Hi, my name is Puspa Nepal. I was born in a refugee camp in Nepal. My parents are from Bhutan. I am going to be a senior at Baldwin High School this fall. I left the refugee camp for the United States when I was 11 years old. My life in the camp was totally different from here. We did not have good houses. We lived in huts, and ate basic foods like rice and lentils- no fruits, milk, or meat. We went to school, where our classrooms were under trees. We came to America for a better future. I want to work hard and lead a good life here. My parents say that they have great hopes for me and I am trying to live up to their expectations.
My first day in America was a big challenge for me and my family due to language and other barriers. I was both happy and scared because I knew there would be changes in my life, and making those changes and adapting to them was scary. When I got to our apartment I had no one to talk to except my family. We did not know how to use things in the apartment. Our case worker had to help us with basic things. I thought that I would never have friends again.
We were first resettled in Idaho. My grandparents felt so lonely because there were so few Bhutanese families there. Then we moved to Pittsburgh. They are happier here. Both my mom and dad work hard at entry level jobs. They were able to save some money which helped them to buy a house. Now I live in a house with my parents, my grandparents, and my brother. We are a happy family, although my grandparents miss Bhutan a lot.I am 16 now.
I help my family with various things. I interpret for them, answer calls, and teach them basic English. I babysit my nephew and niece over the weekends, allowing their parents to go to their jobs. From the first day, when I was so scared, to this day, I have made so many changes in my life. Now I am out of the English as a Second Language (ESL) program at school, I have good grades, and I participate in different activities. I am a Junior Achievement Star Student. I have many friends to talk to. I feel that getting the opportunity to come to America and being a student here is good luck for me and my family. Finally, I would like to say that refugees are not bad people. Given the opportunity, they can do as well as other people do. I am proud to be here, and I hope to become a pharmacist and serve people.