I love having this space to write. It does something good to me. However, with all of the changing and moving and craziness--I seem to have hit a dry spell. With this in mind, I have decided to take up the telling of "our story"... how Rey and I met and whatnot. It may or may not be interesting to you, but I want to write it out now. Before I forget more...
Whenever people ask us how we met, we always look at each other and giggle. And, it is really probably one of the questions we get asked most--so I guess we giggle a lot. It does make a person wonder... how a homeschooled girl born and raised in the midwest might cross paths with a farm boy from south of the border.
I like to think about how near I came to not meeting my man. You see, I'd worked for 4 summers at a landscaping company and I was pretty sure I didn't want to do another one. I liked the job and all--but, my major was in Bilingual Education and I felt that possibly I should be working somewhere closer to that area of learning. Also, there had been some "unpleasant" experiences the year before... so I was pretty firm about not coming back.
And then. One of the managers of the company called me and asked if I would re-consider. He told me all kinds of stuff he knew I'd want to hear (think: "Translating! Teaching English! Pay raise")... and, wouldn't ya know, talked me right back into working for them.
So, that spring of 2004 found me out pulling weeds and digging holes. Again. Although I didn't know it, at that very moment-- the man of my dreams was on a bus, on his way into my life.
Rey took a very long bus ride from McAllen, TX to Champaign, IL. There, he was to be retrieved by the owners of the landscaping company, who were the ones that had gotten him his work visa for the summer. It was the first time Rey had been away from his big family. He was just learning English. He didn't have anything more than a phone number on a piece of paper. Needless to say, he was a nervous, tired guy once the owners got to him.
I started hearing wind of a "new Mexican" working for the company, but had not seen him. I was preparing for the first English class of the season, and the manager gave me the list of the names of the Hispanic workers for that season. Rey's was the only one I didn't recognize.
It seemed that he was a celebrity or something--because I had heard about him from almost all the other Mexican workers and some other coworkers before I met him. From the Mexican guys, they seemed eager to make sure he didn't encroach on their territory.
Then came that fateful evening. May 15, 2004. I sat in my English classroom, awaiting the students for the first class. Through the door walked the manager... followed by a tall, dreadfully handsome man. He sure looked goooood in a baseball hat, I thought.
I knew it had to be Rey, but I played it cool and asked him for his name--as though I hadn't heard about him 100 times. The manager left us after introductions were made, and I began to be all teacherly and ask Rey about his English knowledge. As time went by and it became more obvious that no one else was going to show up--we abandoned scholarly topics and got to know a little more about each other.
I learned that he came from a big family and that he had completed his first year of study to be an Industrial Engineer.
I remember thinking that I thought it was cute that he hung his baseball hat on his knee and that he was really fun to talk with. And, ohstopmybeatingheart, he is so good-looking.