teaching, learning and living around the world
One of my neighbors popped by when Boston’s Snowmageddon began. She brought us an assortment of foods. Tofu, soy milk, and tangerines to be exact. Her parents were Chinese, she grew up in Vietnam, and has lived in Boston for the past 28 years.
She and Anga share similar family narratives of sending children off to grow up somewhere else to get away from war and have a better life. It’s so absolutely different from my upbringing, and yet so common for a lot of humanity.
Just today I observed a lesson on emigration. The teacher asked pupils, what are some reasons people might leave Kenya? To find employment. To get a better education.
I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone say,
“I’m leaving America to find employment.” or
“I’m leaving America to get a better education elsewhere.”
I don’t know what that feels like.
Which makes me feel like the odd man out. The privileged lady out.
Not in a way that I wish I’d experienced those things. Not at all!
But in a way that continues to push me to see life and the world through that lens too.
Not only through that lens. Also through that lens.
(Which perhaps explains why I like living in American AND like living abroad.)
I think part of why I left America after college was to try to understand a much more complicated life narrative.
To understand a context that doesn’t just automatically give you the support to work toward your dreams.
Roads, schools, jobs, mentors, stability, predictability.
After my neighbor told us a few stories about her family, she sighed and said, “It’s just impossible to control your life. You just never know what will happen.”
I disagree. I feel like I’m more in control than not.
But I also grew up without any major curve balls.
Like say… war.