While living in Venezuela, I have met many interesting people. One of the most amazing and sweetest people I have met is our school’s lunch cook. She sells a variety of treats from her stand and she makes people lunch every day. She also lets us use her kitchen to bake treats for ourselves. I enjoy talking to her and over time I have learned some very interesting things. I would like to introduce you to her!
To begin, her name is Noris! Noris is 46 years old. She thinks she is very old, but I told her that my parents were even older! She has three children: two boys and a girl. When a single mother moved into the apartment across from them, they used to watch her baby while she was at work. Noris treats this baby as her own grandchild and she likes to spend as much time as possible with him! She and her husband don’t have any grandchildren yet, but would like some so that they can spoil them. One of their children lives in a different state in Venezuela. Her other two children live with her and her husband in their apartment.
Do you have any pets?
They don’t have any pets living with them except for an aquarium with a few fish. It seems like everyone I meet has fish. They don’t seem think much about it! Can you imagine seeing an aquarium full of fish every time you go to a friend’s house? That’s what it is like here!
What is your job like?
Noris never went to college and she barely graduated high school, but she is very content with her life. She is our school’s lunch cook, and likes to interact with students all the time.
She worked alongside me one day, and was so cheerful as we cut up tomatoes. We watched the new pope come out of the Vatican in Rome on the television set in the lunchroom. She taught me how to wash my vegetables correctly so I don’t get parasites. Sometimes, parasites and other germs or bacteria can be found on fresh vegetables. It is very important to wash them!
She is very generous and occasionally gives me free bread, juice, and pasta. She knows that I can’t afford to eat the school’s lunch every day. She knows that I only eat a few vegetables and the bread that I bring from home, so it’s a great supplement. Noris also knows how much I like ice-cream. One day, she made ice cream for all 21 American students at our college. I wasn’t at school that day and she saved me some!
Her main job is to cook our lunches Monday through Friday and to sell treats, drinks and snacks. However, she represents so much more than a cook to us here at the school! She is our mom away from home. We live with Venezuelan families here, but she is everyone’s special mom. She takes care of us, tells us where we can buy medicine and band aids, lets us know about good deals on vegetables and she makes sure that we feel loved every day.
How do you get around?
Noris lives far away from where she works and she usually takes a taxi or the bus. It can be expensive, but she doesn’t have any other choice.
Have you ever traveled? Do you want to travel?
When I asked her if she would ever like to go the United States, she replied, “No, I don’t have a desire to go there, I don’t like to travel”. She hasn’t even visited her son that lives about 12 hours away. He has lived there for three years! She is really content just being around her family and doing a good day’s work. She doesn’t feel the need to travel to exotic places. She is very happy with her life and wouldn’t change a thing.
What languages do you speak?
Noris speaks Spanish and knows a few words in English. She is always asking us how to say things in English, but I don’t think she remembers very much of what we tell her! Every time we talk, we do it in Spanish which is really good practice for me because she isn’t afraid to correct me! She uses the word “Buenas” to greet people or she just says “Hola” and then our name. Sometimes, she jokes around and says “Hello” or “Good Morning”. She has an amazing memory and can still remember former student’s names and what kinds of foods they liked!
Is there anything you want to tell students in the United States?
“Tell students to do things that make them happy. I love my job and I love the people I work with so that it doesn’t seem like a job. If you do something that makes you happy, you won’t have anything to worry about“. I agree with her thoughts! I hope that someday you will also meet wonderful person like Noris because she sets a great example for how to be content and live a good life.