Milena Torres has been a part of the AOC Family for just shy of a year and a half. She has made herself right at home as one of our Work Comp Specialists. She also serves as the Spanish Interpreter/Translator for the clinic, the native language of Colombia, which is Milena’s home country. Milena left Bogota, Colombia when she was 18 for a short visit to see her aunt in Mobile. Now, 12 years later, Milena calls Alabama her home and is in the process of becoming a US Citizen. Milena’s first impression of the United States came from the movies and the occasional lesson in World History. Surprisingly enough, our beautiful country met her expectations, “It was very clean and organized,” she stated, “and green, I love all the trees”. She barely knew the language, and had only been taught basic English grammar in school. “It was very confusing,” she admits, “how one word can have four different meanings.” Now fluent in English, Milena plays a vital role in helping our Spanish-speaking patients receive the most appropriate care. I asked Milena what she loved most about being here, she said, “The independence. I love that I can just get in my car and go wherever I want to go.” Milena explained to me that women in Bogota have a similar lifestyle to what we would call the 1950s woman…or “Mrs. Cleaver“. The progressive lifestyle that Milena lives in the US would be considered slightly radical compared to the women of her home country.
Despite what she loves most about living in the US, Milena admits that there are several things that she misses in Bogota, “My brother,” she said, “I miss him very much…and the food.” A cuisine that consists of a lot of rice and beans, Milena’s favorite dish includes the two staples along with eggs and avocado. Milena looks forward to the day that her brother can come visit; she said that she would probably take him to visit Gulf Shores first, “because he loves the beach, and it would be different than the big city that he is used to.” I asked Milena where she would take me if I were visiting Colombia, and she told me of a beautiful city in north Colombia called Cartagena (Pronounced Carta – Hena). It’s a colorful coastal city, with crystal clear water and lots of culture.
Milena stays very involved with AOC by volunteering her time at events such as the Azalea Trail Run, Chili Cook-Off, Shrimp Cook-Off, and many others. She also works with the Mobile Claims Association, serving as their secretary since 2004. As I mentioned before, Milena has begun the process of becoming a US citizen. She recently sent her Greencard renewal and once it is approved, she will be allowed to apply for citizenship. I am sure that you will join me in wishing Milena good luck in this endeavor, as we are very proud to have her as a part of our family.
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