Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dream Come True - American in Reynosa

When I was a little girl my mom took me to the library and it quickly became a place that I considered it to be a magical.  The librarian stuck in my head over the years growing up and I could think of no better job than spending my entire day amongst books.  When I was considering college courses I dreamt of being an editor because it meant I could read all the time - unfortunately I considered my lack of skill in spelling and grammar detrimental to this goal.  My most favored dream was to be a book reviewer for a magazine but I thought it unattainable because I couldn't figure out what courses a person took to attain such a lofty position (lol, can you tell I didn't have a counselor?).  

Anyhoo, I couldn't figure out how to get my dream job and so settled on taking course after course of whatever interested me most.  I don't think I accomplished anything in two years but the broadening of my vocabulary, and then, my husband was deported and my vocabulary career was brought to a halt.


If you've known me you know how I searched for a jobs that I was qualified for on the border in Texas and came up with ZIP for my lack of Spanish.  I worked as a hotel front desk clerk for two years and learned the horridness that the trade has to offer.  Finally an American friend convinced me that my bright white skin and American accent qualified me for an English teaching position at private schools in Mexico.  


I walked in to a private school and was hired on the spot, in about 10 minutes time.  (Not a school I'd send my kids to thinking back, nice security measures!) I learned to teach English and what classroom management is with the help of Google and small evil first graders that sent me home crying for the first three months.  


After gaining experience and years I tried out for a better school, one that actually cared about my sanity and skills, requiring many interviews, a psych eval, having to plan a sample class and present it to a group.  It was THE most intimidating experience of my life and I was scared to death the whole time.  But then, suddenly, I was a new teacher at a new beautiful school that resembled something that I thought I could stand up and be proud to represent.  Finally something in Mexico that I could be proud of.  


After teaching a while I was offered a position in coordinating the elementary English program and took on THAT challenge for the next couple of years, once again reveling in the opportunities that Mexico had brought to me.  


And then, the school librarian gave her notice.  (That's right, our school in MEXICO actually has a library!  And a library big enough for a staff of two (a huge deal here considering in a city of a million there's only one public library))I saw my dream job open right there in front of my eyes and pretty much died a little each day thinking that I wouldn't be able to have it.  It was THE worst six months of my 30-something years toiling with my current unsatisfying position and fighting for one that would be an actual dream come true. 


In the end it all worked out.  I gained a lot of weight from stress eating, formed new wrinkles in my forehead and put myself in a pretty ugly state of over-stressed, but it DID happen.  I fought and I (with a shit load of help) won.  


I am now the library coordinator, spend my days surrounded by books and figuring out ways to inspire 640-something kids to want to read.  It's my JOB to kindle the love of reading in their hearts and help their fires to grow.  I'm SO full of ideas and joy that I haven't even needed all that Pjnterest has to offer, although I admit to spending hours at home pinning over and over beautiful ideas that I might one day use in our library.  No matter how busy my day gets (who knew librarians were so BUSY??) I still go home every day feeling that I had a great day.  I smile at my kids and husband when I walk in the door these days and I can once again sleep at night.  I'm back on track with my eating habits and beginning to care about hair and makeup once more.  It's amazing the effect job stress (or joy) can have on a person.  


We believe at our school (in MEXICO!) that giving the gift of the love of reading to these children and to the people of our community, that we WILL change lives.  We believe that these children will have the opportunity and skills to grow up and CHANGE their community and Mexico along with it. Readers are life long learners and will be a new and exciting generation sent out into Mexico to hopefully make changes for the better.  We believe it is true and we believe we can be a part of this change.  I am at the wheel of this movement and can't let myself forget for even a minute how lucky I am and how important of a job I have.  


So! There's my update for this time, I found my dream job and a real purpose right here in Mexico.  I'm blessed that my children are able to attend this school and I remember to be grateful for what life has brought my way.    


If you're new to Mexico and in despair with no job or a job that you hate do have hope.  I struggled and fought for over six years to be where I am now but it's not impossible.  Keep going, keep searching, make your OWN way.  


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9 comments:

Katie said...

What an inspiring post. Thanks for sharing your successes. :)

Crazy Rita said...

It's fantastic the success you are having and it's never too late to keep learning. You don't need a degree to keep doing that. Here's something to chew on for the future since you never know what may happen. Look into what it would take to get a degree. I know it's expensive and your kiddies are little, but maybe with the success Chino is having it can work out. I am doing my graduate degree online one class at a time. Online is the way to go and there are several reputable universities offering online degrees.

Heather Dominguez said...

You should write a book - you are so inspiring. I remember when you were pregnant I think with your first baby ? am I right? Wow things change so much. congratulations. !!!

Gringa-n-Mexico said...

Thank you ladies <3 You make my day! :)

Jenna said...

Wow I love this post! This is exactly what I'm trying to do. I taught at a school in Cancun and am moving to Reynosa with my bf in about a week. Is is possible to get in contact? I've been worried about not being able to find gringas there!

Waitress from Mensa said...

Ditto Heather Dominguez' comment. I've long maintained that you should write a book. At least keep a detailed journal (along with this great blog) to have, at the ready, the raw material for your book.

CasiMexicano said...

What a magical fairy-tale-come-true story. I love how you made your new adopted country your own. I assume that you are now fluent is Spanish by now as well. It is nice that sometimes Life/God/Fate gives us what we want in unexpected ways ... It sounds so easy, but I am sure it was not.

I'd like to do something similar one day. But my Spanish is still rudimentary and my areas of expertise and interests are in health care with a background in the social sciences and the natural sciences. Not to mention, I think I'd feel intimiated by being a foreigner going into a business and asking for a job. Native-born Mexicans have enough trouble with getting decent-paying work.

But maybe being fluent and native-born English speaker would have its advantages along the Mexican side of the border?

CasiMexicano said...

What a magical fairy-tale-come-true story. I love how you made your new adopted country your own. I assume that you are now fluent is Spanish by now as well. It is nice that sometimes Life/God/Fate gives us what we want in unexpected ways ... It sounds so easy, but I am sure it was not.

I'd like to do something similar one day. But my Spanish is still rudimentary and my areas of expertise and interests are in health care with a background in the social sciences and the natural sciences. Not to mention, I think I'd feel intimiated by being a foreigner going into a business and asking for a job. Native-born Mexicans have enough trouble with getting decent-paying work.

But maybe being fluent and native-born English speaker would have its advantages along the Mexican side of the border?

Gringa-n-Mexico said...

CasiMexicano there are a lot of people in your situation who commute daily to work in the states. Unless you're bi-lingual or planning on teaching English I don't think there are big advantages to border living and only speaking English. I thought the same when I first came here but was surprised to find that it's really difficult to find employment in Texas in the border if you don't speak Spanish. It was a pretty bad shock going into stores in the U.S. where none of the workers even spoke Enflish. Healthcare is different though, I have friends in healthcare that work in Tx and live in Mx who don't speak Spanish :)