When my dad immigrated from Paraguay to the United States on the year 2000, a door of new opportunities along with obstacles opened. He was no longer able to teach photography, his greatest passion and main source of income for 10 years. He knew basic English, but it was not enough to be a teacher. Right after he arrived, he got a job in the construction sector during the week. On the weekends, he was part-time doorman in the Upper East Side. A door was open for a better quality of life two times a week. Talking about this job, he said, “It was very stressful because tenants lacked consideration of whether you spoke English or not.” To avoid losing the job, my dad pretended to understand everything and try to talk as little as possible so nobody would discover his lack of knowledge in the language. When he realized that one of the tenants, the wife of the president of the board, was suspicious about his English language skills, he started taking English classes.
A year passed and he went on a one month vacation to Paraguay. When he came back someone else had taken his place. Laughing, he says that he felt aliviado (relieved). He struggled, but it led to a new start. Years later, he became a full-time doorman in the Upper West Side. This doorman job opened a door for my twin sister and me to enter the U.S. as legal immigrants and with it, a better education and many more opportunities in life. He is now a proud father and doorman.“Estaba destinado a ser un doorman,” he says.
– Sofy Alvarez