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    Posted June 22, 2012 by
    Coral Gables, Florida
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    New citizens: Why did you become American?

    From Bolivia

    24 years ago I arrived in the U.S. from with the hope to learn English and enjoy a unique experience for my future studies in Bolivia. I was planning to go to the Military Engineering school. After a couple of months living in Washington DC, I decided to study in the U.S. because the system was better and I wanted to improve my life beyond what my country could give me. Also, there was a "dark" side I needed to deal with. I realized I was gay and this situation could be harsh to confront in Bolivia. Here in the U.S. I didn't need (apparently) to give explanations about why I don't have a girlfriend.
    After 24 years, and realizing how much time and life it took for me to obtain the security of permanent status and a good job, I can't really say it was worth it. I'm still half-way in the closed because the U.S. is a two-faced society. It pretends to be good but when it counts, it prejudges based on race, color, origin, looks, and yes, marital status.
    I make good money which most of it goes on paying debt and maintaining the forced standard of living to get the minimum level of respect from my peers. I have few friends because people have no time to share after certain age. It is fun in school but now (middle age), it is all a race for money and status.
    The gay life is disappointing in the U.S. A sad stereo-type by heretos and promiscuous shallow life style by homos. I look good but the country I come from and my racial mix make me not a great party for serious intentions by people of the degree of education. It is proven.
    So the U.S. is a great country to live with access to technology and wonderful infrastructure. I'm thankful the opportunity to stay, study and work but it was not free by any means. Here in Miami, I see many Cubans arrive and a year later they become permanent residents and can work and study on whatever they want with government assistance. Of course they are successful because they have the ability to choose fast the course of their destiny. It took me 12 years for me to get the same chance.
    I remember I cried and got so sad on 09/11/2001 because I thought "my country" was attacked. Later on, the media let me know that this was not my country. I just live here.
    I became American to have no fear of walking anywhere and choose a job I could enjoy. I had left Bolivia for that purpose and I had to reach the goal. I have filled my lived with material things and I can go to many places. My job is OK but I have great hobbies. Funny I just learned gays will be able to marry in Bolivia and my cousin, who studied there, developed a construction company and has two great kids.
    In November I will vote for the 2 time in my life. I love you United States. You're home at the end.
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