Angelica in front of La Marjolaine, the little French bakery on Skillman Avenue

“If you are busy, you don’t feel it.”

Angelica Ulloa’s palate is considered an authority by the eight bakers in the back kitchen. If she tastes the dough and doesn’t find it sweet enough, they fix it. Angelica sells baked goods at La Marjolaine, the little French bakery on Skillman Avenue and 50th Street, and she wants her Woodside and Sunnyside customers to be happy. La Marjolaine could not get a better advertisement than Angelica herself. “I can’t miss it,” she recently raved about her favorite pastry as she took a quick break to talk. “Every day I have my chocolate croissant. And Sundays I take two.”

Angelica found out about the job through an employment agency on Queens Boulevard six years ago. She used to work as a babysitter and never imagined working at a bakery, but the job suited her surprisingly well. It allowed her to study English part time and to make new friends. She got to know many of her customers by name and has even gone out to dinner with some. When a regular doesn’t appear, she worries about his or her wellbeing. “We are friendly with them,” she says. “Some of them are lonely, you know.”

As her English improved, Angelica took on more hours to make ends meet in New York and to support her family back in Ecuador. She now works six days a week, up to ten hours a day. “If you are busy, you don’t feel it,” she says. Laughing, she adds that running and walking around to explore the neighborhood is one of her hobbies.

In the podcast Angelica talks about her first winter in New York eight years ago.

Listen to the interview