¡Te amo, Norma!

Norma Citizenship #4

Norma is my Personal Assistant.  I wish you could meet her.  She’d win your heart in 5 minutes flat.  She’s one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met.

Norma’s from El Salvador. The reason she came to America is because she witnessed 3 men murder her husband’s cousin.  They gunned him down in front of her, right in the street, and then drove away.  They realized they’d left behind a living witness and started looking for her.

Norma received numerous very scary death threats and left her home for another village where she hid. The 3 men were relentless in pursuing her and were closing in on all of her hiding places.

Norma stopped going outside at all.   She hid and lived in constant fear.  It was emotional torment beyond endurance.

Finally, she took her 6-year-old son and, with her husband, they WALKED for 3 days to Guatemala.

From there she came to the United States.  She asked for and received asylum here.

When Norma started working for me, she didn’t speak much English.  I hired her because of the look in her eye.

What I saw was bigger than words.  I saw a depth of character that is rare.  I saw integrity, intelligence, love.  I saw unwavering dignity.  By very small actions I could tell she paid minute attention to detail, and knew this quality in her would be a match for my perfectionist tendencies.  (That insight turned out to be correct – she’s as much a perfectionist as I am.)

Hiring Norma was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. The billions of large and small ways she’s helped me have changed my life.

We take turns teaching each other.

I’ve learned from Norma that ALL things are possible, that all wounds CAN heal completely to leave no scars, that what doesn’t kill you DOES make you stronger, that there is NO LIMIT to love, that love can double and triple exponentially every day.   I’ve learned it’s the little things that give the greatest pleasures, the little moments that make you laugh, that make you admire, that you share with someone who understands you completely.  I’ve learned to stop and smell the roses.

Norma has an invincible conviction that LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL.  I don’t know how many days I’ve heard her tell me that, whether those days are cloudy, rainy, or sunny.  Norma said to me once, “It doesn’t matter what’s happening in your life, whether it is good or bad, life is beautiful!”

I’m not the only one.  Everyone in my organization adores Norma. We all feel fortunate to have her in our lives.

When Norma started, and we didn’t speak each other’s languages, we used Google Translator.  Then I gave Norma a Spanish version of the training material I use when I teach Learning How to Learn, because I wanted her to know that she could learn ANYTHING.

Norma signed up for English classes and learned English so fast, it was lightning.  Now there’s no topic we can’t discuss.  In between talking about work we naturally gravitate to the deeper philosophical topics, especially love, friendship and happiness.

I’m delighted to be (very slowly) learning a little Spanish, especially because so many things sound better in Spanish than in English (especially when you get to roll the R’s, like when you say amarillo (yellow) or fuerte (strong).  I love the R in rosas when you say Hay muchas rosas en el mundo (There are many roses in the world).

Norma had a green card that allowed her to work in the US, but becoming a US citizen was a very BIG goal.  I helped her study for the test, but she deserves the credit because she was very easy to help. What an incredible student when it comes to self-study!  She sailed through the test, then the interview.

Norma Citizenship #8I got to stand next to her as she took the oath during the swearing in citizenship ceremony.  It was beyond moving.

Then, with Norma’s support and encouragement, her husband and her son also studied and passed their citizenship tests too.  What big days those were!


Norma Graduation 2Norma continues her studies.  2 days ago she received a certification degree.  She’s a deservedly proud GRADUATE.  All of us at Effective Training Solutions celebrate her triumph.

There’s nothing she can’t learn, nothing she can’t do.

And, while her inner beauty is dazzling, here’s a photo of the beautiful woman she is, taken right before the big celebration after her graduation.

Norma Gussied Up for Graduation

Taking turns being teacher and student with someone who has so much to teach, well I just don’t know how I got so lucky.

¡Te amo, Norma!  Congratulations! ¡Felicitaciones!



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