Imagine. You are going to an American home as an interpreter and you barely speak any English.
What will you do?
I was studying at a university in the United States
One day, Japanese students were asked to volunteer as interpreters. My English wasn’t so good but “No problem!”
I raised my hand. I went to the house of a couple who had just retired. Their names were Ruth and John who were expecting two Japanese business men for dinner
The conversation went very smoothly………..only the first 10 minutes. After that, I was exhausted. I started getting confused. I didn’t know which language I was speaking anymore. Suddenly, I noticed, I was speaking English to the Japanese men and Japanese to Ruth and John. Eventually, those Japanese men started speaking English. And you know what? …………
Their English was better than mine!!!
Contest chair, fellow Toastmasters, and welcome guests.
I was so embarrassed. I hated myself.
But surprisingly, Ruth and John invited me to visit again. “Why? “ I asked them. “ I was a bad interpreter”
Ruth said “No problem! We liked you because you are very brave”
Ruth liked to invite people over dinner, not only her friends but also foreign students like me. She was a good cook and a wonderful hostess. But what is special about her is her great sense of humor.
When she was 70 years old, she tripped on the sidewalk and hit her face. Her face became black and blue. Do you know what it’s like for a woman to fall on her face at the age of 70 to go out?
Ruth didn’t care at all. ”No problem!”she said.
Putting on enormous fashionable sunglasses, she went
shopping . When people gathered, asking, ” What happened?” she made a pose and said, “I had a big fight with my boyfriend. This is nothing. You will be shocked to see his face!”
She is incredible, isn’t she? She never complains.
“Some people think about their problems and worry about their future too much.” she said. “You should put them all in the background. You don’t need to bring them forward and dwell on them”.
When we get injured, lose a job, or end a relationship
We know we can’t change the past but we keep thinking about it.
over and over. Like Ruth, we should push them in the background, take a step forward, and say, “No problem!”
About 12 years ago. her beloved husband, John passed away, I was worried about her so I called her to cheer her up.
It was Mother’s Day.
She was busy preparing lunch for her friends. She said she had invited mothers whose children lived far away so that they didn’t have to feel lonely on Mother’s day.
They say that there are two kinds of people in this world:
those who want to receive and those who want to give.
I was amazed by her generosity. She doesn’t have any children herself. Then I remembered.
When I was a student, I barely spoke English but she kept inviting me. I learned when you give something, you don’t expect anything in return.
Ruth has taught me to always look on the bright side of life. She didn’t see me as a lousy interpreter. She saw me as
a brave woman. She didn’t make her bruise a tragedy, she made it
a comedy. And when she invited her friends after John passed away, she changed her loneliness into an opportunity to make other people happy.
Ruth turned 90 years old this January but she is the same Ruth I’ve always known. I want to be like her someday. I still have a lot to go but no problem! I have many years until I turn 90.
Life is not full of roses.
I know I am going to face some difficulties.
But instead of being worried and being depressed, I am going to
look on the bright side of life, take a step forward and with a big smile on my face, I will say
“ No problem!”