“AshLEYNE!” my OU cousin said, trying to get my attention.
“EsTER!” I replied, emphasizing the second syllable of her name, like she did mine.
Ester was an exchange student from Bolivia this semester and was also my OU cousin (not to be confused with my Chinese OU cousin from a couple years ago, also named Esther). Ester is the oldest of four girls, and it was the first time she had been away from her home for such an extended period of time. It was fun watching her grow during her time in Norman, working her way through culture shock, homesickness, and language barriers–all things that I experienced during my semester abroad in China. Sometimes she would ask me questions about the confusing English language for homework assignments.
“What is the meaning of this idiom–I’ve got your back?”
“It means… that I’ll be there for you, especially in the hard times, that I’ll stand behind you and support you no matter what. Like for example, I’ve got your back, Ester.”
She smiled and laughed, “Yeah, okay, I’ve got your back too, Ashlynne.”
Even though Spanish was not my target language, I enjoyed every moment with Ester, even the times when she made fun of my broken attempts at my 6th-grade-level Spanish. She stayed with my family for a weekend in Texas (my parents spoiled her so much – even more than me!), and on the drive back to Norman she promised that if I came to Bolivia, she and her family would host me and take care of me (and hopefully translate!). On that word, I think now I’ll have to go to Bolivia someday. I would have never imagined going to the middle of South America, but now that I am connected to an OU cousin there, I have a reason to go!