You are here

January 2020 - Laleña Dolby

One would be hard-pressed to find a person more fun to be around than Laleña. Warm and compassionate, her presence infuses the classroom with positivity, making the process of learning Spanish more enjoyable for everyone. Traveling to Tierra twice-weekly from the farm where she and her family grow rootstock and seedlings for fruit trees, one of her primary motivations in studying Spanish is to be able to communicate and connect with the Spanish-speaking crew who work on the farm. This deep desire to gain fluidity in Spanish has fueled a serious dedication to her studies, yielding impressive progress in the year she’s studied at Tierra. We are honored to have Laleña as part of our community at Tierra and look forward to continuing to see her surpass her goals and delight in the language.

Name: Laleña Dolby
Occupation:  Family Farmer
Time Studying at Tierra: 1 year

1) Why are you studying Spanish?

"When I started college my dad told me he would give me $10,000 if I majored in Spanish. He had a hunch I’d need it someday. As an aspiring—but pretty unsuccessful—teen rebel, I achieved a near-minor in Spanish instead. Dad kept his ten grand. Fast forward 25 years and I’ve returned to my family’s farm where I want nothing more than to be able to speak fluently with our Spanish speaking crew. Dad was right!"

2) What is your favorite part about your experience here at Tierra?

"The learning magic that happens weekly as a result of our small class size and the guidance of our gentle and kind teacher, Laura, who is fiercely committed to our learning. As well, I admire the ethos of the center and the family who founded and run Tierra. Every person who walks through Tierra’s doors whether a student, teacher or center director values learning, and understands that curiosity and discovery about a culture and language beyond one's own has the power to make better humans."

3) Can you tell us of a time you have been able to use what you have learned studying here?

"I am now able to communicate quite well with our Spanish speaking crew. From helping a new employee complete orientation paperwork to engaging in break-room chit chat, I try my best to communicate with our crew in their native language. There’s a lot of laughter and learning on both sides. My exploration of our team’s language and culture has bonded us in a new way and contributed positively to the farm’s morale. This is why I signed up for Spanish courses at Tierra, and I’m so happy to report that after only one year, it is working!

Beyond ​this, earlier this year I had the somber honor of using my Spanish in an emergency situation with a total stranger who had collapsed near me at the gym, and was potentially in cardiac arrest. I was the only person onsite who spoke any Spanish, including the first responders. I was able to work with the victim and translate for the first responders. How could it be that after only a couple of months of Spanish classes at Tierra that I had enough of the language inside of me to navigate a crisis situation? It was like super human strength, but with a foreign language, and it helped me help another person in time of great need. (End note: The victim is totally fine now!)"

¡Felicidades Laleña!