Women’s stories – Raissa

Today’s story is that of Raissa, who is in the most critical age, adolescence, has to leave her country of origin together with her brothers to be able to reunite with her mother and in the hope of having a better future.


My name is Raissa, I was born in Cuba and I have 4 brothers, one of which is a twin. My โ€œItalianโ€ story began in January 2007 when, from my small home in Cuba, I left for what would become my second homeland: beautiful Italy.

My parents had been separated for years now and fate had led us to a big change to come in our life. That day it was sunny, my house was full of friends and relatives. The most difficult farewell, even if I didn’t make it clear to anyone, was that of my father who had to see his 4 children leave for a better future.

A very long journey separated me from my home, for the first time I took a plane and it took many hours and 3 stopovers. Not only that, due to a long delay, unfortunately, all our luggage went lost. Luckily, my mother already had some clothes in the house where we were going to live with her new partner, who would soon become her husband.

The first evening I remember it as if it were yesterday, he was still shy in our regards and he prepared hot milk for us and bought some snacks, it was late in the evening and silence reigned outside. He will soon prove to be a very important person for us: a second dad.

A new life was starting again, far from the country where I had always lived. First I had to finish the last year of middle school to get the diploma and then be able to enroll in high school.

I studied a lot and learned the language with difficulty, but I was shy and very ashamed when I spoke. I was not happy, the nostalgia was felt so much, I missed friends, going out, laughing. The way I found to react to the difficult situation I was in was to eat and eat. I had found an outlet in food to calm my restlessness.

So, my first year in Italy I got fat, I cried a lot as everything seemed wrong, unfair and sad. My only thought was to return home in Cuba. Fortunately, every year we had the opportunity to go home for the holidays and enjoy two months with friends and family. I remember that on the occasion of the first departure for Cuba I bought gifts for every single “friend”. Once I arrived at my destination, my house became a party, friends from morning to night, the doorbell never stopped ringing. For two months I spent most of the time with my friends in what seemed like a continuous party: I was finally happy!

Back from the most beautiful holidays, I started my first great experience in Italy: high school. I enrolled in an accounting school and in the first year I met my new classmates. In this setting phase, great help was given to my brother and me by some professors who insisted, encouraged and protected us in some way from the evil or wickedness of other people was very important. My greatest fear, in fact, was that someone might make fun of me for my accent, for my mistakes, for my way of being or dressing. In short, the new reality into which I had catapulted myself scared me. To my amazement, however, I must note that I have never suffered from racism or prejudice from my comrades. Indeed, with the passage of time, relationships became more serene and this helped me in my process of insertion into the new reality.

Another way that helped me feel happy and fulfilled was to be able to continue my path in dance. I had been dancing since the age of 5. Dancing made the problems disappear to give way only to positive thoughts. Meanwhile, critical moments mingled with happy and joyful ones. During moments of weakness, I cried and wanted to return to my country. Everything seemed pointless to me, I didn’t have reliable friends, I didn’t go out much. It was a very difficult situation for a person who was not born in Italy. The whole tradition of immense companies, as the song by Max Pezzali says, was different for me. My childhood friends weren’t here. I only had part of the family with me, I had to start all over again.

As for Cuba, as usual, we went back every year in July and August. But one thing had changed compared to the first years: I no longer had so many friends, many with the distance didn’t contact me anymore, or didn’t seem so interested anymore. There was no longer that riot of people invading our house but I incredibly did not mind it, on the contrary with time, the situation had reversed: friends, the real ones, were few, while the family was always there. Relations with some intensified, particularly with my father and this was very nice. Our bond grew stronger every day. My father was my father, the love I had never felt I could feel fully in my heart. And he was happy that his children could have taken a better path, with more advantageous living conditions! Every day he tells me that he is proud of us.

In 2011 everything changes: I become Riccardo‘s aunt. When I saw him in the hospital I noticed his long fingers and a small face, the little dress that fit him wide. From then on my life would take a different turn. I was aunt, now I had him, the first man who would never hurt me and who would never abandon me. A little angel that I could have protected and played with. The last year of high school was the most difficult. Some friction with teammates arose. I admit, there have been hard days when I wondered: why all this fury towards me? I have never hurt anyone. Maybe someone didn’t like me, sometimes I even had to hear me say unpleasant things. Then came the fateful final exams. Oh my, what anxiety! I came out with a very good grade. I had finished another great challenge in my life and I was really proud, having done it all by myself, with my efforts. I had done it, with my good will and my courage.

In the same year, however, something unpredictable happened: a car accident after which my physical health would never be the same again. I had a lot of back problems that I still suffer from today. I was forced to stop dancing, my great passion. A hard blow! In the two years after leaving school, I got a job. I didn’t think I could find two such understanding leaders. I learned a lot, I had to lose many of my fears, I managed to impose myself, to hold on and to assert my ideas, but also to respect others. In the meantime, however, something was changing, I no longer wanted to lead the usual life: work, home, home, work. I had to change, I knew that in the world there was much more to learn, there were many more things for me, I could not stop. So I made a big decision: to go back to studying. I enrolled in law.

Today I am in the last semester of university, and I can admit that it was not easy at all. Combining work, lessons and exams requires a lot of patience, courage, perseverance and determination. How much I cried, how many days I stayed home, how many books, how many notes. I dedicated body and soul to studying and day after day, semester after semester, I was reaping the fruits of my efforts. Nothing is impossible if you believe in something! It is very close and I will be able to say “I did it !!”! The university has made me a better person and I am happy with my choice! No matter the size of the problem, the difficulty, the fears, we have to go forward and we must find the strength inside, we are the only ones who can change ourselves, we cannot wait for someone to do it for us.

Recently after some confusing and painful periods in love, I found a wonderful young man who has been by my side for 2 years now and he makes me really happy, I’m madly in love with his smile! And here I am, from a shy little girl I became strong and courageous.

I would like to say that my twin brother certainly played a fundamental role in this long journey, not yet finished, in Italy! Being twins is something extraordinary, he has always been close to me and I can’t imagine myself without him! A very very strong bond that is just perfect! I have a beautiful life in Italy and I really love it.

It is a wonderful country. I adapted perfectly, I learned the rules of the place, the culture and I have always respected others.

This is the real rule of success in a foreign country, along with lots of positivity and determination. Healing the wounds and the hard times caused by leaving the homeland is a difficult, sometimes painful path.

But with the right spirit and accepting the different points of view, you can succeed in building a life full of happiness and immense joy. Unique in being able to change ourselves, we cannot wait for someone to do it for us.

Life is so beautiful, we just need to know where to find and fulfill our dreams.

translated from: http://blog.pianetadonna.it/lestoriediagatha/raissa/

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