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Our readers write from Bakersfield, California

(Editor's note: The stories below were written by students in Bonnie Vaughan's level 5 ESL class at Bakersfield Adult School.)

The valuable experience…

by Renata Ballerini, Bakersfield Adult School

One of the most valuable experiences for me was when I started writing in English. The adventure began when I decided to attend the Bakersfield Adult School to learn English. Just attending school represented a challenge for me. I will never forget my first day of school when my teacher asked us to write a story about a time we were brave, our "Brave Story." I want to be honest, just the idea to write in English made me feel uneasy, uncomfortable and nervous. Even in my language, Spanish, it is very difficult for me, but in English? A nightmare. I just thought I could not do that. Hundreds of ideas and excuses crossed my mind. "I do not have enough vocabulary;" "I do not know the verb tenses," etc. After I listened to some of my classmates' ideas, I started to write my story. To my surprise the words came out of my brain, and I could figure out the story. I did not know where they had been hiding all that time. When I arrived at my house, I showed it to my husband whose first language is English. He read it quietly and thoughtfully. Then he looked at me with a big smile on his face and asked "Did you write it? It is very good." I felt so happy, excited and proud of myself. I know my "Brave Story" was not the most interesting, but for me it meant a lot.

It showed me something that I thought I could not do which is to overcome my fears toward the English language, including writing. Finally, my nightmare became one of my most valuable experiences.

Single mom

by Lilia Espinoza, Bakersfield Adult School

I remember how I didn't choose to become a single mom at age 22. Not at first. I was supposed to choose it later, after my divorce. My relationship was full of toxicity and sadness. I wanted the best for my son to be raised in a happy and mentally healthy home. I knew I didn't have the tens of thousands of dollars to do that. But I knew full well what I was doing and that it wouldn't be easy. My son was four years old when my ex and I split, so I definitely needed help and I had no support from family, but I didn't feel sorry for myself. Sometimes my son looked out the window at other families and asked me about his father and why he did not have a father like other children and if I could buy a daddy. With time my son understood the situation, but it was very difficult for me. Every day my son was on my mind and I was worried about him because I wouldn't see him until night when I got home from work, and I didn't know if he had eaten well or not because I was not there to see him. But I learned to be brave because I was a single mom and I needed a promising future for my son. I know that my son and I wouldn't be as happy as we are today if his father and I were still together. I learned that being brave is a decision to get ahead.

World Cup Soccer 2018

by Claudia Perez, Bakersfield Adult School

We are a few months away from celebrating the World Cup Russia 2018. The World Cup is the most important tournament in soccer. The first World Cup began in 1930 in Uruguay. In that World Cup thirteen countries participated, and the champion was Uruguay. The last World Cup was celebrated in Brazil in 2014 and the champion was Germany. This tournament takes place every four years, and it is celebrated in different countries. The World Cup Russia 2018 will begin on June 14 in which 32 countries will participate that will fight with everything they have on the soccer field to obtain the most valued trophy. The opening ceremony will be at the Olympic Stadium of Luzhniki in Moscow, with capacity for 81,000 people and one of the twelve courts where the tournaments will be played. A total of 64 matches will be played to decide the winner of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. These games will be played in 11 cities in Russia. The 2018 World Cup final will be played on Sunday, July 15 in the same stadium where the inauguration will be. Get ready to watch in six months the World Cup Russia 2018. Don't miss it!