A friend from another country This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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Susan Smith is a successful lawyer from East LA. She loves cooking and enjoys playing with her 3 children. Alex, age four, Tiffany, age 12, and Bryan, age 16. Her husband Mark Smith is also a very successful lawyer and enjoys spending time with his wife.


After a long day at work she receives a phone call from her nanny.
“Hey Susan this is Ashley”, she says in a sad voice.
“Hey, what happened?”
“Well I have good news and bad news which one do you want to hear first?”
“Umm the good one”
“Ok well I got accepted to be a full time fashion designer!”
“Oh my gosh Ashley! Congratulations!”
“Yea” sighs “here comes the bad news”
“What is it”
“Since I accepted to be a full time fashion designer….”
“Yes? And?
“ I have to move to New York, the job is in New York”
Susan stands in horror as she stares into outer space.
“Oh, umm, you know what? This is so silly! You don't worry about the kids you should worry about yourself right now! You been presented with this exciting opportunity! Take advantage of it, make sure you learn and if you have any doubt or your insecure about something please call me. I'm not only your boss of being a nanny, but I am also your friend. Please if anything, call me.”
“Thank you so much Susan! I'll make you proud!”
“Hahaha I have no doubt in that. Take care, bye.”
“Bye”


Susan sits in her car frustrated with the issue of finding a new babysitter. Once she gets home she runs to her computer and looks up available nannies in findananny.com. She looks through all of their resumes and does not seem to be excited about any nanny. She sits in frustration, waiting for a miracle to happen. All of a sudden, it did. She looks back up to her computer and see the name Maria Lopez. She reads that she is 25 year old women living in East LA California. Loves playing with children, and has experience for 10 years.


Susan dials Maria Lopez phone number that is provided by the website.
“Hello?” answers a women with a thick english accent.
“Hi this is Susan Smith I was wondering if I could talk to Maria Lopez?”
“Yes, this is her, how may I help you?”
“Hi Maria I found you phone number on a website named findananny.com. I read your profile and I have seemed to really like it.”
“Thank you!”
“Your welcome, I was wondering if u can babysit my kids every Wednesday, Friday, and Sundays? I had a nanny before but she just got a new job and I really need someone to be with my kids.”
“Umm. I think it would work out.”
“Perfect! At what time can I meet you to talk about timing and payment?”
“Tomorrow would be fine señora.”
Susan is surprised to hear the word señora because she has only heard that word used in Mexican-American films.
“Alright, then I'll see you tomorrow at my house. I'll send you the address.”
“Perfect señora thank you so much.”
“No problem.”


The next day Susan plays with their youngest child when she hears the door ring. Once she opens the door she see a hispanic women with peach colored skin, her hair braided.
“Good morning, is this the señora Susan Smith?”
“Yes, are you Maria Lopez?”
“Yes”
“Ah come in”
Susan walked her into her living room area and sat her down.
“Wait a second, let me go get my kids.”
Susan screams, “kids come out here!”
All the kids run to the living room area
Susan say, “so these are my three kids, Alex, Tiffany, and Bryan”.
All the kids in unison say, “hi”
Maria says, “hi kids my name is Maria and I'll be your new nanny. It will be so much fun! We will do activites, games, and eat some hispanic food!”
The kids sigh “yay”
Susan said “ok kids, go outside and play while I'll talk to your new nanny Maria.”
The kids go outside as Susan sits down in her couch.
“So, I am very excited to see what kinds of activities you will be doing with the kids. Can you name some activities to me so I can get an idea of what kinds of things my kids will be learning.”
“Sure, so I would first like to teach the kids about hispanic culture. I'll give them hispanic food and learn about the day of the dead.”
“How would you approach them about these topics?”
“Well, I would talk to them about how all people are different and well sit down and discuss how they feel.”
Susan look happy as she thought about her nanny and children sitting down together dussicing the issue people face today.
“Great I'll see you tomorrow then. Thank you so much, i'm super sorry that I called you last minute.”
“That's fine señora see you tomorrow.”

