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Summer in Managua
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

My parents came to the United States in August of 1992, just months before I entered the world. They settled in Buffalo, New York, where a job awaited my father. My uncles had warned that the winters could be bracingly cold. Still, my parents were caught by surprise in September when the weather began to turn. By the time December rolled around, Lake Erie had become a sheet of ice, and my parents wondered how they could raise a daughter under conditions clearly not meant for human survival.

The next winter and every winter beyond that, we escaped the snows of Buffalo for my parents’ native home of Managua, Nicaragua. For two glorious weeks, we would bask in the shade of the mango trees in front of my grandma’s house. Our two-week vacations were a blur of laughter and fun amidst the sweltering heat.

During those precious times, I began to see another side of my parents. The most obvious change was in their language. In Buffalo, they insisted upon using English whenever we were outside the house. Our native Spanish was my “inside” language, a secret code shared between my mother, my father, and I. But in Managua, our code was shared by everyone, from the man selling fruit at the street corner to the policewoman directing traffic.

My parents seemed to breathe easier, freed from the pressure to communicate in a language that to them was extremely difficult. They laughed more freely, and their sentences took on an almost musical quality. Sitting under the mango tree, I wondered how something as basic as the words they used could cause such a change in my parents. I suppose it was then that I decided I wanted to become a Spanish teacher.

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