All of the people that are close to me are important. Indeed, when thinking of people I could possibly talk about, I thought about all of them and they were all interesting in their own ways but, I decided to talk about a wonderful teacher that taught me in the English Language Training Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her name is Kelly Kouchi. Her major was English and one of her ambitions was to get a PhD at UNC Charlotte. Kelly has two children and she wanted to raise them perfectly. In fact I thought that she was an excellent mother. Her children were very lucky to have a mother who cared about them the way that Kelly did.
Kelly liked to listen to music especially at night. Her favorite singer is Morrissey. I can still see her sitting at her desk with a pencil behind her ear and her light brown hair falling into her face listening to Morrissey’s CD and I can still hear the sound of the man who sounded like eighties techno group. She also likes to watch snow skiing. She would get all excited like a child just before opening a present when the person she liked was performing.
Her favorite novel is anything by Jane Austen. She would say “Know one writes a better love story than Jane Austin. People say she writes for women, but men could learn a lot from her.” In addition, her favorite movie is lately, Spiderman because it is an incredible blend of contemporary art and special effects, sci-fi, fantasy and human interests. I know that it is quite a leap from Jane Austin to Spiderman, but that is like Kelly. She is so many things and she can be one way one minute and another in just a few seconds. That is one of the characteristics that I like most about her. She is unpredictable, but not in a bad way. She is always fresh and exciting.
Well, English is my second language, so it is hard for me to write and read in English. In fact, Kelly is the person who taught me to love the English so much. Since her major is English, she always took care of me and gave me some tips about how to write clearly. Obviously, I have learned a lot while I was studying in the institute. She had a way of making learning fun. She helped me to see English like a mystery. “You do know that English is one of the hardest languages to learn?” she would say. “If you can tackle it and learn it, then you are very smart.” That was a challenge for me to learn. I wanted so much to impress her that I made sure that I was going to tackle and learn it just like she said. I would work through those mysterious rules and learn that each one of them had an exception to it. One mystery solved would lead to another, and through the help of Kelly, I learned that it could be fun.
Unfortunately, after I finished the highest level in the institute, I did not get the required score in my TOEFL exam to be admitted at UNCC. This is the Test of English as a Foreign Language that I needed to pass to go there. I had dreamed of getting in because I loved Charlotte, North Carolina. The weather there is so pretty most of the year, and the people were nice and courteous to me. Kelly said that it was because North Carolina is a southern state, and that people are just friendly in the south. Definitely, I was disappointment because I didn’t know what to do. She tried to relax me after I got my score. “It is okay,” she said. “You will get much better as time goes on. There are more places to go to school out there than UNCC.” I knew that, but still I loved it there so much that I did not want to leave.
“I know that you must be disappointed with your TOEFL score, but remember, that is only a test. It is not an exact measure of what you can do with English. What you do in your classes on a daily basis is by far more important”
“Yes, you are right. But where should I go now?”
“Don’t worry. We’ll find the university that will accept you”
After a while, we found the university which accepted me in Cookeville, Tennessee. It is called Tennessee Tech University. I was really happy and so excited to go there. Then, I bought for her a perfume that smelled so nice that I wanted someone as kind as her to have it.
“Thank you very much for the perfume. It smells lovely! That was very sweet of you. Please let me know what is going on, I will help you as much as I can,” she said and I knew that she meant what she said
I went to Tennessee and everything was going well. I met lots of people and I made some friends. Tennessee is another southern state like North Carolina. It is not as pretty. I like that fact that part of North Carolina was on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. I like to visit and hear the waves crashing. Hearing them relaxes me. She called me in the weekend to ask me how it is going with me. I love to hear from her because when I hear her voice on the phone, it is like going back to Charlotte, North Carolina. Once in a while, I come back to Charlotte to visit Kelly and my friends who were with me in the institute. I just love them so much. It is nice when you make friends that you know will always be there for you. They just love to hear about my life at Tennessee Tech and I love to hear about what their lives are like. Kelly is always excited to tell me about her children and what they have been doing. They are involved in many things and they are good at the things that they do. Kelly is still trying to be a really good mother to them. Hopefully, we will be in touch forever. I think that it is so sad when friends move away from each other and they end up never seeing them or hearing from them again. Friends are so important in life. Without them, life wouldn’t be the same.
That is a trait that I have. I love people and appreciate them for the contributions that they make to my life. My friend Kelly is a good example. She took the time from her busy life to teach me and others like me English so that we can be successful here in America. She knows that everyone who lives here will need to learn English so that they can go to school, go to the store, read the signs on the road, and any other place where you would have to talk to someone. Kelly actually cared about my learning, and now that I am not her student anymore, she still cares about me and what happens to me. That is what a true friend does. They never quit caring about you.
Kelly cared about all of her students. She took the same care with them that she took with me. Sometimes she would invite everyone in the class over to her house. We would all bring food and after we ate and talked for a long time, we would watch movies and practice keeping up with the language. It would make Kelly so happy when she would see us having a good time and feeling comfortable. She would say, “I know that you miss your countries and that you are far away from home, but you will always have a home at my house.”
Kelly helped me learn a different language, but she did much more than that. She made me feel welcome in a new country. She helped me with my education, and more important than anything, she became a true friend. I will always be grateful to her and love her for what she has done for me and many others. There are not many people out there who care. It seems like that is something that you do not hear about anymore. Most people just think of themselves and they only like you for what you can do for them. As soon as you need them, they are gone because it would mean that they would have to be a giving person. That is one reason I’m glad that I met Kelly. She showed me that there are still people out there who are real friends.