The next day Susan's alarm clock goes off. She lays there thinking about how she never discussed race and culture when she was a child. She starts having flashbacks of a young African girl being bullied by one of her classmates.


Susan finishes getting dressed when she hears the doorbell ring. She runs to open the door.
“Hey thank God you're here I was about to leave. Have fun!”
Susan runs out the door.
Once Maria enters the house she see the kids playing with their tablets in the couch.
“Hey kids come here”
While the kids walk over to her she pulls out a movie called, La Vida De Una Espana.
“What's that?” Alex points to the movie Maria pulled out.
“This is a movie that I bought yesterday for you all, I think you'll like it.”
Maria puts the movie into the DVD player as the kids sit in the sofa to watch.
After the movie Tiffany asks Maria, “Why did you make us watch this movie?”
“I wanted you guys to learn and see how people with different races live their lives daily. What did you all learn? Starting with you señor Bryan.”
“Umm,” Bryan thinks, “Well, now I know how hard it is to get into America. I just thought that you could just walk to the border. When she told her story about how she got here I realized how privileged we are.”
“DANG! I never thought you would ever go deep, hahaha.” Tiffany laughs at Bryan as he turns red.
“Very good,” says Maria “we have to understand that there are many children around the world that are suffering from starvation because their parents can't work, or has to work at the age of four like Alex.”
All the kids look at each other in seriousness and put their heads down.

After a long day Susan comes back home. She opens the door and all of her kids hug her.
“Woah,” Susan says surprised “what happened? Why are you all hugging me? Hahaha you never hugged me before Brayan.”
Maria smiles and says, “Well, I have to go. I'll see you kids soon! Goodbye señora Susan have a good night”
“You too” says Susan as Maria closes the door.

In the middle of the night Susan decides to call Maria.
“Hello is this Maria?” Says Susan
“Yes...Senora Susan?”
“Yes, its me. I just wanted to thank you. I am not usually with the kids that often. Yesterday when you left the children told me about the movie they saw and I thought it was amazing how they are learning something new with their nanny! You know, my parents never taught me these kinds of things. I feel like it is very important for the kids to know that they are very privileged. If you don't mind me asking, how was your childhood like?”
“Well senora Susan, It wasn't very pretty. I lived in Hermosillo Sonora and it was very hot their. My mother was dying and my father was always working I never got to see them that often. My seven siblings and I all worked starting at the age of five. I worked as a shoe cleaner, and got paid very little. My country wasn't always a happy one. In 1968 a student demonstration in Mexico City injured or wounded hundreds of protesters. That scared our country into thinking that we might come to an end. But Things got worse, in the year 1985 Mexico City had an earthquake. Thousands of people were killed and made many homeless. My family especially suffered from this knowing that some of our family members died that day. A little years before that, in 1976-1982 our oil prices sank which maked Mexico's economy fall. But don't think that Mexico is a bad place to live though. It has beautiful landscapes and great views. In 1954 women are allowed to vote in our country. Not that far off when women in the United States were allowed to vote. Once my mother passed away I came to the United States to live a better life. I am very grateful I did because now, my own children can learn and succeed in life.”
Susan sits in surprised, and starts to reflect in her childhood. She recognizes that her childhood was a very privileged one, just like her children.
“Wow! I am very sorry for your loss. Again, I want to thank you so much for taking care of the kids, and please, let me know if you need everything. Also, thank you for teaching my children and I about life outside a privilege world. Well, I should let you go now, good night.”
“Good night senora Susan”
Maria and Susan have been friends ever since, sometimes Maria brings her kids and lets Susan's kids play with them.




