I am an immigrant. I am a Portuguese American immigrant.
My father traveled alone to the US in 1965. In 1967, when I was two years old, we immigrated to the US. For many years, my father milked cows for a living. And when he and my mother had saved up enough money, they purchased their own dairy business.
Starting a new business with barely any knowledge of the English language was a huge risk in and of itself, let alone knowing nothing about running a business. My sister and helped as much as we could. We’d wake up at 3:30 in the morning, feed calves, and then go to school. And after school, we’d do much of the same thing all over again; feed calves and help out with milking cows.
In 1972, my parents applied for citizenship. Only having had a fourth-grade education and limited English skills, my parents had a difficult time studying for the test, but they did it. My father was able to write the following sentence: “I work hard.” Thanks to that one sentence and my parents’ love for this country, we became American citizens.
My parents didn’t just teach us how to work; they taught us how to work hard, how to persevere and succeed. When I went into the court reporting field, I faced many of the same struggles, as my parents did. I knew nothing about court reporting, but I took the risk and accepted the challenge. When I attained my degree and certificate in court reporting, it was the happiest day of my life. I knew I could take care of myself and would never have to depend on anyone else for financial support. Freedom and independence; there’s nothing like it!
I am an immigrant. I am a Portuguese American immigrant. I am a court reporter. I am a business owner. I am an independent, self-sufficient woman.
For more information about Portuguese American history, please visit: http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Pa-Sp/Portuguese-Americans.html