Note: This article was written by Kathe Solares, the very first Lingo Live coach and our CEO's inspiration for Lingo Live. Please excuse any grammatical errors as English is not Kathe's first l anguage.
So everything starts like this:
An email from a girl asking for lessons for her boyfriend on
On Jan 25th, 2011, at 9:14 am:
I wanted to get Spanish lessons for my boyfriend. What is your hourly rate, do you have any package deals, and where do you conduct lessons?
I live in Guatemala City, Guatemala Central America. I worked for 7 years for the National Defense Ministry, I got pregnant at 27, I quit and make myself a mama. 3 years later I had 2 kids Tristan and Vicky, a terrible marriage, an empty wallet and a bottle of water in the fridge. At that moment I knew that I had to do something for my little ones. I have diverse University studies all of them pointing/oriented to human health and psychology irrelevant fields in my country.
Let’s talk about my country; is named “the country of the Eternal Spring”, always green, beautiful flowers, all vegetables and fruits are available all year long! BUT there’s no job, when you are older than 30 and you are a mom and you are not on administrative careers, or a doctor or a lawyer you are fried. There’s a lot of restrictions. No more 35 years old allowed, single, with no strings attached.
I heard about “online” classes and there was a lot of people interested in this system, more modern, cheaper and as good as to be in a classroom. Then I did a post on Craigslist “learn spanish with a native spanish speaker teacher”. I didn’t know if this will be a good idea, I didn't even had a clue how to get the payments, not even how much to charge!. All that I knew at that moment was that I had lost my father a few month ago that I was out of help with my kids and that I only had a bottle of water in the fridge.
5 students came, I had the honor to meet three of them in person, they traveled to Guatemala and we shared time together was awesome!. But this was only the beginning of a story that seems like a fairy tail.
Back to the beginning of this letter, that January 25th of 2011, was the beginning of one of the biggest stories of my life. I didn’t know at that moment but on January 26th I found an e-mail that said:
On Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 2:22 PM:
Hi Katherine - yes I will call you on Skype at 8pm tonight. Thanks and look forward to speaking with you!
In effect, Tyler wasn’t convinced about the lessons online were a good idea, there isn’t a whiteboard, there isn’t a desk, and it seemed like a very casual environment, several times he said: “I don’t get how will this work to help with my spanish” However he was determined and attended all his lessons 2 or 3 times per week, he was preparing himself for a trip to Cuba. Like a good teacher I researched cuban slang to enrich his cuban vocabulary but in the site that I found these list of local words was missed the most important one “ la guagua”. When Tyler ask What is the road to get to this city? People was saying “siga la guagua, siga la guagua”. Poor Tyler! I did not even know what the “guagua” was. --- The student taught the teacher!
Tyler place in my hands all his family! First I met uncle Randy, then Lyn Muse, his mom, his sister Bitty, later his uncles Mike and Thomas, his cousins Elizabeth and Lauren have been a pleasure to work with them and we still are going with some of them!
A couple of years later, after his experience learning Spanish with me, Tyler was starting an “online language school.” Time to lingo was born, some months later will change into the actual Lingo Live. Convinced that this was a practical system and functional, zero complications, from your home, your office, after the gym, wearing pyjamas, I describe it like: “where ever you want, as you want, with who you want and at the time that you want”.
Three years later Ty was getting married, seem the perfect moment to meet each other in person. We had a big blockage “american visa.” As everyone knows to get one is like winning the lottery. Thousand people get a “no.” I had been one of them once. But mom Lyn and Uncle Randy had plans they wanted to surprise Tyler, finally I applied and a miracle happened. I got my visa but we hide this information from Tyler.
On Thursday Oct, 16th 2014 during a dinner before the wedding with a tray in my hand with a margarita on it I did my entrance playing a waitress, ready to offer a margarita to Tyler, but unfortunately his glass was full. We didn’t have another plan so speaking in spanish I said: “¿Querés otra margarita?” Ty’s surprise was big, he recognized me immediately and I can say that was one of the biggest, important, special and unforgettable moments of my life. No one have made feel that special, that loved, that awaited.
We’ll celebrate 7 years of our first virtual met on January 2017, what can I say? Tyler and all his family came into my life to stay and to be considered part of my extended family.
I try to create and build an special relationship with every student, each one of my “kids” as I like to call them even when they have 65 are part of my life, part of my heart, part of my day to day. My students don’t represent just a job or a source of income they and their families come into my house in a virtual mode they know my family I know them and we know our stories, we are close, we are friends supporting each other in the different phases of our lives, work, family, friends, etc. Is not only about to teach a language, is about to show our culture, our history, our warm, is about to create bonds that can endure for years or for all life long.
I am blessed, I do what I love to do for work, lot’s of fun, lot’s of real friends and I hope to meet more of my student in person and go beyond than a “verb”, beyond having a virtual experience.