Friday, October 16, 2009

Ana's Story

A poinsettia is a small Mexican shrub, popular at Christmas time as a house plant.

When I look out my windows in the garden I see this poinsettia flourishing.

Eat your heart out Christa Richard.

Now, onto Ana's story.

As you may have read in a previous blog, Ana is the woman who cleans my bungalow once a week.

I've stopped taking Spanish lessons for a while because it was a grammar class and I need time to use the grammar I've learned.

Beginning this week, with the exception of the time I spend with the children, I've been speaking only Spanish, and inviting anyone kind enough to listen to have coffee.

Yesterday was the day Ana comes to clean. I picked her brain. I know no shame, anyone who comes in contact with me will hear "Come se dice. . . . in espanol?" (How do you say . . .in Spanish)

Ana invited me to her house, we walked together. On the way we talked of many things.

Ana is Mextec. She never went to school, and began cleaning houses when she was eight years old. She is proud of the fact she became fluent in Spanish "en la calle" (on the street)

"Do you have children?"

"I have two children and two grandchildren."

"Did your children go to school?"

Yes, they finished secondaria, which means they went to grade nine. Her son works in some sort of tire place, and her daughter works in a store. This is a step up from where their mother is, and I imagine she's rightfully proud.

She tells me, as so many do, that her grandchildren want to learn English.

We stopped outside a very nice building. She told me it was a recreational facility. I looked at the sign, written in both Spanish and English.

"It has a restaurant," I say.

" No it doesn't," she said.

Then I realize she can't read the sign.

The sign says restaurant, but it also says swimming.

" Is there a pool?" I ask


We walk a long way. We talk as much as we can.

"How many families do you work for?"


"For how long have you worked for them?" (I'm doing the best I can to speak in complete sentences, remembering how my Spanish instructor told me I frequently skip the verbs.)

"I've worked for Ruth elven years, and for the other family twelve."

"Does your husband work?"

"No, he drinks."

"You work and he drinks your money?"


"Why do you stay?"

"It's his house."

We reach the house that apparently belongs only to her husband. She knocks on the gate

"No key?" I ask

"I forgot it."

Her grandson answers the door, soon followed by her daughter.

Her children, son-in-law, grandchildren and husband all live in this house.

"When your grandchildren are older, get married and have children will they also live here?"


I didn't go inside this time because if I did I'd have missed 2 1/2 men. My recent craze of watching this sitcom deserves another blog and another time.

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