Migraines. This constant pain I battled with beginning in kindergarten is still felt to this day. I had a basic understanding of how pain and health conditions worked back then, having to witness some of the illnesses my grandma battled with in Mexico when I was much younger. It wasn’t until halfway through my kindergarten year that my family and I found out about my undeveloped eye nerve being the reason for missing classroom activities and making learning a challenge for me.

There would be visits to the optometrist month after month and my family and I left each visit with the same result; no operations could be made. I needed glasses. My vision wasn’t great and straining my good eye to act as two for the rest of my life — since I could barely see out of my right eye– would not cut it. Being in the classroom with my fellow peers, it was a difficult time for me. Not only was I trying to learn a new language but at the same time trying to learn the basic curriculum of an average English-speaking kindergartner since I was placed at a grade level below what I was supposed to be in which was first grade.

Sleeping past the allotted time for nap time in class due to severe migraines became a norm before receiving an extremely generous gift from my teacher; a pair of glasses. At the time my parents couldn’t afford to buy a pair for me let alone, pay the whole cost of the appointment. I cried immediately when I saw the case of glasses and ran towards my teacher with open arms. As soon as I put the glasses on, my whole attitude changed and I felt a change in my mood and mentality. For the first time in a while, I didn’t have to squint my eyes to see my classmates across the table, I didn’t have to sit out of recreational activities, I didn’t have to nap longer (if only then I’d appreciated it more), and I didn’t have to stay after school and catch up on the work I’d missed. I felt relieved and most importantly grateful for my teacher who to this this day, still makes an impact in my life serving as a driving force for my success.

For the first time I had confidence in myself and my capabilities. I knew then that with my glasses I’d be able to feel as if I fit in with the rest of my peers. The only repayment I could offer to my teacher and my parents was through my school work but unfortunately, my teacher passed away shortly after. This served even as more motivation to prove to him, myself, and my parents that all they’d done for me was worth it and finally, I was speaking English at an adequate level and after competing first and second grade in one year, I was speaking full English ready for the challenges ahead.