What Personally Brings Me Joy

Life Story Club Contributor

November 5, 2020

I’m a member of the Brooklyn Library senior citizen assistants. And I like to help people. I’ve been working for them for two years or more. But since this pandemic thing, everything is stopped. Now we’re doing…trying to do things by Zoom. Certain people, you know, older age, they don’t like to use the Zoom, or they are not able or capable to do it. So we try to accommodate them to be able to express themselves. And I’m from Mexico, born in Mexico.

And I came, immigrate to the United States for a long, long time. And I’m married with two kids. One is a librarian and the other one is a physical therapist. And my wife is from Poland, and I speak the language so that we’ll be able to communicate with each other and all this stuff. And like I said before, I like to help people and be in touch with them. I’m used to them sending me to different centers to help them.

And they sent me to a Polish center. And they were fascinated to see a Spanish-speaking person with a Spanish face that’d be able to communicate with them. Same thing happened when I first visited my in-laws overseas in Poland. And I had started Polish here, in the United States. Then I met my wife, and she wasn’t able to speak English. So, I have to make the move. So that’s one of the good things.

I met my wife here in the United States, in Brooklyn. I was studying Polish for about maybe I would say two years. I know how to read it. Very difficult to write it, and the pronunciation is very, very difficult. But I have the ability to be able to do it. Sometimes, I pronounce certain words wrong, you know, it’s fun. It’s nice. And the most important thing is that you meet different cultures, totally different cultures. It’s so beautiful, you know? See, the culture of the Polish people or European people is very rich.

From my wife’s side is they are very expressive. They’re very mellow, you know? It’s nice. She went to my country, too. I took her to meet my mother. And it was fun because my mother didn’t speak no word of English, no word of Polish, and only Spanish. She used to tell my wife, ” Siéntate, siéntate.” Sit down, sit down. ” Leche, leche.” Milk, milk. Coffee. But they were able to communicate with each other.

My wife ended up learning Spanish. She does understand more than they speak. I told everybody. They said, “Oh my God. How you gonna…” My mom would always say, “Well, how you’re gonna marry this lady? You don’t know the culture.” You don’t know this. You don’t know that, you know? Different race. Different country. Isn’t that the same thing they told her? But we understand each other.

An Eye-Opening Experience in Amsterdam

Life Story Club Contributor

December 3, 2020

My experiences when I went to Amsterdam … I traveled first to Germany to see my brother-in-law. And then from Germany, we took a train to Amsterdam. And in Amsterdam, we stayed in the hostel place with my two kids, grown-up guys, and myself. We have one of those back sacks. And we’re traveling, seeing the country.

So we went to this hostel. No elevator, there was a spiral type of stairs. And the place was a small, little room with three small, little beds. When you go to sleep, you have to go sides because it’s a cliff-type of position. And we have to share a bathroom. You have to take a shower, use only a shower had a little curtain and no hot water. So it was around in April. It’s still chilly, you know? So was a little experience.

And also, we have a free breakfast. But you have to come down before 10:00. And the free breakfast was an egg, black coffee, and a piece of sandwich, and a piece of bread. If you come out one minute, two minutes after, it’s over. So that’s one of the experiences.

But they supply us with a bicycle. So I was really like a fish in the water. I love bicycling. I bicycle over here in New York City. And I bicycle all over. So, we went with the kids and we took… It’s more dangerous to get run by a bicycle than any other motor vehicle over there in Amsterdam. We went to the museum of Vincent Van Gogh, a big, beautiful place, excellent, tremendous place. It’s like a palace, three different floors.

And also, we went to Anne Frank’s house. And we couldn’t get in because it was just a big, big line. And also, it’s steps to go all the way up. But it was very nice. And also, we went to the factory of the beer Heineken. I thought Heineken was German, but it’s from Amsterdam. And then, we went and took a tour. It’s so beautiful. And they give us glasses. And I wrap it up with newspaper because I don’t want it to break them. And they made the trip sound and safe.

In Amsterdam, mostly all the time, there was a stone … Cobblestone streets. But they have these lines for the bicycles. But nobody obeys the line with bicycles. They go all over the place. Something like that. The bicycle was not worthy. They left it outside. And then some of them very rusty. You know, the gear doesn’t work. So I managed to get it working with my kids.

We went to the little channels where they’ll have all those boats and you go around. It was an experience because, in the United States, we have our showers. You know, you have a big room, big beds, something like that. Now over there, just a little cot. And then, you have to sleepover. You make it do. It’s a big experience.

Grateful for My Family and Children

Life Story Club Contributor

November 19, 2020

I’m thankful for my health. Thankful for my family’s health. Especially I have four kids. There are three essential, two police officers, and one nurse who works in the hospital, and the other one is a TLC in the Brooklyn library. And thank God because we have a roof above our head, and for the health. The health that we have, all of us. That’s very, very important, and I would like to share this moment with you people that they know there’s one person above us that they always watch and keep us healthy.

The police officer doesn’t live too far from us and have two granddaughters, and they went to school. And my two sons who live with me, one rent the basement with his wife, TLC, and the nurse, he has a place in the hospital. But he comes to see mommy for food or something like that and daddy. That’s a blessing, you know? The oldest is 45. The other one is 43. The other one is 38. And the youngest one is 30. So, all of them…The three older ones are married, and there’s only one single, the nurse.

We get together, you know. The police officer they come once in a while come because they have their own life and things like that. But they come. They visit us from outside with masks and everything. But they come into the house too. And Gregory, who is the youngest one, is the nurse. He always comes with a mask. Always come with a mask. Doesn’t leave the mask for nothing, you know? And one who lives in the basement, he always comes with shopping up here, or with juice or something, you know?

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