After thinking long and hard (okay, about 5 minutes) about what I wanted to blog about today, I finally decided that “No, I would not like to report on the frustrating challenges of my job.” Instead, I’d like to go a much more uplifting, happier route; the route that completely reassures me time after time that I indeed love my position at Westside Health Services.
Meet my happy place (image below), also known as the women who have changed my life. Hanging out with them is easily the coolest part about my job, and has taught me so many lessons that I won’t begin to bore you with most of them. On a serious note, I feel that I’ve indirectly (of course) learned what it is to lose everything. Tears have welled up on multiple occasions, and I’ve had to actively keep myself composed while listening to some of their stories, their tragedies. Then the feeling turns to awe: how can you sit here with me, sharing such sad sad life experiences that the majority of us would never have to think about facing, and then smile at the end of our conversation and thank me for listening? And then go on to go home and take care of the family that you do have, working often more than just one full-time job and still have to think about things like learning English (among many others things), supporting your family financially, applying for citezenship, etc? I could go on and on, but long story short, these women (and many men I’ve also met) are the strongest people I think I will ever meet in my life. And here they are, taking me under their wing, teaching me about their culture, language, and lives. Above all – I think it’s their values that I cherish the most. When you lose the things many of them have lost, your values do not often lie in materialistic or even tangible things. Rather, they lie in relationships, family ties, and knowledge.
My favorite quote of the month: I was spending time with my good friend (and first official youth health promoter!), Ngo Hna (“No Na”) who is a 19 year old refugee from Burma. She is one of two refugees that attend Aquinas because someone had offered to sponser her last year (she’s only been here in the states for 2.5 yrs)… while asking about her amazing work ethic (seriously, AMAZING) and why she works so hard, she told me:
“I came here to the United States and they asked where I wanted to go to school? I said I had no money, so I cannot go. They laughed at me and said education here is free and i could not believe them!” (this was before she was enrolled at Aquinas)… she continued: “Education is free here, why wouldn’t I work so hard?”
Sigh. Coolest. Job. Ever.
PS – if you have time, check out the article that the D&C did on Ngo Hna last fall! :