When I met and married a kind Japanese man in NYC, I thought he would learn a bit more English and we would continue to live our lives there. But in life’s twists and turns we ended up living in Tokyo! I was the one who needed to learn Japanese…and fast! There is no experience quite as lonely as living in a foreign country without a grasp of the language. Especially to make friends and to break that loneliness it is the first and foremost goal to attain…always an uphill climb, while totally humbling!
当我在纽约市遇到一位和来自日本男人并与之结婚时，我认为他会学一点英语，我们将继续在那里生活。 但是，由于生活的曲折，我们最终住在东京！ 我是需要快速学习日语的人！ 没有语言的掌握，没有像在国外那样孤独的经历。 尤其是结交朋友并打破孤独，这是实现……始终攀登而完全谦虚的首要目标。
I was a trained English Language teacher, and while I lived abroad I did that work, and when we moved back to America I planned to continue it. The country’s financial woes at the time, however, saw deep cuts to the English as a Second Language positions in the schools and to refugee language programs. So I simply took a job in a department store, at its Child Playroom. But, this store was located near a major corporation that hired some of its workforce from many other countries. Often a preschooler in my playroom could not speak a word of English, and would look so lost and lonely! My heart flew to them! We would play language games and they would teach their language to me.
我是一位训练有素的英语老师，当我在国外居住时，我从事这项工作，当我们回到美国时，我计划继续这项工作。 但是，当时该国的经济困境严重削减了英语在学校和难民语言课程中的作为第二语言的地位。 因此，我只是在百货公司的儿童游戏室工作。 但是，这家商店位于一家大型公司附近，该公司从许多其他国家雇用了部分员工。 我游戏室里的学龄前儿童常常不会说英语，会显得很失落和孤独！ 我的心飞向他们！ 我们会玩语言游戏，他们会教我语言。
Years later, when a small girl who had come from South America had become fluent in English, she said to me, “Teacher, remember when I called you Maestra?”
Translation: “that time when you showed me the most love?”
Another child whose language was only Russian originally – and we built a robot from blocks and fed it block food…and learned English words that way – would come years afterwards and insist on playing that same game! These moments became my life compass – due north is that place where when persons are different, Love Matters!