better. More happy here. Job here is better. Better life.
My favorite food is Sopes and for the whole family are enchiladas.
| My mother came from a rural countryside from the small humble town of Nos Histian, Oaxca. It has very vivid culture; bright dresses and ribbons in braids, handmade and crafted goods and beautiful scenery galore.
Although, one simple dish stands out. That dish is Sopes. A traditional and easy to make finger food. How can a simple finger food stand out? It's just a simple 3 inch rounded tortilla to many, but it means the world to us. My mother always loved to spend her time in the kitchen with ma-maria. Every ingredient was handmade with care, which made it so special.
Over 20 years later, my mother continues to share the recipe with her child, me, Kenya. I plan to carry on this tradition to my children. And made sure this tradition never fades.
| My name is Mirza. I am from La Piedad Michoacan, Mexico. I came to the United States in February 1987. My first time in the United States was when I was 13 years old.
When I arrived to the United States, I crossed the border with my mom and my two younger brothers. One thing I miss about my country is my family and my traditional food. And when I was in Mexico, I played basketball with my friends. My favorite recipe is Pozole. I like to make it and I like to eat it. It is delicious for me.
| My name is Sheyla. I am from Nayarit, Mexico. My journey to California started in 2008. I am 31.
I miss a lot my kids. They are in Mexico. That is the only thing that I miss. One of my favorite things for to do is paint. I'm not practicing now but I hope one day to do it again. I'm glad to be here because I like to know the different cultures and make new friends. I'm here to prove to my kids a better life.
|Hello everyone. My name is Naseem. I am from Yemen and I became a citizen in 2012. And why I became a citizen: I want to be a part of this country. I became a citizen so I can accomplish what I want to be and to be an American, a nice person. My goal is to continue my education and my dream to be a police woman in law enforcement and my advice to everyone is take advantage of this opportunity and further your education and be somebody. And what America means is opportunity. It's the opportunity for everyone to take advantage of it. Thank you so much.|
|My name is Boghes. I am from Lebanon. I got my citizenship in May. I like to become a citizen because America is a dream land. There is so much opportunities. I will be study and to reach my goal I will be study. My next step will be to prepare my paperwork for my family to bring them to America. My advice to my friends is to join Fresno Adult School and come to citizenship classes to learn and reach their goal. America is a dream land. If you want to reach your goal, you want to study study study. God Bless America.|
Hi, my name is Nina. I am from Peru and I became citizen in February. It was very important day in my life and in my family's life, too. To become a citizen because it took very long time to decide for all the benefits that I can get.
First of all, vote. Vote, be a part of this country, this society. Being able to giving back everything that I got because this country gave me so much. Now my future goals is to be an accountant. I'm taking classes at City College and my major is in accounting. I'm working for FUSD as a substitute and I pay my taxes and I'm trying to do my best in life.
My daughter, Diana, is citizen, too. She's now attending Irvine University. We are planning to get a career in the future so we can help others. I started to help now to encourage my friends and my classmates to become a citizen because it's very important nowadays especially. You can walk outside on the streets without fear. And you feel safe. And free. That is the things that we couldn't find in our countries. That is why we are here. God bless America.
|My name is Chiemi, I'm from Japan. The month I became a citizen is April. And the reason why I wanted to become a citizen was to be able to vote and my next goal is to apply to federal jobs that are only available for citizens. Go take classes and study for the Naturalization test. I really appreciate the help I got from my teachers at Fresno Adult School and from my classmates.|
|My first name is Tuyet, my home country is Vietnam. My citizenship day is March, 2016. America mean to me nice, good education, lot of opportunity for immigrant like me. My future dream is have a good job and a good life, freedom, can travel all over with the U.S. Passport.|
| My name is Mohammad. I am from Iran. I'm citizen as of March.
I love America. I came to America about 59 years ago for education. But I cannot do this. So I came back to my country and I want to go to United States, so I said to my father, Please, please, I want to go to America. So my father applied for me and my family and we came to United States. But it took about 16 years. I am so happy on my citizenship day. It is a great day for me.
| My name is Fatemeh, I am from Iran. I became a citizen in February 2016.
America means very nice. I love America. I want to stay here. I want to bring my daughter here because I love America. 16 years I waited for citizenship. 16 years. I waited. After 11 years, I have a green card. After green card, I apply for citizenship after five years. I went to the Adult School and teacher very helpful. Very help us. I love America. I love the people from America. I want to stay here. Thank you so much.
| My name is Pimrat. I came from Thailand. I love America. I became a U.S. Citizen December 2015.
America mean to me give opportunity and I love idea of America. America has freedom. And have more...I want to do something more. I can do it. My future I want to get education and a good job. America gave opportunity. I want to do more and give back to my community. Thank you America!
| My name is Myra. I am from Afghanistan. I have grown up in the difficult era of war-torn country of Afghanistan. I have finished school and college during the war that is still going on. People's lives in Afghanistan are consumed by war and conflicts, but still many children and young adults go to schools and colleges to study or to get their teaching credentials.|
My countrymen are thirsty for peace and an atmosphere of calm for their children. In spite of turmoil and chaos, life goes on. People continue doing what has been done and follow their traditions. People respect their diversity in language, dialects, beliefs and ethnicity as always. If only the politicians would stop stirring into their affairs!
Afghanistan had a large number of goods such as dried fruit, carpet, silk, precious stones and rare minerals which were considered number one in the world. For example, a ruby from Badakhshan province is famous throughout the world.
Customs and traditions differ from region to region but many of them are common, such as the marriage ceremony. People play different sports in different regions.
I came to America in 2014 and live in Fresno where I have a relative who has been here 36 years. The year before my immigration, I got married. I am a student at Cesar Chavez Adult School. America is a free and beautiful country with equal opportunity for all. People are equal and they all respect and follow the law of the land. I like my second country, America, and I am very happy to be able to live here in Fresno.
Check out these titles about the journey to California put together by California Center for the Book: