Thursday, April 9, 2009
A little bit of home
As I walked to class this morning, the rosary dangling from the "facilities" golf cart vehicle's rear view mirror provoked a smile, as I recognized Don Guadalupe's ride. He was emptying the dumpster, part of his morning work ritual.
In a school where I was literally the only brunette in my speech class of 27 students, it gets a little daunting to go so long without seeing any traces of the culture you grew up in. One of the greatest feelings I get from being a minority here (besides feeling exotic for my raven locks) is a connection to the employees. It just feels so nice to say "buenos dias" and get a response back. The employees love you for it too. And seeing them work so hard at their jobs, is like seeing my parents. It's like I see my mom everyday. And with more reason I smile bigger and chat it up with Do~na Graciela the cashier and Christian the bus boy; hearing about their migration experiences, family back home, their vacation during spring break, missing some home cook food and berating the Ole stand at the cafeteria which makes its enchiladas with shredded yellow cheese(!)
They spend all day laboring and rarely receive a "please" and "thank you." I notice as I wait in line to pay for my food, no one ever greets the cashier. No trace of acknowledgment from these hijos de papi. I walk up to the register and before I pull my money out:"Hola Do~na Graciela, que tal como esta?" Our eyes meet and our smiles match.
Posted by Gina Belmonte at 7:42 PM