Posted by: marisundays | September 16, 2012

The language barrier

Dear Friends,
Welcome to a gorgeous day, another splendid opportunity to demonstrate thankfulness for being alive.  Take a few
minutes to meditate on all the blessings in your life and share your joy with all around you. Inhale deeply, release
slowly and set out on that early morning walk.
I woke up this morning because the sun was shining directly on my face.  We had a new window installed yesterday.  The
old, original window had blinds and curtains; this contemporary replacement requires a different style which I was
unable to procure yesterday. The work took longer than we anticipated and I had a previous social engagement which
took precedence over going shopping for window treatments! I am eager to take care of that today.
It has been an interesting six weeks for me here in Queens, New York.  My mission was to spend time with my children
but also to address some maintenance issues in my parents’ home to prepare the house for the upcoming winter, which we
all hope will be a mild one.  Due to unforeseen scheduling conflicts, I had to postpone my return to Atenas so that I could
be here to give the final approval on the work being done.  I have been extremely impressed with the professionalism
with which I have met.   I have even been encouraged to (successfully) complete some small projects on my own, like
cementing a small area in our patio and grouting tiles in a bathroom.  I am returning to Atenas fully prepared to go over
our own home and see what projects I can lose myself in.
Most of the men who have come to work on this house have been native Spanish speakers from all over Latin America.
Their employer (Peter) does not speak Spanish and asked me not to do so with them because he is trying to get them to be as
fluent in English as possible.   He explained that many of the supply houses are owned or managed by ‘old timers’ who are
gruff and impatient if the men cannot properly explain what item they are looking for.  His strategy is to force them into
immersion so that they can overcome the language barrier as quickly as possible.  It’s for their own good, he emphasized!
I applaud this policy because I am the product of similar thinking on the part of my parents.  They believed that in order to thrive
in your adopted country, it was imperative that you begin by learning the language.  Peter’s attitude is refreshing and has
created a discernible loyalty and contentment on the part of his workers who strive to complete work they are proud of. They are
able to independently go to the stores to get articles they need without having to call for help.  That’s an incredible by-product of
good management which I have been fortunate to witness.  I return to Atenas with many great memories and renewed resolution
to get my own home spruced up and ready for our summer (dry season)!
My best wishes for a wonderful day and a purposeful week
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