Moving Day

April 11, 2010

Day 14 of Unemployment

Today’s Accomplishments:

  • Visited my aunt and uncle
  • Visited the refugees and gave them a copy of the documentary they are featured in (Check it out for yourself)
  • Ate a great lunch on a lovely patio with my parents
  • Visited a friend’s storage unit to pick up some furniture she is giving me
  • Packed up the contents of my Nashville home into 1 truck, 1 SUV and 1 Uhaul trailer… my life on wheels
  • Drove the caravan back to Alabama
  • Unpacked said caravan
  • Had some dinner
  • Watched a WWII documentary
  • Began this blog post…

It’s been quite a day. I’m very tired and still have countless boxes to unpack or move to storage somewhere. I’m officially at home with my parents. This feels….interesting.

In other news, I had an interview on Friday that was quite possibly the best interview I’ve ever found myself in. If the interview had of been a date, there would have no doubt, hands down, unquestionably been a second one. The group’s mission statement and my resume’s purpose statement are almost mirror images of one another (and no, I didn’t tailor my statement of purpose to fit theirs… it just happened that way) . So what’s the catch you ask? Well, the group isn’t technically hiring right now. They are in the process of doubling the size of their staff but are in the planning phase. They are laying out what positions they need and what the roles will be. The good news is that when this happens there will likely be a spot for me. The bad news is, the time frame is anywhere from a month to a year. Regardless, I feel that I am off to a good start and am very encouraged by this.

Maybe I should sleep now – it’s been a long day!

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I work with a family of Refugees from Nepal/Bhutan. There are 15 members of the family and it’s growing. This week 4 more arrived.. here’s the skinny:

Grandma/Grandpa

Brother 1/Wife 1  – Baby on the way

Brother 2/Wife 2  –  2 kids

Brother 3/Wife 3  –  4 kids

Brother4

This week Wife 2’s Brother and his wife and 2 kids came to Nashville. Confused yet?

I was originally assigned to just Brother 3 and his wife and kids. However, there simply aren’t enough volunteers for each sub-unit of the family to have their own “mentor”  so I am working with all of them.

I’ve been helping this family since last July. I signed on to work with them for 3 months while they were getting settled in the US. I was to help them understand our culture and customs and introduce them to the many unfamiliar things they would find here.  The family had been living in a bamboo hut with dirt floors for the past 18 years in the refugee camp in Nepal. Imagine moving from there into an apartment complex with carpet, electricity, strange appliances and all kinds of new, interesting gadgets (the day I had to explain the microwave and how it magically makes a cup of water boil in seconds illustrates just one of the countless new technologies they have experienced since they arrived).

Now my commitment to the family has passed. I just spend time with them at this point because we are friends though they still need much assistance. They don’t have a vehicle which makes life next to impossible at times. Nashville has very ineffective public transportation leaving them few options for getting to work, going shopping, visiting friends in other parts of town…   I visit them on Sundays and we usually go to the grocery store. They live within walking distance of a Kroger but they like to go to the Indian market and the World Market which are a few miles away. By the time we return from our shopping trip my SUV is usually loaded down with several 40lb bags of rice, tons of vegetables (most of which I’ve never seen before), a few dozen mango juice boxes and a variety of other things.

Squid Pickle - Rose Petal Spread - White Carrots

In the past year I have learned so much from this family and their experiences. Their ability to persevere through the many uphill battles they have faced since they have arrived is inspiring. They have greatly impacted my life and helped me understand the struggles millions are facing as refugees in camps around the world. I wish I could share their story with everyone I see. I wish I could help others, other Americans, rethink their often negative opinions of immigrants.

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

~ Moulin Rouge