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Pacific Palisades CA 90272

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Vanessa' Story Part 1: Difficult Beginnings

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My name is Vanessa Garcia and I am 26 years old. My life story starts out in Los Angeles where I was born. My parents migrated to Los Angeles from Honduras in the early eighties and first settled in Lennox, a Hispanic dominated area a few miles away from LAX airport. I remember how we lived directly under the airplane's flight path and would regularly hear the roaring sound of the descending airplanes at night. During the day I would hear cars zooming by and honking from the daily traffic jams from living right next to the infamous 405 freeway. This was my everyday experience until my parents moved my two younger sisters and I to Hermosa Beach with the help of my dad's boss who rented out a house to us on his car dealership property.
I started Kindergarten at Hermosa Valley School and life was nice and easy until I turned 12. My dad's boss suddenly died and the house was issued to the government. We were given two weeks to find another place to live and move out. We ended up moving into my mom's parent’s one-bedroom senior apartment in Redondo Beach where we lived for about 2 years in their living room. When we moved, I was starting 7th grade and my sisters and I we were registered into a home-school program. We ended up having to repeat the grade after not finishing up the home-school books on time since we spent most of our time at the hospital with my dad’s terminally ill parents. The transition back to a public school as the new student was difficult and lonely for me since I didn't fit in with the students. During most of my high school years, we continued to be technically homeless and lived in a room at an Inn and a family friend’s den when my father filed bankruptcy. When living in the den, my sisters and I commuted for 6 months about 50 miles round-trip to our high-school every day until our finances finally stabilized and our family moved into a house closer to our high school. I managed to succeed in my Honors and Advanced Placement(AP) classes, especially AP Chemistry, and save up money by working part-time at Quizno's Subs on weekdays after school. These combined accomplishments allowed me to apply straight into a 4-year college as I had desired.