My first day at KRM, or, my Spanish iz pastede on, yay.
Just for a change, instead of going through the events of the day in a linear fashion, I’ll start this entry with one of the nice things about today: Special K is really good with fresh blueberries on it. Asparagus is really good with Parkay and just a hint of orange juice on it. These are both things I learned from eating breakfast and dinner at Carol and Bill’s house. Carol’s a great cook and made a delicious dinner of asparagus, salmon, orzo rice with peas, and bread.
After breakfast, Carol took me to the office, where my very first task was to alphabetize file folders. I’m good at that, and it didn’t take long, so I was happy. Then, I was invited to go down to the first floor (our building has three floors plus a basement) to observe the English classes. I sat in each of the four classes (each at a different skill level) for varying lengths of time. All our teachers are very good, and the students were energetic and engaged. The majority of the students are either Iraqi, Cuban, or Karen (pronounced kuh-REN; an ethnic group originally from Burma, if I recall correctly, that has been in refugee camps in Thailand for some years). I interacted with some of the students and found myself gravitating toward the Cubans, because I could speak to them in Spanish. That’s the reason for the subtitle of this entry. It’s a sarcastic bit of Internet slang meaning that the noun in question is inferior in some way because it is artificial or feigned. I had a bit of an awkward time coming up with Spanish words for some things and putting sentences together, especially at first, and I code-mixed in Japanese words and had to forcibly push them out of my mind. The more I talked in Spanish, though, the more easily it came. I hope I can use it a lot more while I’m here.
The teacher of the last class invited her students to ask me questions during the last five minutes of class, and one of them asked, “What is Japan? What kind of culture is it?” I had been in language classes for over two hours at this point and was in a language-education groove, so instead of actually talking about the culture, I decided to teach the Japanese equivalent of an English sentence (“I lived in Kyoto for four months”). I could have handled that better.
After that, I looked up and printed out two articles (this one and this one) about the Vaishya caste, some members of which are coming to join us in Kentucky. That reminds me: I asked why refugees come to Louisville, and was told that it’s largely because Louisville has a fairly low cost of living and a relatively good job market. I’ve also learned that this is one of the established centers to which the arm of the federal government that handles incoming refugee cases (I think it was the State Department) sends refugees.
I had a PB&J and grapes for lunch, and then got to work calling churches in the area to invite their pastors to our lunch next Wednesday, when we’ll be presenting information about sponsoring families. I did this for about an hour. It was a little boring and a little stressful, but it got easier with every call. Some offices had closed by the time I got started (about 3 in the afternoon), so I left a lot of voice mails, but I got through to some people, collected a number of e-mail addresses, and even received a positive RSVP from one person.
I went home at about 4:15 and spent the afternoon and evening reading websites, reading a book, eating dinner, answering email, and finally getting started on typing up and compiling the Bishop’s Advisory Committee minutes from our last meeting in March. I plan on finishing them tomorrow.
Tomorrow, I get to see the apartments where many of our refugee clients live, and also move into my own apartment. Also, there is a big airshow and fireworks show this weekend that I hope to go to. I’ve got plenty to look forward to.