UC Davis undergraduate, 4th year
Major: Landscape Architecture
Jose and Enrique in the ranch garden
Jose grew up in Jalisco, Mexico. He has only been working on Pine Trails Ranch for the
past month, and plans to leave back home in the next three months. Via Dalia’s translations, I learned that his family lives in Mexico. He loves bull riding, motorcycles, music, and his cow! As he spoke to us, he excitedly swiped through his camera roll, showing us photos of his son with his horses, his friends riding a bull, and his cow that follows him everywhere. Despite not knowing Jose for very long, his caring attitude has manifested in so many different ways. For instance, offering us his home cooked meals for lunch, or grabbing us cold waters on hot afternoons.
In the few weeks that Jose and I have been working together, we have never had a conversation directly. He speaks exclusively Spanish, and I speak exclusively English, and that makes chatting or small talk virtually impossible without a translator. But through our language barrier, I’ve come to realize that communication goes beyond words.
Yes, words are important! But they are not essential to building meaningful relationships. And the same is true for Jose and I. We are able to relate through hand gestures, facial expressions, shared vocabulary words, and laughter. Like when we arrive on site each morning, tired and groggy, he welcomes us with a cheery “Buenos dias!” and a big grin. On random occasions, he will burst out in song, singing “Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Elizabeth!” or “Dalia, Dalia, Dalia!” Or other times, when he makes goofy faces at us from behind Enrique as he works. I’m reminded that “Laughter is the language of the soul” (Pablo Neruda), and that Jose and I don’t need to speak the same language to form a genuine connection. These moments of laughter and endearment that Dalia and I share with Jose have produced a friendship that transcends language.
Green Care Blog
Here you can find blog posts from each Green Care Lab intern. We'll be talking about our research process, the benefits of Green Care therapy, and sharing pictures of our work. Follow along with us!