Learning experiences

Yesterday (Monday), I had my interview with Karen at Tea Thyme.  They had their Grand Opening last Saturday for the tea room and it was also open on Sunday.  Over the weekend, Karen and Lynn realized they will need more help, so they are giving me more hours.  As a result, I will be working twenty-two hours at Tea Thyme and about sixteen hours at Seaquist.  It’s a nice blend of jobs.

I reported for my first day of work at Tea Thyme today.  I am learning so much.  I was told that different teas need to steep at different temperatures.  I also found out that knives are supposed to be washed in tepid water rather than hot water in order to maintain their sharpness.

I am trying to learn all the teas, but there are more than ninety varieties sold at Tea Thyme.  They have sample jars that one can sniff, so I started sniffing as many as I could so that I can get an idea which ones I might like.  Also, I washed dishes today, and whenever I washed out the teapots, I smelled the most heavenly aromas!  I am going to enjoy learning more about the teas.

Karen is from England, so I am trying to learn what she means by certain words.  The English have different nouns and expressions than Americans do.  I hope to soak up a rich new vocabulary this summer.

After work, I drove down to Sturgeon Bay.  There is a woman who works at Seaquist, Luida, who keeps to herself because she doesn’t speak much English.  She is from the Ukraine.  I remember when I was in language school in Mexico in 2008 and how difficult it was to speak in Spanish all the time.  Even when I knew how to communicate in baby Spanish, I was afraid to practice with the people around me.  I know that Luida has been trying to teach herself English with online lessons, but she only says a few common phrases at work.  Most of the people at work are nice to her but leave her alone because they think she can’t converse with them.  It becomes a vicious cycle.

I offered to go to Luida’s home to help her practice her English.  She has an app on her phone where she can speak in Ukrainian and have it translated into English and vice versa.  I told her that for my visit, I wanted her to speak to me in English.  I want her to struggle through to figure out how to say what she wants to say.  It was how I learned what Spanish I did.

We started with me asking her to tell me about herself.  She did pretty well at that.  She skips words, but my goal is to just embolden her to speak up.  I think if she will try, people will be able to follow fairly well.  Then I got up and started walking around her house with her and pointing to things and saying, “What is this?”  She did pretty well at that, as well, although there were things she needed reminders of.  Finally, we sat down again and I worked with her on what it means to say, “Last week,” “This week,” and “Next week,” as well as “last-this-next” month and year.

Then I told her I would come back next week to help her again.  At that, she used her phone app to ask me how much she owed me.  I was rather taken aback and I said, “No!  I am your friend.”  Apparently, her children had suggested to her that I might want money to help her with her English.

For me, it was a bit of a learning experience to drive myself to Sturgeon Bay.  Mark usually does all the driving, but I found Luida’s house on my own and then I found Walmart on my own.  Another learning experience for me has been trying to learn how to pump my own gas.  In Oregon, I never had to do that.  I have rarely had to pump my own gas in other states, but now that Mark has his own truck for business, our personal truck is my responsibility.  Last week, I was so chagrined.  I had to ask the man inside the market how to loosen the cap on my gas tank, then I had trouble swiping my card in the pump, and finally, I only managed to get about $18-worth of gas because the pump kept shutting off.  Today, I hung in there till I at least got $40-worth of gas.  One of these days, I’ll learn how to keep the pump going to fill the tank!

One thought on “Learning experiences

  1. Hi Denise – I am catching up on your last 6 wks: you have been busy! I appreciate being able to see a glimpse of your life in WI! Way to go! -Sue

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