I met Cristina, my Spanish ESOL student, for the second time and had her read a paragraph about our first meeting. It was only a dozen lines or so. It gave me a chance to hear her pronunciation and observe any hesitations. It allowed her to see into my writing humor and know that I was listening at our first meeting.
At our initial session, she had told me where she was from and where she wanted to go with her English. She’d also mentioned that she liked the music of U2 and the Friends characters on television.
During the week, I’d sent her an email with a link containing the transcript of all the Friends episodes. She was thrilled about the personal idea I shared and had already read several. She learned words like ‘episode’. And ‘scene’ – the noun not the verb.
At our meeting, I also gave her the URL for U2 lyrics. I told her about my familiarity with the band. I’d heard of them my first week in college when I saw four girls down the hall screaming about a new CD. They were hugging each other when the music started. I love you too! they chanted. I thought I had just met my first lesbians. They were on unforgettable fire.
I learned an unforgettable lesson – laughter translates.
At that point, Cristina told me about her college, her current job and her Psychology degree. It reminded me of something our trainer had taught us:
“Let them be smart – because they are. They just need help with translation.”
I gave her a journal to record her questions, thoughts and new words. She seemed grateful.
She asked what I did for a living before we departed. I knew it may be a challenge for me to explain ‘auditor’ . I focused more on finance, dollar signs, management and taxes but didn’t get there. What finally made her understand……….was when she translated it on her smart phone. She learned I was an ‘accountant’ and I now consider myself a constador.
We laughed again and took a selfie on her phone.
I offered to meet again on Saturday but she was considering going to NYC with some friends. I was convinced they’d go to a coffee house and not get any sleep. I looked forward to hearing about her NYC observations at our next meeting and wondered if there would be any humor in it.