Two countries collide


Maria Lopez is a Mexican mother of two kids, Luis, age eight and Martha, age 4. She lives in East LA and enjoys playing with her children. She is very aware of the fact that heritage isn't a very comfortable topic here in the United States. One of her passions is to inform people about Mexican/Latin American heritage. She believes that informing people about someone's heritage is better than people making assumptions.

Maria sits down in her table with a cup of coffee when she receives a call from her sister Karla.
“Hola Maria!”
“Hola Karla que paso?”
“Mira, tengo que hablarte de algo serio. ¿Estás sentada?”
“Yes what happened!”
“Lisa told me to tell you that she wants to let you go because she wants to quit her job to spend time with her children. She thinks that it is best thing to do for her family and her. She wanted you to know that you were a very good nanny and that she appreciates every moment that you have spent with her children. Also, that she is very sorry that she couldn't tell you in person, she just didn't want to see your face when she told you.”

Maria sits in silence, thinking about what she should say next. She thinks about how she is the only parent in the household. She worries about her children and is concerned with the hose bills.

Multiple things pass through her mind when she hears a voice on the other end of the phone.
“Hello Maria? ¿Sigues ahí?”
“Yes sorry, I was just thinking.”
“Are you going to be ok?
“Yes, just give me some time to think. I'll call you later. Adios.”
“Adios Maria, cuídate por favor.”
“Si, no te preocupes, lo haré, adiós”
“Adios”

Maria puts down the phone and stares at the window. She remembers the time she came to the United States. How hard it was to come to this country, but she will never regret it because it was worth it.

She remembers the time when her family was struggling in Mexico. Her mother had been very sick for most of her life, and how she never had a dad growing up. Maria Does a little check in with herself, she remembers that she should be grateful for her two children and that she still has a roof over her head.

Luis walks in and sees his mother staring at the window.
“Mama que paso”?
“Nada mijo ve a jugar con Martita.”
“¡Pero mamá! Puedo ver que usted está preocupada con la mirada en su cara.”
“I know mijo i'm sorry, mira ven.”
She sits Luis on her lap. She runs her fingers through his hair and smile at him. Making him feel secure and safe.

“Look, I am just not in a good place right now. I love you and your sister a lot. I don't want you both to forget that ok?”
“Ok mama, I just want to see you happy. I know you love us but I really miss you being happy. You're with us all day mama. I remember when you use to work and would leave us with tia Karla, what happened?”
Maria sighs in sadness, trying to not show so much worry in her face.

“I am trying as hard as I can ok?”
She puts Luis down and bends down to look at Luis. Luis notices her beautiful long braid and her happy big brown eyes, which makes him smile.
“You don't worry about anything, we are all going to be ok, and I promise, you are going to be with your tia Karla soon. Now go and play with Martha before she does something ridículo.”
“Ok ama, te quiero mucho!”
Maria smiles and gives him a big kiss
“Yo te quiero mucho también.”

The next day, Maria decides to sign herself up in a website called Findananny.com. She's sees that there is more than a hundred people signed up. She thinks carefully about what she is going to put in her bio and decides that her best choice would be to put what she had put in her resume that she did for Lisa a couple of years ago.

Once it is complete she sits back and admires her work. She looks out the porch door and sees Luis and Martha playing soccer. She smiles gracefully as she admires Luis for his good heart and adores Martha for her innocence in life. She wondered what their futures hold for them and wishes that they have a good life like they deserve.

As she walked to the stove to make food for her children her cell phone rings. She quickly remembers that she signed up for findananny.com and runs to the table where she had left it.
“Hello?” answers Maria
“Hi this is Susan Smith I was wondering if I could talk to Maria Lopez?”
“Yes, this is her, how may I help you?”
“Hi Maria, I found you phone number on a website named findananny.com. I read your profile and I have seemed to really like it.”
“Thank you!”
“Your welcome, I was wondering if u can babysit my kids every Wednesday, Friday, and Sundays? I had a nanny before but she just got a new job and I really need someone to be with my kids.”
Maria looks outside to Luis and Martha and decides to take the job.
“Umm, I think it would work out.”
“Perfect! At what time can I meet you to talk about timing and payment?”
“Tomorrow would be find señora.”

