As Helen pointed out before, travelling to Guatemala with my Spanish class has been in my dream list of trips to take for at least a couple of years. Having recently had that opportunity almost seems surreal now, especially when I think that even Stephanie was able to make it from Peru. I realize what a huge blessing it’s been now that we’ve been home for 4 days and I keep on flashing back to many wonderful moments in Guatemala. The deep sense of pride and satisfaction that every one of my students, Jill, Cathy, Susan and John has brought to my life since they started taking Beginning Spanish lessons almost three years ago, is truly an enormous source of happiness and I do look forward with anticipation to every one of our lessons on Wednesday afternoon…
Since I started the process of acquiring English many years ago, I have been a passionate believer in the idea that life with two languages –or more, is definitely a much fuller life. As you can imagine, having shared this trip and seeing each one of my students effectively use their Spanish during Clinic and outside of Clinic time rates very high as one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It truly brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion to watch (Mrs. P), Jill, doing intake completely in Spanish, with a big smile on her face. A couple of times she caught me looking at her, we’d both smile even bigger and give each other the “thumbs up”. Equally, watching John and Cathy conduct almost the entire appointment in Spanish without my help, was both marvelous and a little scary at the same time ---I wonder if they are going to dump me any time soon… And Susan, I was truly amazed at your courage and determination since I saw you in Chiapas doing intake in Spanish, all on your own, for every single one of the 282 patients we saw during the five clinics we had there!!!! So it is with sincere and deep gratitude that I say to you, “gracias mil” for your many hours of hard work, dedication and patience, and for everything you have taught me (I continue to learn English every day!). I hope you feel, like I do, that those hours are and have been a worthwhile investment.
To those of you whom I hadn’t met before, please accept my apologies if I was excessively giggly and silly at times with all the teasing that went on. It may come as a surprise for you to learn that I am usually a serious woman, except when I am with my family in Mexico or with my Spanish class, who are really my family here in the U.S. So as you can imagine, being in Guatemala serving side by side with my daughter and my students, my family, was truly an amazingly exhilarating blessing.
I am looking forward to starting a new class with Shannon, Teri, Helen and Melissa in the near future. I hope they will be an inspiration to others just like Susan, Cathy, Jill and John have been an inspiration to them.
Very happily and gratefully yours,