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Date of Award

Spring 2019


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Document Type

Thesis: EWU Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA) in English: Teaching English as a Second Language




Through this bi-literacy narrative, the author traces her path to becoming a United States citizen and a language teacher. The lived experiences in both Cuba and the United States include (1) her father’s “one year, one month, and one day” in the Aid-to-Production Camp where young Cuban men—even the most educated— were “recruited” to work in the sugar cane fields, (2) his escape from the island by water, (3) his safe passage to Miami in 1969, (4) his nine years in this country trying to bring his wife and newborn—the author—to permanent residence in California. She includes his written account of liminal passages from one country to another, his graduate studies, and his making of a new life for his family here. Demonstrating the value of the oral tradition and storytelling, the author—now a mother of five—tells readers about her Cuban maternal grandparents’ reading The Bible aloud daily, her mother’s strengths, her own life as a mother, student, and teacher; as well as the tradition of higher education prized by her family and Cuban culture. This auto-ethnographic account tells how Cuban and American values shaped her into the person and teacher that she is today.