Granby " Autumn Phillips: Spanish page isn’t about immigration
February 19, 2008
Every Friday, we publish one page written entirely in Spanish.
The page is put together by two volunteers ” Cecilia Peterson, a medical interpreter for Grand County Public Health, and Evelyn Ramos, a laid-back, Grand County-style girl, originally from Mexico City.
Last week, I was disheartened when I read Ramos’ column.
Ramos writes for Spanish speakers who are probably new to cold climates. She writes about snowboarding, experiencing the outdoors during winter and gives her readers advice about how to become a part of their new community.
Writing for the Spanish page is Ramos’ way of giving back by helping those who may not yet be able to read the English language.
As anyone who has lived abroad knows, even if you are studying every night to learn the language of your new country, it always feels good to read something in your native tongue.
Ramos’ columns are usually very positive.
But last week, I was surprised by the tone of her writing. She sounded discouraged.
Unfortunately, people make the leap ” incorrectly, I believe ” that text published in Spanish is a statement about immigration, legal or otherwise. There is more to the story.
I’m not sure how many of you were able to read what she wrote, but I thought it was important to publish it in English in case you didn’t.
My Spanish is rudimentary, so this translation is an approximation of what she wrote.
The Spanish Page: A window into the American culture
By Evelyn Ramos
Sky-Hi Daily News
The following column is written in answer to a letter about the Spanish page, written in the Sky-Hi Daily News. An American reader suggests that the page should go away with the argument that it keeps the Hispanic community from trying to learn English.
I do not see that this page has that effect.
I ask myself if the American reader understands Spanish. If she does, she may have read many of the articles I wrote. I only write positive things about the American culture. I write about snowboarding and skiing and previewed events in order to help foreigners understand the American way of life.
In fact, I have written about the town of Hot Sulphur Springs ” where the letter writer happens to live.
With my work, I give the Hispanic community tools to better understand the American culture and the snowy climate, which is a different experience for many.
How can we enjoy the snow when we do not know what to do with it or how to dress for the cold?
Through my writing, I give to the community a very positive perspective on the snow, nature and wildlife, as well as an introduction to the area’s recreational activities that help reduce stress and lead to a healthier way of life.
The Spanish page is an opportunity to read our language.
The main objective is to report things that are going on in our area and to entertain Spanish speakers and those who speak Spanish as a second language.
But my work is not to teach English.
Nevertheless, I introduce Hispanics to the American culture by writing articles with some words in English and photographs of beautiful places around the county.
I know that not only Spanish speaking people read my articles, but also tourists from other continents and many curious Americans who are learning Spanish.
To assure myself, I asked several locals what they thought about the Spanish page. A few were indifferent, but most were positive.
I was to mention that our English lessons begin the moment we arrive in this country.
We learn English in the streets, at work, speaking with friends, seeing television and reading signs.
We do not learn English through the newspaper.
The majority of us work hard days and in the end of the day or during our breaks we like to read the newspaper to find something pleasant to simply to find out what is on television.
The newspaper helps distract us from our stressful reality living in another country.
The Spanish page reminds us of what it is like to feel at home again.
In my case, I do not speak perfect English, but that has not stopped me from making American friends, learning to ski, working, carrying out transactions at the bank or even being able to write for the local newspaper ” all the things I did in my home city before crossing the border.
The Spanish page is only a window into the American culture ” not a dictionary of English-Spanish.
If we are going to live in this country together freely, we should share our cultures and
languages, instead of resisting each other because of our differences.
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