Translate

www.coachingbytext.comWhen my grandfather took seriously ill in 1964, my siblings and I had just arrived to live with my grandparents as our visa numbers came up under the quota system. Thanks to bureaucracy, my parents couldn’t come with us and they felt they couldn’t pass up the chance to give their children a better life. So we arrived one winter night.

As the oldest, I felt very protective toward my siblings, grateful to my grandparents for taking us in, and worried that I’d never see my parents again. It was a hard time.

And then it got harder, as my grandfather needed medical attention. As we navigated the public transportation system to get him to medical care, since no one had a car. Or a phone. As I had to translate my grandfather’s symptoms to the doctors, and the doctors’ recommendations and instructions first to my grandmother and then to my grandfather, because in forty years of marriage they’d been too stubborn to speak one another’s language and their children and grandchildren spoke two languages at home.

It was a very hard time.

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13 thoughts on “Translate

  1. I once had to give pre operative instructions to the 8 year son of a patient. This boys mature manner has always stayed with me, along with the love and compassion he had for his father.
    You are an amazing woman, beginning at a very young age ❀

    1. Thank you, Lisa. There were, and still are, many children having that experience. They deserve whatever assistance and compassion we can offer. Thank you for offering yours, dear friend! πŸ˜‰ xoM

  2. This was the story for a lot of my students during the time I lived in California and taught in community colleges — and in my neighborhood in San Diego. I speak Spanish so sometimes I was the one between the English speaking grandchildren and the Spanish speaking grandparents. Sometimes I was just the white teacher listening to what my students said in Spanish about me and laughing to myself. I now live in a place where whites are whites and Hispanics are Hispanics; there’s very little contact between the two groups. For me that’s been a little difficult because more than half my life has been lived in a very mixed culture, often in two languages. In my own personal life, los Latinos hacemos America great very many times. I wish I could live long enough to see a time when stupid, superficial, obvious and irrelevant things like skin color no longer mattered, a world in which everyone wanted to learn every language there is out there and had the desire to experience a world outside their own. I’m glad I’ve had that chance. ❀

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