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Each year, 826LA partners with one Los Angeles public school for the Young Authors’ Book Project (YABP). Volunteers work with students for seven weeks to write pieces around a central theme. In collaboration with students from Alain LeRoy Locke High School, the 2017 YABP publication, When the Moon Is Up, contains stories from young people in South LA, inspired by the 25th anniversary of the 1992 LA Uprisings. The book’s 61 student authors depict the modern lives of youth in stories about responsibility, family, loss, courage, and favorite pairs of sneakers.
Alondra’s “I Finally Came Home”
Traveling calls to me. There are so many places that I want to see and explore. My favorite memory is my family trip to México. I landed at the airport and was surrounded by people everywhere. Everywhere I looked, there were people walking, talking, eating, and laughing. People everywhere, talking loudly and in different languages. I didn’t feel confused—I felt like I finally came home. I was where I belonged, and it all made sense. Where I live in South LA, there are a lot of Hispanic residents, but I don’t feel like this is home forever.
“People everywhere, talking loudly and in different languages. I didn’t feel confused—I felt like I finally came home.”
México is special because it’s where my roots are. I have a deep connection to the place and its people. I see my father’s face and mother’s eyes in the people. They are my people. My mom’s almond-shaped, hazel eyes stare into my own chocolate brown eyes. My dad’s right bicep is decorated with my mom’s face. It is a permanent part of his being. “Rosalba” is written in handwriting on his left wrist. My mom cooks the food of our people. Posole verde is chicken on the bone. The green peppers mix with the chicken and lettuce, cilantro, and a mixture of spices that my mom adds just the right amount of. She also makes fresh enchiladas from scratch. She uses chicken and chorizo. When I watch her cook, I watch how she knows exactly how many of each ingredient to add without reading. She learned from her father, who is a chef. My grandfather knows how to cook everything. I grew up with my grandparents because my parents always worked. My grandparents are from Guanajuato, México. I call both my grandmother and mother “Mom.” I have a very special relationship with them.
“México is special because it’s where my roots are…I see my father’s face and mother’s eyes in the people.”
The last time I was in México, I visited my dad’s family. His entire extended family lives in San Isidro, Michoacán, México. Visiting them was like a big family reunion. My cousin, Bianca, is the same age as me. We are really close. We do everything together. We went shopping, dancing, to bailes, or partying, out to eat, and to watch bullfighting with vaqueros. We stayed out late every night and came back to the house when everyone else was sleeping. The parties went on all night and into the early morning.
Thinking about this time makes me want to go back, and I will this summer. I’m excited because it will be right after a huge graduation party that my parents are hosting. I’m the first in my family to graduate high school, so it’s a big deal. It’s a big deal because my parents have told me that they don’t want me to be like them. I want my parents to feel proud of me and actually be someone in the future. My parents tell me to keep trying hard and not give up like they did. My parents tell me that if they had the chance to go back to school they would. So for me I think that’s a big deal to make them proud of me.
About the Author
Alondra was born in Gardena, California. She is a second-generation American citizen on her mother’s side, and first-generation on her father’s side. She is a teenager who loves to go out partying and hanging out with friends on the weekends. Outside of school, she likes to hang out with family and friends. The way she sees her future is going to college to get a degree to become a nurse. Her favorite Mexican plate is pozole; she says she only eats it when her mother makes it.