How to train your dragon= great success. One of my favorite things about life right now is my job. Alex works as the Logan Refugee Specialist, a perfect fit for him since he gets along better with foreigners than anyone I've ever seen, and also speaks Cambodian and Thai. He looks after over a hundred families in the area who have relocated from their native countries, with no English skills, jobs, homes, etc he pretty much is their go-to person for everyday things that are second-nature to us, but completely foreign to them. I volunteered in some of his English classes he teachers, which led into working with the English Language Center of Cache Valley. I work twice a week in the refugee pre-school, with children and their mothers from Burma who have little to no English skills. Then I also do home visits and tutoring with several of the families. We are focusing on learning the alphabet to get them ready for kindergarten next fall. My translator, Hser Doh, or Chapter as we like to call him, is a Karen refugee himself from Burma. He is about my age, and has an incredible story of how he was driven from his village and separated from his parents in the jungle at the age of 12. He has acclimated very well into American culture, and it astounds me every time I think about what has been through and how it must be for him, the only member of his family that came to America from the refugee camps.
Anyway, as part of our English learning incentive program, we got to take Soe Maya's entire family to the movies after she learned the alphabet. It proved very successful, as it drew in the parents to participate in learning English, and her brothers were so darling and proud of her when she identified all the letters to me after months of studying together. None of them have ever been to the movie theater before. On the way there, one of them asked Alex, "so the screen is really big? like five feet?" and we got to go to a 3D showing of How to train your dragon, and it was sooo fun to look down the row at all their grinning faces and watch them reach out and try to touch the things popping out of the screen. The movie was very cute, and even though I had to pass on the popcorn, it was fun to watch them all have their first movie experience. Sometimes it is easy to take for granted the "normal" aspects of our culture, and that's what I appreciate most about spending time with these families. It reminds me how much we are blessed with in our country, and their example of gratitude and generosity when they have almost nothing is heart-wrenching and humbling. I was happy to be able to be apart of their special outing today. Alex and I are so lucky to have our wonderful jobs working with the refugees and to build friendships with such loving people.