I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know my teacher a little more personally over the past two weeks maybe than most students do. I find it very fascinating to learn all the things I do being in Denny’s class particularly because he provides such an open, honest approach to learning and I think it also helps that we’re the same age – we definitely can relate to similar stuff. Anyway, I’ve enjoyed this a lot.
Last week we had a lesson about superstitions in Italy, and the idea of fortune tellers came up. He went around asking the others if they believed in such things, and all of them said no (keep in mind – I was in class with 2 men studying to be Catholic priests, and a woman who just didn’t believe in such things). He said he believed…and of course I said I did as well. The lesson continued and it was funny for me to hear what all was said about it. At the end of class, I told Denny I wanted to show something to him, and I pulled up my website. I think he was quite surprised to see that I am amongst the fortune teller crowd! I asked him not to tell anyone, knowing full well that I’m in a Roman-Catholic country where I don’t want to be scrutinized for being a “witch” because of course, I’m not one. He agreed not to say anything. I do feel I can trust him because he also shared some things about his life with me that normally you don’t unless you have a level of trust. With this, it’s been even more comfortable to share more about ourselves. Monday he mentioned that in 2 weeks when all of us who are in class now leave the school, he won’t be working there anymore. Long story short, due to low enrollment, this job is a come and go type of thing and he’s asked back when they need someone to fill in. I talked to him more about this and realized he has other jobs he tends to – he tutors English to students learning the language, and also does other things with the language here and there to fill in around town. I must say also that his English is near perfect – I’m seriously amazed at the things he knows the English translation to from Italian. He lived in NYC for about 2 years back in 2002 – 2003, and it’s amazing what he picked up and learned in that time. He was a waiter as well as an actor during his time in the US.
I’ve shared with Denny what my dreams are (how I’m living them out right now) and he told me about his dream, which is to obtain his Green Card so he and his wife can live in NJ to be near NYC for work. He has purchased 4 entries into the “Green Card Lottery.” Every year around mid-October a lottery drawing is held in the US on who will be granted a Green Card from Italy. There is a certain quota of course each year. This year will be his first of four years hoping that he gets chosen to obtain it. He reiterated how hard it is to obtain the job you want here in Italy and that some people wait around 20 years for it and in the meanwhile do other things to make ends meet….just waiting for the opportunity of their lifetime to come. He so badly wants to do something with English and the performing arts. Rarely do you come across someone is so passionate about what they do and at the same time, are amazing at it too. I really hope it works out – he’s hopeful it will. I whole heartedly believe that when you put energy forth toward reaching your goal, you’ll get there. I believe it’ll happen for he and his wife to set up the life they want.
I offered to send him some links to job websites so he can start applying to whatever he can to at least get his foot in the door, possibly to obtain a work visa in the process, etc. I know how hard it is to look for a job from afar and in his case, not even knowing the latest and greatest websites to look at. I suggested he use a local address as well as a local telephone number (which he can get via Skype) to also have employers at least consider him for a job. I know from personal experience that not having a local address or phone number is one of the biggest barriers to obtaining a job elsewhere. I hope these little tips make a difference, and it gets the ball rolling for him.
Conversations like this I need to have now and again as a reminder of how lucky we are as Americans. We do live in a land full of opportunities and though the economy is tough there still is hope – more hope than other countries have. Not to say that we always take things for granted, but often we have things handed to us and forget what ‘hard work’ means to achieve your goals. This really inspired me today hearing about Denny’s hopes, dreams, and all the work he’s putting toward reaching them. If I can help him in any way, I’m happy to do so. I’ve been so fortunate along the way to find people who gave me chances and would love to see that for him too.
In the end, I guess it all comes down to winning the lottery. Isn’t that everyone’s dream? 🙂