Duerme Con Los Angeles NULL

All summer, I waited apprehensively for the letter. Through the hot days in June and sticky days in July, I ran out front to the mailbox and returned inside empty-handed and disappointed. After what felt like years, the crisp white envelope sealed with a blue Hofstra University crest finally arrived. No, this wasn't the letter declaring my acceptance or rejection to the University ' that had come ages ago. This letter would reveal the name, address, and telephone number of the girl I'd be stuck with for the first year of my true adult life, and while I was anxious to find out who this stranger would be, I was not thrilled about having to share closer-than-close living quarters with a stranger.

In late July, the letter came. Ana Galdamez was her name, and she hailed from Flushing, Queens. I wasted no time, eager to learn whatever I could about this stranger. I picked up the phone and dialed her number. After three rings, an answering machine clicked on, and a woman's voice streamed through the receiver.

'Hola, no nos encontramos en este momento, porfavor dejenos un mensaje y le devolveremos la llamada lo mas pronto possible...'

Spanish? The girl's answering machine recording was in Spanish? Of all of the horrors I feared (smelly feet, obnoxious habits, ugly bedding'), I never considered the possibility of being paired up with someone who might not even speak English. I slammed the phone down before the beep, my heart racing and my stomach churning. My knowledge of the Spanish language extended only as far as the Taco Bell commercials I had seen on TV. This was going to be worse than I thought.

In the next few weeks, I shopped, primped, and prepared for what I hoped would be the most exciting four years of my life. I stuffed my car to the brim with frilly pink bedding, sheer white curtains, sequined pillows, and all sorts of pretty trinkets. The impending stress of choosing a major, taking tests, and buying books wasn't really a concern; I was more excited to get to school as early as possible to claim the better bed, newer dresser, and bigger closet in my new room before my mystery roommate arrived.

On move-in morning, my family and I pulled up at the school before the suggested check-in time of 8:00 AM, and I was surprised to see a line already forming outside my new dorm building. Eventually I was given keys and walked up to my new room. To my shock and horror, despite all my efforts, a girl was already in my room'ok, our room'with some of her belongings unpacked, chatting cheerfully in Spanish with her own mother. She didn't seem to have a lot of things with her. I assumed they were still in the car.

'Be nice,' my mother quietly urged, shooting me a warning glance.

Ana spoke before I could. 'You must be Cassie! I'm so excited to meet you. I'm sorry we didn't get to talk this summer, I was away for most of it! Oh my gosh, you brought so much stuff! This is my mother. I saved the good furniture and the bigger closet for you, I don't really need the space!'

So she spoke English after all. Embarrassed about my assumption, I processed her words. She said she had saved the better set of furniture for me, and she wasn't kidding'I glanced around and noticed the furniture on my empty side of the room was made of polished wood, with a brand new plastic-wrapped mattress resting on top of my bed. Her furniture looked old and shabby, her mattress stained and torn and her closet significantly smaller than mine. A tinge of guilt passed through me. I focused and tried to speak.

'Yes'Ana. Hi, I'm Cassie,' I managed, holding out my hand. 'I tried to call you this summer, but I got your machine,' I said, attempting to smile.

I took a closer look at her now, feeling more at ease. She was pretty in a simple way, dressed in solid-colored clothes with no makeup or nail polish on. I looked away and noticed a large, heavy-duty camouflage backpack stuffed into the corner of the room next to her green bed.

'What's with the army bag?' I inquired with curiosity.

'Oh, right. That. Well, I'm sort of in ROTC,' she explained cautiously. 'I wake up at four in the morning a few days a week. It's not a big deal.'

Four in the morning? My stomach flipped. 'Like, army training?' I knew my tone was offensive, but she didn't seem to notice. She smiled and nodded.

That evening, our parents left us to our own devices in our new half-earth toned, half-frilled room. It took a great amount of effort for me not to grab my mother's ankles and beg her to take me back home with her. Sure, the girl seemed nice enough, but I still wasn't ready for this.

Surprisingly, we got right to talking. She ignored my unconcealed cynicism about our living situation and immediately opened up, leaving nothing to my imagination. I learned of her love for animals, nature and all living things. She was a hopeless romantic, her family was her life, and she had heaps upon heaps of exciting plans for herself and her future. As she talked, her eyes were bright, and each sentence she spoke rang with contentment and optimism. I had less to say, but was surprised to find myself wanting to learn more about her, even after we shut the lights to go to sleep. I rested in my new bed, feeling guilty thinking of the time I wasted with my pretentious thoughts about her before we even met. I knew I had a lot to learn.

'Duerme con los angeles,' Ana whispered in her Spanish accent, sounding like she was already half-asleep.

'Huh?' I mumbled.

'Duerme con los angeles. It means 'sleep with the angels',' Ana explained, and her soothing voice wove itself into my dreams as I slept.

That year, without knowing it, Ana taught me invaluable lessons about patience and caring for others. Her own career and life goals rubbed off on me as I carefully chose a major and studied hard. She taught me to slow down, enjoy the coming years, and appreciate what I learned in my classes. Most importantly, she taught me not to give in to quick judgments as I always had before I met her.