Maria remembers the time when she sat down with her mom in the hospital bed. Her mother grabbed her hands and wrapped her fingers around it. She remembers her telling Maria to always be respectful. Because being respectful would always bring good outcomes.
“Alright then, I'll see you tomorrow at my house. I'll send you the address.”
“Perfect señora thank you so much.”
“No problem.”
The next day, Maria wakes up early in the morning in a great mood. She happily braids her hair, picked out her favorite dress, and put perfume on her neck. She dials Karlas phone number to tell her the great news.
“KARLA!”
“¡Que pasó! ¿Estas bien?”
“Me siento maravillosa! ¿Adivina qué?”
“Que?”
“I got a new job AHH!”
“AHHH oh my goodness congratulations!”
“Hahaha, thank you! I need to ask you a big favor. I know it's last minute but can you please take care of the kids? I am about to head out but I left breakfast tacos in the refrigerator.”
“Yes of course! Have fun!”
“Hahaha thanks, bye.”
“Bye”

Maria decides to go into Luises room. She sees him peacefully sleeping. She smiles and sits on top of his bed.
“Buenos dias mijo”
Luis rubs both of eyes and looks up to his mother.
“Buenos dias mama”
“Que crees?
“Que?”
“I have a new job! You are going to have to stay with your tia Karla today ok?”
“Yay! Sí mama.”
“Ok mijo ya me voy, behave, give me a kiss.”
Luis gives a kiss to Maria and Maria returns it back. She runs to her car and starts driving to the address that Susan gave her
Once she get to the door she fixes her dress and knocks on the door.


“Good morning, is this the señora Susan Smith?”
“Yes, are you Maria Lopez?”
“Yes”
“Ah come in”
Susan walked her into her living room area and sat her down.
“Wait a second, let me go get my kids.”
Susan screams,
“kids come out here!”
All the kids run to the living room area
Susan say,
“so these are my three kids, Alex, Tiffany, and Bryan”.
All the kids in unison say,
“Hi”
Maria says,
“Hi kids my name is Maria and I'll be your new nanny. It’s going to be so much fun! We will do activites, games, and eat some food you haven't tasted before!”
The kids sigh
“yay”
Susan says,
“ok kids, go outside and play while I'll talk to your new nanny Maria.”
The kids go outside as Susan sits down in her couch.
“So, I am very excited to see what kinds of activities you will be doing with the kids. Can you name some activities to me so I can get an idea of what kinds of things my kids will be learning.”

Maria starts to get nervous, she feels her hands sweat and reminds herself about her two beautiful children waiting for her to come home and tell them the great news of how she has a permanent job. She sits up straight and decides to be determined about this job. After a long pause she says,
“Sure, so I would first like to teach the kids about the hispanic culture. I'll give them hispanic food and learn about beliefs and traditions like the day of the dead.”
“How would you approach them about these topics?”
“Well, I would talk to them about how all people are different and well sit down and discuss how they feel.”
Susan looked pleaded with her answer. Susan begins to imagens Maria and children sitting down together dussicing the issue people face today.
“Great I'll see you tomorrow then. Thank you so much, i'm super sorry that I called you last minute.”
“That's fine señora see you tomorrow.”
The next morning Maria wakes up in a hurry. She sees that it is already 6:00am and rushes to take a shower. She makes sure her braid looks perfect and that she smells nice. She does a morning prayer and reaches for a movie name La Vida De Una Espana. She runs into her car and rushes to Susan's house.
Once Maria knocks the door flings open.
“Hey thank God you're here! I was about to leave. Have fun!”
Susan runs out the door.
Maria notices the kids sitting down on the sofa with their tablets. She feels disappointment and realizes that they don't know how privileged they are for having a roof over their heads.

