Gratitude for refugees

migration-and-refugee-mapEritrea, Myanmar, Iraq, Senegal, Afghanistan, Syria. It’s not my Travel List (well, that too) it’s a sampling of my students. Refugees all, they came from backgrounds I cannot imagine, experiences I want to ask about but dare not touch, since the pain of these lives torn apart is not something I am qualified to handle.


So I’ll try to teach them some English. (I’m far from a professionally competent English teacher, but I give it a go.)


And they’ll teach me increased gratitude. For the places I come from, for the places I’ve been, and for the place I am now. For all the many places I can go. For what has been given to me that I did not earn, but that no one should have to.


And we’ll have fun. A whole lot of fun. Because all the refugees I’ve met here, there’s not one that I didn’t enjoy meeting. Not one I wouldn’t invite to my home, have tea with, and like to get to know better. Every single one, I’m glad they’re in my class. Every time I get a new set, I thank them for being there, and I mean it.


irc-domestic-violence-around-the-worldSure there was that one guy last year who was a bit of a misogynist dickhead, but hey, we have a whole political movement of those. (And ironically, they’d benefit the most from his signing on, since maybe he’d show them humans aren’t all that different after all. They could cut their idiocy down from anti-everyone-but-them, to just anti-women. Baby steps, with baby brains. #Trump #NotOkay) He’d come from a repressive culture that viewed women as objects, and I hope he hasn’t been seeing the side of America that agrees with him.


But for everyone else, this is still a land of opportunity, not necessarily because of upward mobility (cuz you have to already be pretty well off to have a chance at that in America) but because it’s a land of safety, with a decent amount of legal protections, and impressive economic stability. And water. And no real infectious diseases. And plentiful food. And green growing things that make you think the world is a healthy place after all.



Gotta love Oakland

The sun is out again today, and as much as I love the rain, the sun is good for bringing students to class. So that’s where I’m going to go. Too bad the xenophobes of our country aren’t coming with me, since they’d learn more than anyone. But truth be told, I like the class as it is.