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Leidy Ovando

My Apartment

By: Leidy Ovando

I believe every person has at least once felt that they have more responsibility than they could handle. The worries become heavier every day and we feel older than we really are. This kind of situation makes us become a better person and to learn from those hard moments. I had many hard moments in my life but the one that most stands out in my mind is my first home when I came to the United States. It was the first time in eight years that I was living with my parents. I was really happy but I never imagined the hard situation that I was going to go through.

For two years my parents and I lived in a studio, which formed part of an apartment occupied by a Puerto Rican man named Luis. When I came to the United States, my parents had already rented the studio but they thought that we would find an apartment as soon as I arrived in New York. The studio was very small and uncomfortable. We only had a TV, a radio, a bunk bed and a closet and those things occupied most of the space. We had to be very careful of everything in order not to bother the owner of the apartment. At first Luis was kind to us. He treated me like I was his granddaughter, he was like part of the family. Everything was all right, even though we did not have any privacy, we tried to be understanding with each other.

After around one year, we still could not find an apartment. The problems started when my father installed a satellite TV system. Luis complained saying that my father had to talk to him before putting anything up. It was infuriating for us that we had to tell him about every single step that we made. It was as if he was invading our privacy. After that, the old man began to be mean to us and to argue with my father all the time. My parents expanded their work time and got home at 9:00 or 10:00 at night. As they were never home, I had to deal with the man. He was always telling me what to do and complained about things that never happened.

As my mother was never home, we stopped cooking. We ate fast food most of the time and once a week we cooked at my aunt's house. I was not used to eating fast food and suddenly I was eating fast food every day and taking care of myself and everything at home. The owner started to play loud music late at night so we could not sleep, but that was not the worst thing. He would go into the bathroom early in the morning and spend one hour inside the bathroom, knowing that I had to go to school. I knew that my parents could not do anything, but I felt as if they were leaving me with all the problems, as if they were escaping without thinking about me.

During the summer when my parents were not home, he used to turn off the electricity and leave the house. The switch was in his house so I could not turn it on. My parents were fighting all the time blaming one another for the problems, but without doing anything to change it. They were desperate, but they thought the best way to avoid the problem was never to be home. I felt too much weight on my shoulders, because while my parents were working, I was living in hell.

Those moments were really hard for me, having the responsibility of taking care of problems that did not belong to me. My parents did not realized how they hurt me when they let me deal with the problem. If was not as hard for them as it was for me. Many times I wanted to escape from everything, but then I understood that they did not do it on purpose.

I believe every person has at least once felt they were carrying a problem that did not belong to them. This experience has helped me to become more responsible and to appreciate every moment with those that I love.