Monica welcomed me in her new production studio. Right after completing Muses eight weeks sewing training, she found a job as sample maker for a local brand named
. As I walked around her new working space, Monica turned on the coffee machine. Over a strong cup of coffee and as the space filled with dark and bitter aromas, Monica explained how her new work fits her life’s expectations. She also shared personal thoughts on how challenges and opportunities shaped her life’s course.
Thirty-two years ago, Monica fled Argentina and moved to Spain with her husband and her sister. She lived in the south of Spain for eighteen years. There, she had two children, a boy and girl, and managed to work in street markets where she sold Moroccan products. During that time, Monica’s mother migrated in the US. It took more than nine years for her mother to reunify her whole family. In 1999, Monica finally joined her mother and moved to Seattle Seattle with her two children, followed by her sister few years later.
“I felt free here,"
Monica remarked about her feelings upon moving to Seattle. She thought that people were less judgmental than in Spain and that she could be herself. Monica felt welcomed in Seattle. If Monica’s memories of her arrival in the US were positive, the transition to the US was however difficult for her children. At that time they were 10 and 12. Leaving their friends behind and entering a new school system was hard for them. Monica’s children eventually overcame challenges associated to their relocation; they are now feeling well integrated in United States.
Nine years after her arrival in the US, Monica’s life took an unexpected direction. When Monica moved to Seattle, she had taken a job as a housekeeper in a hotel. After almost ten years of hard work, her health eventually started to deteriorate. “
It was the hardest part of my life”
Monica said. For years, Monica could not find the time to do anything creative such as sewing, a hobby since a young age. In addition to her physically demanding job, Monica separated from her husband. One day at work, she felt a strong pain in her right arm. After several medical exams, doctors discovered a cardiac tumor in one of her
valves. Complications followed a five-hour surgical procedure.
“I almost lost my life”,
However, while in convalescence, all the pressure that Monica endured progressively relented. During her long recovery, Monica decided do things that really mattered to her, such as sewing and designing baby clothes. She created a line of baby accessories and little by little invested in fabric. It was all therapeutic for her. Even now, Monica needs her time alone with the sewing machine to focus or create. Entering Muses training program fitted her desire to perfect her sewing skills and knowledge of US apparel production standards. Monica successfully completed Muses program and is now making purses out of coffee beans bags for a small company. She works part time as she wished.
As we finish the interview, emptying our cups of coffee, Monica gives me some personal advice on how to cope with hardships. According to her, we can get use to discomfort, so it is important to listen our body’s distress or warning signals. “You can get accustomed to pain. Sometime you stop questioning and you keep going. But one day, your body will say no” Monica explained.
Monica now dreams of setting up her own business maybe in the near future. For now, she is enjoying her time in her new job. Monica has additional professional interests such as cooking or care giver jobs. Monica’s communicative energy, her warmth and vitality will surely lead her to a new fulfilling journey.
Learn more about Monica's new company P.U.N.Abags here: https://www.facebook.com/PUNAbags