We lived together'by choice'for the next two years. We grew and adjusted to our new home together, every day of college life bringing new challenges to each of us. No matter what changed, however, our nights ended the same way'with a whispered 'Duerme con los angeles,' followed by a peaceful night's sleep.

Submitted by Anonymous


Patience
Pass It On®
Pass It On®

  email

Your Comments
Here are some other inspiring stories you might like.
KINDNESS
WENDY T Wendy was my wife of 4 years. We dated in high school, over 30 years ago. Eight years ago, we reconnected, and fell in love all over again. I quickly became attuned to why she was so special: Her kindness. I had never met anyone before, who showed as much kindness to everybody, as Wendy had. It wasn't one...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
KINDNESS
MOTHER TERESA Mother Teresa was born in Albania and left her home country very early in life. She lived in Ireland to learn English, and ultimately went to India where she resided until her death. She was a beacon of hope for many. She did not look to caste, class, religion, skin color, or any other identity to separate...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
WISDOM
JAHSEH O There are many heros I look up to, but Jahseh Onfroy helped me through the darkest times in my life. His music did not only help me but it helped countless people. When he spoke to us, it was always about growing and becoming better than what we are. I have learned many valuable lessons from him, and I constantly...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
BEING THERE
BK SAINI SAINI My husband helped me since he knew me since 1975. He is there for me every single day. He is so kind all the time. He took care of me during any need except not when he is at the job. He comes at home if any emergency arrives. For God’s grace he was never called till today. I still remember when our second baby...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
FAMILY
PAT C Next to his faith in God, the most important thing in my Dad’s life was his family; my Mom who was the love of his life, his kids, grandkids, great grandkids, brothers, and sisters. One of the ways he made life better for all of us and left his fingerprint on our lives was through the use of what I like to call...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
LOVE
AMARA OKEKE My hero is my late mother Since 2000, she fells sick. She was diabetic, all my life I have taken care of her , I abandoned my school, my Visa and career to taken care of her , after 19 years of my sufferings she died last two Saturdays..I was actually 6 years when I started cooking, doing house chores for my...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
CARING
BETTY DRUCK I want to tell you about my grandmother,she is in her late 50's,she has spent everyday of her life caring for everyone she meets.She has had multiple surgeries and other problems of her own and yet she has given everything for her family,she has spent every christmas with my dad,even when she was in other...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
HELPING OTHERS
SAWYER A. After learning about children and families in the poverty-stricken villages of Zambia; a country in south-central Africa, Sawyer Anderson wanted to help bring clean, safe water to the villagers. At age 9, Sawyer wrote and illustrated the book, Water Works, which is published in America, Vietnam (in Vietnamese)...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
BRAVERY
HARRIET TUBMAN Harriet Tubman freed 300 slaves she was so brave that is why she is my hero
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
ACHIEVEMENT
AXANA SOLTAN Axana’s steadfast commitment to service made her not only an international voice of activism, but also a champion for the minorities. For the year of 2018-2019, Axana was selected as one of the United Nations finalists to serve as the U.S.A Youth Observer at United Nations Headquarters. The following year, Axana...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
COMPASSION
CHARLIE SCHULZ My son, Charlie, was an inspiration to many during his 19 years on this earth. When Charlie was in 5th grade, despite what we learned later was severe social anxiety, their strong sense of what was right led them to circulate petitions among their 5th grade schoolmates and write and present a statement (through...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
CARING
TISH R My former wife is an amazing individual. She works as a behavior analyst, and has been helping injured others achieve a much greater quality of life. In one of my proudest specific memories, she facilitated a transition for a man who was in an ALF, brain-injured, from wearing diapers in a wheelchair to...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
PEACE
DANA W Grieving (Fly High Dana Wilson Jr.) On March 7, 2022 my only little brother passed away at home in his bed. This has been one of the hardest things to deal with. I dont think a day goes by that i dont find myself breaking down crying. I think my eyes are puffy did alot of crying yesterday..omg this is really...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
MENTORING
MISTY WELLS 5 Years ago Misty saw a need in children in Foster Care and she took action. For the past 5 years going strong Misty started a non profit called " A Reel Future" where she takes children in Group Foster Care fishing. She has single handed taken over 3,000 foster children fishing. She is showing them...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
STRENGTH
ANDRE D On May 2, 2014 Andre' MY HUSBAND at the age of 42 suffered a massive heart attack, he was without oxygen to his brain for several minutes. It caused an Anoxic Brain Injury and other problems such as cortical blindness, seizures and he is bedridden for the rest of his life and resides in a nursing home. The...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
LORI R. In 2012 Lori, along with her then high school age daughter Shira, began to keep their vehicle filled with pet supplies to hand out to the pets living on the streets of Riverside, CA with their homeless companions. They would give out pet food, leashes, collars and water so the pets would be fed well and kept...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
Where did your values come from?

We've all had people in our lives who have made a positive impact on us. A parent or grandparent, a sibling who was there for us, or maybe even just a guy who shines shoes for a living? Whoever they are, tell us their story so they can inspire us even more.

Tell Us Your Story All Everyday Hero Stories