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getting in touch with my inner colorado girl

Tuesdays (and Wednesdays) with Gina

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If we’re friends in real life, you probably are well aware of how hard I am to get a hold of during the week. I’m sorry!  Twitter is seriously the best way to reach me.  Anyway, this is one of the reasons why I am unavailable. Every Tuesday and Wednesday evening, I tutor English through an organization called Intercambio. I was a Spanish major in college and I have always had a special interest in English as a Second Language (ESL) education. After finishing graduate school this past November, I naively thought my life would be nothing but rainbows, sprinkles and free time, and I signed up to be an ESL teacher.  I have since learned that my life post-grad school is quite possibly more hectic than my life as a student, but I’m still teaching English. And here’s why:

My all-star student Gina.

This is my student Gina, and she’s kind of amazing. Anytime I think my life is too busy for ESL tutoring I have to stop and think about Gina’s life. She’s a single mom, she works for an Latina advocacy organization and pours her heart into her job, AND she’s trying to learn a foreign language. I think I can manage to cut three hours of playtime out of my schedule each week to help her with her English.  Plus I might be helping Gina with her English but I think she helps me more with my life. I learn so much from her every week, and our hour and a half lessons truly fly by.

This past week, Gina informed me that the director of Intercambio asked her to talk at the organization’s fundraiser called Tequila y Arte. I was invited to come watch and support Gina, and I helped her write and practice a short speech.  The event was held at Museo de las Americas, a Latin American art museum located in the Santa Fe Art District, and there were some delicious tacos involved, but Gina’s speech was definitely a highlight.  She made me so proud.

Mmm tacos.


 Proud maestra!

Not only is Gina an inspiration to me as a person, she also is an absolute blast. I had so much fun watching her tear up the dance floor and sample the tequila at the event. I totally hit the jackpot by being matched up with her through Intercambio. At the event she also gave me a sticker to put on my ceiling and look at every night.

If you speak Spanish I’m sure you’re already laughing. If you don’t this more or less translates to: “Please Virgin bring me good luck and a boyfriend quickly.”  It definitely is one of those things that is better appreciated in Spanish, but I thought it was pretty funny.  Another highlight of the evening was the silent auction where I won a $25 gift certificate to Sketch Wine Bar.  I can’t wait to put that to good use!

So I guess the moral of this story is that if I ever don’t respond to a text during the week, it’s a pretty safe bet that I’m eating tacos, dancing, and sampling tequila. Or something like that.

Wise words from Gina: “I control what I feel, what I think and what I do. The rest is up to the world.”


Author: paulamahla

Typical Colorado girl that can't make up her mind. Trail running, hiking, climbing, camping, CrossFit, ultimate frisbee, and skiing? E, all of the above.

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