“Hey kids come here”
While the kids walk over to her, she pulls out the movie La Vida De Una Espana.
“What's that?” Alex points to the movie Maria pulled out.
“This is a movie that I bought yesterday for you all, I think you'll like it.”
Maria puts the movie into the DVD player as the kids sit in the sofa to watch.
After the movie Tiffany asks Maria,
“Why did you make us watch this movie?”
“I wanted you guys to learn and see how people with different races live their lives daily. What did you all learn? Starting with you señor Bryan.”
“Umm,” Bryan thinks, “Well, now I know how hard it is to get into America. I just thought that you could just walk to the border. When she told her story about how she got here I realized how privileged we are.”
“DANG! I never thought you would ever go deep, hahaha.” Tiffany laughs at Bryan as he turns red.
“Very good,” says Maria “we have to understand that there are many children around the world that are suffering from starvation because their parents can't work, or children as young as Alex start to working outside to help their family live a normal life.”
All the kids look at each other in seriousness and put their heads down. After a couple of minutes she decides to buy them Ice cream.


Once the kids got home they decided to work on homework. Maria was proud of herself for making the effort of teaching the kids a valuable lesson. She starts having flashbacks of her mother wearing a traditional mexican dress with a big flower on her head. Maria was in her bed watching her mother put on pearl earring in front of the mirror. To Maria, her mom looked astonishing.
“Wow ama te ves muy hermosa!”
Her mother looks at her with grace as she raises her cheeks to make a smile.
“Do you know why i'm wearing this outfit?”.
“No ama, not really.”
Marias mother walks towards her and decided to sit next to her.
“Hoy es el cinco de Mayo”
“Cinco de Mayo?”
“Yes, el cinco de Mayo is a day of celebration! In the years of 1862 the mexican army defeated the french forces at the Battle of Puebla.”
“Whats Puebla?”
“That's just a city here in Mexico.”
“Why were the french people attacking Puebla?
“They were going towards the city because they were headed towards Mexico city.”
“Oh, but why is el Cinco de Mayo such a big deal?
Maria's mother strokes her hair and tucks it behind her ear
“It's such a big seal because none ever thought that we would be able to defeat the french. There was 8,000 soldiers in the French army and only 4,000 soldiers in the Mexican army. When the fight was finished, it was discovered that 462 French soldiers died that day, and only 83 Mexican soldiers died that day as well. And every since the Mexican army won the Battle of Puebla in the fifth of May, it has been a tradition to celebrate the victory every since.”

Hearing the sound of keys jingling on the door the kids and Maria jump up. The kids run towards the door. The kids see their mother and runs towards her giving her a big hug.

“Woah,” Susan says surprised “what happened? Why are you all hugging me? Hahaha you never hugged me before Brayan.”
Maria smiles and says, “Well, I have to go. I'll see you kids soon! Goodbye señora Susan have a good night”
“You too” says Susan as Maria closes the door.

















Authors Note
Ariela Velazquez lives in Austin Texas with her family. Noticing people's reactions to learning new cultures was her inspiration to write these two short stories. She found it very interesting that not many people new about the hispanic culture. Sure we have spanish classes but are they really paying attention to what shapes a person? As she was planning out what topic to write she read a book called The Ultimate Writer's Guide To Success. This book allowed her to really understand the reader's thoughts about a character in the book. It also showed her tips and tricks to capture the reader's attention. During this journey, she faced many challenges. One in particular is having the time to write these two short story. She was very excited to write these stories, but time was the only problem. Eventually, she did find the time to write, all she had to do is clear her schedule. What surprised her the most was having to research about her own hispanic culture. Once she researched these history facts it made her realize that she doesn't know much about the history of her own culture. She hopes by reading her short stories, the reader will understand and have a glimpse look at what life is really like not being aware about other cultures (and not just hispanic ones). The theme of her book is to always accept and understand other people's culture.





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