Sunday, February 24, 2008

Woman of the week award

I logged on to bitch about Ralph Nader, and make fun of the California McDonald's trying to boost sales by using principles of feng shui.

And it's been a crappy week, although the sun has been shining, which has made it bearable.


Whenever I go feeling sorry for myself I look to those much less fortunate. Sadly, I don't have to look that much farther than my ESL class most of the time.


This week's Riot Kitty woman of the week award goes to my ESL student Maria. It would have been amazing enough for her - a widow who does heavy lifting in a nursery full-time - to simply make it to class twice a week and learn a second language at age 60.

To make her story even more amazing, though, check out what she told me last week. We were both a little early to class on Thursday, and I told her I had noticed one of my other students, Rey, was pretty advanced and probably should have been in a higher level class, and I wanted to make sure I was giving her and the other students enough time to copy, practice, etc.

She said, "It takes me longer because before I came to your class, I could barely read or write. I didn't get to go to school for very long in Guatemala."

Not only that, I inquired delicately and found out she fled from Guatemala during their civil war. Escaped.

My students put me to shame. Although they're in a class that's ignored by many - indeed, practically invisible to many - they are the bravest, kindest, most hard-working people I've ever encountered.

I told Maria that she has accomplished much, and I told her how proud I am of her - and now I'm telling all of you.


JLee said...

It's amazing how looking at other people's lives/challenges can give us such wonderful perspective. :)

Darth Weasel said...

and yet another reason the whole "illegal immigrant" conflagration is so tragic. people like her get painted with the same brush by people too lazy or spiteful or hateful or whater to actually do a bit of research. she sounds like a lovely lady and exactly the type of people we need in this country. in every country, honestly.

vivavavoom said...

very cool. I remember hearing stories about my grandparents who fled the nazi's (my grandfaher was 100% german, but my grandmother was a hungarian they were to be killed) and not even being able to comprehend that that happened only 60-70 years ago. congrats to mara, and to you for making her see how special she is for wanting to learn at 60!!