Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sept 30 - Photo a Day - You, Then

San Francisco 1983
Been thinking about this lovely Vietnamese lady a lot recently, as she was my very first English as a Second Language (ESL) student. 

I was sharing a six-bedroom, second-floor flat (usually with ten to twelve roommates) one storefront from the corner of Haight and Ashbury Streets: hippie central in San Francisco.

One of the sweet, chatty regulars at my mindless restaurant job told me about her daughter's new volunteer gig with Partners in English. A short, intense two weeks later, I began weekly visits to Nga's home.

She lived on Geary Blvd, one of the city's major east-west thoroughfares, in a tiny, packed-with-love, two-bedroom apartment. It housed four generations of her family, from Na-Na to Natalie, her infant daughter. No one but Nga spoke any English, and she was brand new to the language. Yet I felt warmly welcomed into this family, and was blessed to work with her and witness her amazing growth for over a year.

Today, nearly thirty years and a zillion experiences later, I've come full-circle. I am in the process of building an ESL tutoring business, and co-facilitating an Adult English Conversation group at the city library. It turns out, when mom told me in elementary school, that I should be an English teacher, she was right all along!

(P.S. While I look like a kid in this photo, I was actually 24!)


Mosassy is said...

Lovely seeing that face of yours from all those years ago!

Ellen Symons said...

Same beautiful smile now as then! What a warming vignette, thanks for the story.

P.G.E. said...

Thanks to both of you! :)