Growing up bilingual is part of who I am, and very fortunate to have this privilege. As I remember, English was my second language, not my first, however, now I consider English my native language. English as a Second Language (E.S.L) was required for me through my elementary and all of middle school. I remember the programs and the exercises, my classes were 45 minutes long, and by the end I felt like I could not stop working on my exercises it was addictive and challenging. I tested out of E.S.L in eighth grade after taking a very detailed exam and never had the class during my years in high school. E.S.L helped me be a proficient English speaker, writer, reader and communicator. A program that continues to be offered by public schools to students who speak English as their second language.
The origins of my writing, reading, and speaking all began when my parents enrolled me in kindergarten. I remember learning English and being able to communicate with my teachers fluently at my age without any sort of complications or misunderstanding. Coming home to my parents and communicating with them in Spanish, telling them all about my experiences of that specific day. My mother, would ask me things such as “how was class, what did you learn, what did you have for lunch, how many stars until you reach your goal?” Responding to her without any struggle, no hesitation or pause to think over my words. I was bilingual and I did not know it.
In retrospect, I remember only ever speaking English, however, I know that was not true. My parents were not native English speakers. They needed to build their level of confidence and they began to learn the language much later on as I was older. My only recollection of learning English as a kid was showing up to class, speaking to the teachers and chatting with my classmates. Speaking, writing, and reading in English was painless, there is a way I envision the injection of the English language in to my brain, a member from faculty giving me a vaccination, more than likely the school nurse, but in reality it was a vaccine that contained a very highly developed microorganism technology called English Language Coding.
Growing up Bilingual was a challenge. The expectation to know both languages fluently as a teenager made me nervous at times. Thinking I would not translate the correct word from one language to another. Being forced to translate from Spanish to English and vice-versa, made me realize how much harder I need to work to learn both languages. English has been easier for me over the years, speaking and writing have become less complex.