Alanis Martinez’s house had been flooded. Electricity and water would be missing for the next three and a half months. The utilities would return only after she left, occasionally shutting off.
However, Alanis found positives in the situation. She looked at the stars, played games with family, and gathered water from the lake with family.
Because of the effects of Hurricane Maria, freshman Alanis Martinez moved to New Jersey from Puerto Rico at the age of eleven. Her relatives still live in Puerto Rico.
“The only family that’s not there that I really know is my aunts and some of my mom’s aunts,” Alanis said. “Mostly everybody lives in Puerto Rico.”
During the storm, Alanis and her family stayed at a friend’s house where she played with her brother and his friend. She was not as concerned as the adults were, but still prayed that everything would be okay.
“I remember that it was raining so hard that the water kept coming in underneath the door,” Alanis said.
Alanis misses the food and her family in Puerto Rico. One thing that has not changed is speaking Spanish in the home.
“My mom speaks Spanish; we need to speak Spanish for her to understand,” Alanis said. “It’s easier for me too.”
Because her stepdad joined the military, the family ended up moving to El Paso after living in New Jersey.
“It’s not the best place I’ve been in, but it’s good,” Alanis said. “There’s a lot of nice people that I’ve met, and I like it. It’s not the best, but it is not the worst.”
In the past, Alanis took part in multiple sports including soccer, volleyball, ballet, track, and gymnastics. She is currently on the junior varsity softball team. Her favorite sport so far has been gymnastics.
“I did gymnastics in New Jersey, but then because of the Corona I had to stop it,” Alanis said. “Then I moved here, and I went to volleyball, but I didn’t make the team. So, I went straight into softball.”
Alanis has hobbies such ping-pong, “Just Dance,” and playing Nintendo. She also enjoys watching TV with her family.
“I like skate boarding,” Alanis said. “I’m not good at it. I just started in December. It’s fun, but I’m not the best at it.”
Her family does not have many traditions, however they celebrate “Día de los Reyes,” which commemorates the Three Kings.
“It’s not like Christmas where you get a lot of presents, you each get about one or two,” Alanis said. “It’s a nice day and we hang out as a family.”
Alanis hopes to go to Korea and Europe someday, as well as learn Italian, but is currently focusing on school.
“Honestly, my goal right now is to pass the STAAR Testing and finish school with A’s,” Alanis said. “That’s really important to me right now.”