As I head into the home stretch, I have to take Day 30 to express my gratitude to Denise. I met Denise when I was in my third year of interpreting - she was my supervisor. When I finally met her in January of that year, I was ready to beg to be moved...I had realized that I was in a rut and it was affecting the work I was doing and the student I was working with at the time. She understood and the next fall, when I got my assignment, I found out that I was a "Floater" (full time sub). When I got off the phone that afternoon, I cried. I was sure I was not good enough to be placed with a student and was now relagated to "sub".
It was a decision that changed my life. I was young at the time and I didn't understand that a sub needed to have language flexibility (along with all other kinds of flexibility) to try to meet the needs of the consumers from very young children to adults in a variety of settings. After an initial transition period, the position fit me like a glove. I worked as a floater for 5 years and I knew that I would never be able to go back to 1:1 interpreting in a K-12 classroom. I had gotten a taste of something else and I wanted more.
Denise put a lot of trust in me, encouraged me, mentored me and supported me for all those years and after. She was the first person I told about Roby when he got sick - I knew that I would have to explain why I was missing work. She was 100% supportive of me and even met Roby a few times. I believe that I would still be a K-12 interpreter (there is nothing wrong with that if that's what you want) and I would be a mediocre one, at that. Denise encouraged me to get certified, helped set up the tests in Oregon so that I could take it. She celebrated my successes and helped me when I was feeling like a failure.
Denise and I grew to be friends over the years, as well. We went on a few trips together, had a lot of fun and shared some really sad moments, too. I'm not sure I would have made it through some of those years personally and professionally without her.
We don't cross paths much anymore, but I know we will always be friends.
Denise- Thank you for your laugh and for all the support and nurturing you gave me. I know you helped shape me into the interpreter I became and the person I am becoming still. Thank you for caring enough to force me out of my comfort zone. Thank you for knowing when to push and when to pull. I hope I can give someone half of what you gave me - I will know I have passed it on, if I can do that. Thank you.