Life in Colorado

Primeras Impreciones
First Impressions

When I first came here in January, I came to my aunt’s house. The first thing I saw was snow. It bewildered me. I looked to my left and to my right and everything was covered in snow. My aunt had two daughters. One had a three-month old baby and the other one was pregnant when I arrived. She gave birth in February. Of course, they had me babysitting for them and did not pay me. I stayed there mainly just looking around the area. Afterwards, there was a problem there, so I decided to leave my aunt’s house and look for work.

Buscando Trabajo
Finding Work

Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado

I went to several hotels and I was able to get work in some condos called Craigwig in Snowmass. I worked there for a while as a housekeeper until we got laid off work. While we waited for the next work season, I had a boss whose house I cleaned during my free days. We went to have coffee at a hotel called Little Nell. While we were talking, I told her that I would really like to work. She asked me if I would like to work in Little Nell, and I told her yes, “Sí pudiera, que padre.” (If I could, how cool). Little Nell was in Aspen, which is one of the nicest places in Colorado. After coffee, she told me, “Okay, let’s go.” We went to talk to her friend, Eric Calderón, who just happened to be the manager of the hotel. She inquired about the possibility of hiring me, and he said, yes, “We’re looking for people and preparing them for the work season.” He sent me an application, I filled it out, and thank God, I got the job. I worked there for eight years.

I always had great colleagues there and received no discrimination. I had a good boss. When I arried, they were looking for a manager for housekeeping but no one lasted until a wman called Emily Rodriguez from Sinaloa came. She came to work and became the housekeeping manager. She was Latina but she was extremely strict. She was very demanding, and all of us wanted her to get fired or to quit. But, it was a five-star hotel and during the eight years I worked there, she was able to maintain the hotel’s reputation. Thanks to her too, we learned a lot. We became more responsible and she would always teach us one word in English a day. We were able to talk to her since she could speak in Spanish, too.

There were several other girls who came to work as housekeepers at the hotel, but most of them didn’t make it. They said it was too hard, and that they couldn’t do it. We actually had a girl named Melinda who did last, but we had to help her. She learned Spanish and she would teach us how to speak in English. We would often play around and ask her how to say things in English. I still don’t know a lot of English up to date, and that’s one of my biggest problems. I don’t understand it. There are some occasions where I do, and others where I don’t.

Work at Little Nell was quite difficult. At first, I thought I wouldn’t be able to make it. We had to clean eight rooms for the whole day, and it was very fast paced. After a while, I got the hang of it and I was the first one to finish. I usually went to help out my colleagues. We were a good team since we took good care of each other. I made a very close friend there named Susana Riola. She was also fast to finish and we would go help out Melinda. Our manager, Emily, often said that we looked like un par de sonajas (a pair of cradles) since we were often together.

In that hotel, I learned so much such as how to be a housemaid, housekeeper, how to do the laundry and so many things. I became very useful since I knew where to find everything.

I decided to leave Little Nell because Emily’s parents were very sick with Alzheimer’s disease, so she quit and took care of them. We got a new manager and things quickly changed. I did not like the change. We couldn’t get along, and I got pregnant with my second daughter, which was a very delicate pregnancy. As a result, I left.

I was offered a job in some condos in a different area where I got the job as a manager. This new job was less intense and helped me with my pregnancy.

I was offered a job in some condos in a different area and they gave me the job as a manager, which was much less work, which helped me with my pregnancy.

Trabajo Ahora
Work Now

I’m currently working in a private school in Carbondale called Colorado Rocky Mountain School, CRMS.  The kind of work I do there is still the same. I’m almost the boss of the mop and broom. Haha, but I’m still working in cleaning. Work there is much different, though. It’s more flexible. I am in charge of certain tasks and I don’t have someone looking over my shoulder at all times. I clean the buildings there, and whenever I need to go to a doctor’s appointment or if I need to leave the school, I can. I just punch out then punch in again. In Little Nell, I would not have been able to do that.

La Familia

Mirtha and her family at her wedding

Mirtha and her family at her wedding

I got together with my husband in 1999. I had my first daughter, Ary in the December of 2001. I had my second daughter, Devany, in 2004, and my little boy, Linito, in 2008. My husband and I got married by the church in 2011. I was very nervous that day! We were running out of time, and while my husband was driving, I was in the back of the truck changing into my wedding dress. It was a wild adventure! I was very nervous, but once we got there, the priest took us in, and everything flowed smoothly. Unfortunately, my and my husband’s parents were unable to make it.

I try to be there for my children as much as I can, but it gets hard. Sometimes, I feel like I am not able to give them enough attention because of work. During winter, we go to mass and then I take them to Burger King so that they can play in the playground. When it’s summer, I let them play outside.

I really want my children to get a good education and live by the values of respect and family. I want them to grown and to study so that they can have a good profession unlike me.