Around six years ago or so I had the privilege of teaching a series of conversation classes rather than my usual classes which focus on reading, writing, and a little speaking. I LOVED teaching these classes because they were more relaxed and I was able to develop a close relationship with many of the students in these classes. In fact, after several of us had been together for a while, we had a party here at my house. The students planned everything and brought everything, including Coronas for Steve! It was a blast. After we ate the students moved all of our living room furniture out and began the music. Everyone danced, even me which doesn’t happen often.
From that group of students I met a very special couple – Rocio and Alberto. We clicked right away. They are a married couple that is the same age as Steve and myself and have been married about as long and like us, they still really like being together. When they graduated from the ESL program they asked for me to attend. I was so proud of them. One year they invited us to Rocio’s birthday party and although we were the only English speaking friends there, they made us feel very comfortable. In fact, I will never forget going to their house. They live in the basement of their sister’s home with a small kitchen, one bedroom, one bath and a small living room which also serves as their son’s bedroom. They took my family on a tour of their home and it was the most beautiful experience. I have been to so many homes of friends who apologize for it being dirty, not filled with furniture, under construction or numerous other complaints. I didn’t hear one negative thing come from their mouth. They were proud of each and everything in their home. It was a good lesson for me to remind myself that we have so much.
Over the years we have kept in touch. As a family they have struggled. Alberto has not had a lot of luck finding jobs and for the last year and a half Rocio has been working full time at McDonald’s during the day and then six nights a week cleaning an office. She leaves by six in the morning and is home by nine. I love her attitude. When I mentioned how much work that is she told me it was okay because at each job people are so nice. While Alberto is out of work he is working on his GED. They have made a commitment to the USA. They want to live here permanently and once told me to tell them everything about the culture, language, etc that would help them.
Last night Alberto came by my class without Rocio which I knew meant she is still working nights. He had a Christmas gift for me. The instructions were to put it under the tree until Christmas and to give everyone in my family a hug from them. I am truly blessed to not only have a job that I love, but to have the opportunity to meet such wonderful people.