I grew up with English and Spanish, like you.
They talked of Peru. Found they would have to continue the conversation at another time, they had so much to talk about. There were many parallels in their lives. They had lived in the same city, Miraflores. They had studied at the same school, San Jorge, only in different years. Also had frequented the same spots, El Parquecito Salazar, La Diagonal, D’onofrio, La Tiendecita Blanca and on and on. Many names mentioned were familiar to each other.
Turning to business Ina interrupted, Well, let me give you the information, You have to pass the state exams, written and oral. There is no curriculum to study. No classes available to take. Ina did have a number, though, Alba could call for info on dates, fees, locations. Ina explained further. You can work as interpreter and translator but not in the courts of law. Not till you pass the exams. So, added with a smile. Call me tomorrow. Ina did give her some assignments every week. And was delighted to receive positive evaluations from clients.
Alba found out that the exam, the written, was not to be given for several months. And there was the oral to follow. Meantime no steady income. No health insurance. No paid vacation. No sick leave. Independent?! Oh! Yeah. On her own. Found out how much she missed the copy machines, good typewriters. Definitely a mixed situation, sweet and sour. Like Chinese food, she smiled to herself. And would she pass…? Alba got to work to find what the exams were all about. To the pleasant man who answered the Judicial Council’s phone: Are there books I can buy to study? She asked.
Silence. Smile? Sympathetic laughter. No………….//You either know it or you don’t.
Oscar was more helpful, Go to the Hall of Justice, 6th and Bryant. Talk to the interpreters there. Watch them. Listen. See what you can learn. Go to the bookstore of Golden Gate University and buy all the bilingual dictionaries they have and study them.
She did study them. Her head ached, her stomach, but she did….Yes.
The months passed. Alba adjusted, slowly, to her new life with its unfamiliar locations, persons, the no schedule, schedule. She was getting by. The rent from a roommate she hardly ever saw as he traveled a lot. Lloyd’s…,the interpreting, translating. It all helped,
The written exam reminded her of the harshest, longest most difficult she had ever taken. It went on and on and on. The booklet with the questions, seemed to add itself pages, one for each one she filled up.
Several weeks passed and finally Alba received the letter. She had passed. The oral exam a couple of months later was in the form of a courtroom situation. Somehow the cumulative research she had done, watching, listening, reading came to her aid, rescued her when she needed it. She passed the oral also.
A year had gone by. It was nineteen-eighty. She now had her Interpreter’s certificate. She was forty-seven starting over with a new career. Making excellent money. Just reserving Wednesdays to be with Lloyd.
BERT WAS THE lawyer she was to work with that morning through Costas. They shook hands, smiled into each other’s eyes. He was charming. Not exactly her type. A bit on the chubby side. Not tall. About five nine feet. Wore glasses. But altogether rather a handsome brunette.
Bert called Costas and asked for Alba again and again. She liked working with him. He was an excellent lawyer. Soft spoken but he got his point across. They went out to dinner. He liked for them to go for rides down the coast. Their love making was delicious. Had a very nice apartment in a trendy neighborhood in San Francisco. Bert was single. No children. But his mother really, really wanted grandchildren.