I tried a new type of New York Cares event today and I’m so glad I did. Basically I was just to assist some adults in an English class (held at a school where most of their children attend) by talking with them – today, specifically, they needed assistance writing a letter to a Donor who had offered to give Christmas presents to their kids. I had a woman from Mexico and a woman from Senegal. As for Ms. Mexico: I realized pretty quickly that she spoke practically no English whatsoever, and I kicked myself for not speaking Spanish. Thankfully there was an English / Spanish dictionary and we had a fascinating time trying to figure out the words ‘presents’ and ‘goals.’ We were meant to discuss their goals they set for themselves when they moved to the US, what they want for their children, what they are thankful for, etc (‘job,’ ‘family’) and at first I thought: how frustrating, to not yet have the vocabulary to express they probably far more complicated answers they have to these questions. But then I realized – no, there’s something kind of amazing about the simplicity of these answers. ‘I came to New York for work’ as opposed to’I came to new york for grad school in playwriting and I don’t know like I just always felt like I should live here and I thought it’d be cool.’
As for Ms. Senegal, she decided that she was thankful for her child, and ‘dope’. She checked her spelling with me; I said it was perfect.