Not so different.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I started school on Tuesday, and I'll just be honest: it's been brutal. The thought has crossed my mind more than once: "I think I should just quit." It started with a chaotic orientation where we left with more questions than answers, and still not knowing my complete schedule is pretty frustrating. They weren't kidding when they said this would be our most demanding semester, but somehow I didn't really think that meant clinicals every Friday night. So I'm realizing there are some things I need to cut out of my life temporarily in order to stay sane.

Yesterday was very interesting. We had a long morning orientation for my community health class, then we headed out in pairs to meet our assigned refugee family who we'll be visiting for the next six weeks. It all sounded right up my alley. I love this kind of thing. The married couple assigned to me are just 18 and 19 years old from Bhutan and moved here a few weeks ago from a refugee camp where they've spent most of their lives. As I read about them in their social work chart, I just kept thinking, "I can't even imagine." And I also kept reading, "No English" which happened to be underlined several times. Uh oh.

So we arrived and I knocked on their door. A little man (maybe five feet?) opened the door and just looked at me with a blank stare as I introduced myself.

"English?" I asked.

Blank stare.
Then just as suddenly as he'd opened the door, he bolted past us, walking fast and purposefully outside.

"Where is he going?!" we asked each other.
We stood there very confused.
A few minutes later, he returned with a broad smile across his face, and his grown son walking behind him. The son seemed to understand a little more than his father, but it was hard to tell. We stood in the doorway pantomiming awkwardly, not sure how to explain that we'd be back next week.

So this story doesn't really have a point, except to say that I'm sure he felt a little like I've been feeling the last couple days as I begin this semester: confused, overwhelmed, like someone is speaking a foreign language to me.

But probably my favorite part of the visit was what I saw when his apartment door was standing wide open. We looked inside out of curiosity and saw a couple couches, a small kitchen table, a Chinese-style lantern hanging from the fan, and... wait for it... a life-size Justin Bieber poster. I'm not sure what to make of that, except that maybe we're not as different as we think.

They're Hindu. I'm Christian.
They speak Nepali and Bhutanese. I speak English.
They are 5 feet tall. I am 5'5".
They like Justin Bieber. I like Justin Bieber.

Do I show up next week with "Bieber fever" shirts?! :)

1 comment:

  1. I know the stomach feeling....and I also know the "I wanna quit" feeling as well. Just from what you have talked about so far...there is definitely a story behind your assignment. God has SO put you there, and even if Justin is the only connection you have at this point, (and what an interesting connection) I have no doubt you will impact this family with your amazing spirit. I can't wait to hear all about it!


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