Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Life Passages - Part 3

(Continued from Part 2)

I was excited about the opportunity of teaching in Chile.  This particular school taught English to miners who worked for an American company just north of Santiago.  The term of employment was to be for one year.  I spoke to a Canadian teacher at the school to get her opinion on the job.  I already spoke Spanish and I saw this as an opportunity to improve my Spanish reading, writing and speaking skills.  I had a plan to offer my house in the mountains east of Albuquerque up for a 1 year lease.  I would take my pension early so I had a monthly cash flow. happens.

Ron in 2005

I met Ron early in 2005.  He lived in Rio Rancho, about an hours drive away from my home in Tijeras.  We started going out.  He had a house and business of his own and he was charming.  He endeared me to him when he brought me home-made chicken soup when I got very sick.   He loved travel, the theater, and dining out at good restaurants.  We enjoyed each other's company and spent weekends making little road trips to out-of-the-way places in New Mexico.  We took trips to Arizona, California, Colorado and Los Cabos, Mexico.  I had found a companion to share my love of travel.

He asked me to turn down the job in Chile and then he asked me to marry him which I accepted.  I moved into his house in Rio Rancho.  We got married in January, 2006 in Poway, California and then we flew to Ireland for a honeymoon.

I got my Substitute Teaching Licensure and began substitute teaching in the Rio Rancho schools. I got paid $70/day and $35 for a half day when teaching kindergarten.

Working at home for ETS
Teaching English at Southwest Creations Collaborative
Through membership in my professional association, TESOL,  I saw an ad for on-line raters for a Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) offered by Educational Testing Service (ETS). I applied and was provided training and I was certified to score the TOEIC test at home on my computer.  The hours were flexible and allowed Ron and I to travel.  The pay was $10/hour.  After a couple of months of TOEIC scoring, ETS offered me an opportunity to qualify to score the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT).  After training, I was certified to score the TOEFL Speaking and Listening Test in September, 2006. It was a good fit for me in semi-retirement.  I would work when I wanted to in either 4, 6.5, or 8 hour shifts any day of the week.  I worked at home.  I started at $14/hour and later made $18.54/hour.  A good part-time job for me.

I also continued to do volunteer ESL tutoring for the CNM Literacy Program where I was able to create my own original teaching materials and have face-to-face interactions with wonderful ESL students. I especially enjoyed my time teaching English at the Southwest Creations Collaborative in Albuquerque where every employee gets 2 paid hours of English language training each week.

Employees at Southwest Creations Collaborative are immigrants from Mexico and all need English language training

Most recently, I volunteered to tutor English language learners at Central New Mexico Community College (Montoya Campus).  My students were primarily Arabic-speaking immigrants.

Now, after more than 10 years of working for ETS, I am hanging it up.  I worked my last shift on December 22, 2016.  I may continue to do volunteer ESL tutoring.  There is an opportunity to teach English to newly arrived immigrants from Africa which I may undertake in 2017.  For now, I will work on my hobbies like painting and photography and plan some more travel with my husband.  Our next trip is a cruise to the Western Caribbean in February. Next summer, I will continue to volunteer for the Forest Service as a Wildflower Interpretative Guide in the Sandia Mountains.  I have done these summertime wildflower walks since the summer of 2009 and have frequently posted my wildflower walks on this blog.

It's been an interesting life so far.  I've done a lot of different jobs.  I've learned that you may not always get to work at jobs which interest you, but jobs you needed just to make money or train for the job you really want. Planning and preparation are important.  But sometimes, randomness brings you jobs that are enormously satisfying. Plus, I have been a mother and raised two fine daughters who are now married and working in their own careers.  Mary now has two young daughters, is finishing her college degree, and works as a District Manager for Starbucks.  Amanda has her own business and volunteers in many capacities including mentoring young women in jail.  I believe my life has set a good example for my children just as my own hard-working parents set an example for me.


  1. Wow! I really enjoyed reading this. You are an amazing lady with such a rich and colorful life history.

  2. Love you mom. Really fun read thank you for the archive.