Everyday people: Guatemala native sees her life as somewhat of the American dreamGrowing up in Guatemala, Yesenia Hokanson didn’t imagine she’d one day end up in Minnesota. But for the past 10 years she’s been getting more familiar with the United States, and now sees her life in Red Wing as somewhat of the American dream.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
Growing up in Guatemala, Yesenia Hokanson didn’t imagine she’d one day end up in Minnesota.
But for the past 10 years she’s been getting more familiar with the United States, and now sees her life in Red Wing as somewhat of the American dream.
“It’s getting there,” she said, mentioning her quaint family – her husband of six years, Josh, and their busy 14-month-old son, Ryder.
“He is into everything,” Hokanson said, smiling.
The life she has in the U.S. is not anything like Hokanson pictured for herself as a child, but it’s absolutely nothing she’s disappointed with, regardless.
“You grow up and you see things different,” she said.
Hokanson attended college in Guatemala with the intent of becoming an architect. While she still appreciates interesting building designs, understanding architecture doesn’t contribute much to the job she has now.
As the manager’s assistant at Randy’s in Red Wing, Hokanson more than likely understands business more than buildings these days. She takes orders, serves customers, delegates tasks to employees and keeps peace in the restaurant on a regular basis.
“I am the one that works everywhere and does everything,” Hokanson said.
Her work at Randy’s keeps Hokanson as busy as every other aspect of her life, including her second job – which ironically came about as a result of her first. After continually serving a certain customer at Randy’s and realizing the two are both fluent in Spanish, Hokanson developed a class to teach others how to understand the language.
“It’s fun because a lot of people like the culture and the people that come to the class like Spanish,” she said.
Hokanson took some classes herself – English-speaking classes – when she first moved to the U.S., but continues to make full use of her first language as an interpreter for the CARE Clinic in Red Wing.
While interpreting is something she’d like to do more of, Hokanson is also happy with her current job at Randy’s and is developing an interest in working her way higher since there are so many aspects of the restaurant she enjoys.
“It’s fun, the schedule is flexible and the people are very nice,” she said.
Unfortunately, she doesn’t get annual opportunities to return to Guatemala and visit her family on a regular basis, but Hokanson said a trip might be in the works for next year. And choosing when to go is definitely a no-brainer.
“Hopefully winter,” she said. Even after 10 years, Hokanson’s Guatemalan roots make adjusting to Minnesota’s cold temperatures a bit of a challenge.
“Like I wish to be in Guatemala right now,” she joked as a mixture of snow and rain fell gently outside.
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