That was one of my favorite lines from Avengers, but I have, in a weird sense, felt like I adopted someone. When I first met him, I have to say I did not really warm up to him immediately. He and I are literally from two different worlds. We were like two partially deaf people trying to talk to each other, and most days, this is the case.
However, if it is anything I am learning from this job, it is that even if there is a language barrier, we can still extend love and compassion.
When he first asked me to help take him to the DMV, I thought he would have everything else taken care of. As it turned out, I could hardly catch up on my reading as I had to hold his hand throughout the whole process, translating where I could (a few times via iPhone) general to personal questions about him, and then standing in line with him for everything.
I was very uncomfortable at first, taking some guy I hardly knew to some place, but I could tell he was desperate for someone to help him. However, I am glad I did. I got to understand him a lot better through talking to him and I learned about his situation—-and apparently he enjoys K-pop (which is always a plus). If it is anything I understand and have compassion for, it is those that feel a little out of place…and I can hardly begin to imagine how this guy feels. My early days of growing up amidst a heavily Hispanic community while struggling between my identity as an American or as a Chinese, and even as an age-appropriate girl (I am still VERY tomboy at heart) are nothing compared to what he must be going through. But I will not go into details about his details.
On a side note, it is this compassion for the minorities and those that are different that I hope will carry me far as a teacher one day.
Anyway…after I learned about his situation, my whole perception of him changed. Since he is taller than me and honestly looks about my age or even older, I sometimes forget that he is still a boy at heart. However, seeing him and 16 year-old D. and 19 year-old(?) J. throw ice at each other in the kitchen, and seeing all his weird Asian kwirks/jokes, I see that he is in fact a growing boy in a world that is very different for him.
In some ways, I feel bad for him, but more than that, I feel some innate duty to take care of him and lend him help where he needs it. I could not pinpoint my feelings about him until I described it to my roommate after work yesterday. About a week ago, he whiningly called me noona (Korean for older sister) my whole shift and jokingly insisted I call him oppa (the endearing term used by younger Korean girls on older Korean men). I refused to call him anything but his name, but I do admit that I did feel some happiness in being called noona. It was that same feeling I got when I tutored my (adorably cute) little 4th-grade cousin over the summer, or when my teenage cousin started a girl-talk with me about boys (and we agreed how stupid they were…me telling her that for most guys, that does not change until they are probably 25 or so). Or how I feel when I talk about my good friends who are practically like brothers and sisters to me.
In short: he is like that little brother I never had, as I had described to Steph.
Coming from an immigrant family, I know how hard it is to be an immigrant—-it helps to be in a community with people in a similar situation, but Irvine is NOT such a place. Yeah, the boy is a little over a head taller than me and has been mistaken as my brother before (and maybe to strangers, something else). Yeah, he and I have communication issues. But as cheesy and cliche as it sounds, I believe he is in my life for a reason, just as every pleasant and unpleasant encounter of my life was and is there for a reason. If I were in his situation, I know that I would appreciate the help and compassion.
Admittedly, my greatest worry is that my helpfulness will be taken for something else by him, but as long as he understands that I have some weird, almost filial duty to take care of him and connect him to this American world as a sort of older sister figure, I can continue to help him without feeling too weird about it.
That is that.
On another note…I cannot wait until this quarter is over. So many papers to do, yet so many things I want to get into. Bike rides! My story! Beach trips! Picking up crocheting! Improving my locking! Working out! Having a lazy, make-up free day against a wall in the living room reading books. Lunch with Grandma. Road trip with friends. Nevada/Vegas weekend with friends and family (not kidding).
But for now…I am kind of sad that my 16GB USB was left in the library. I do not trust humanity to be as honest as I try to be, but maybe the person who finds it will do as I did and turn it in to the lost and found.
Pfft. Yeah, right.
At least I did not upload my story onto that, although I have thought about it. I can lose articles, even papers that I worked my butt off for (and have thankfully already turned in). However, I would be heartbroken to know if someone got their hands on something I have been crafting for over a year in head and heart. That would be one of my ultimate losses.
In a strange way…I am thankful for that :) Life rocks when you look at the bright side of all things.
…Except I do believe that I will not find my USB in the Lost and Found when I show up after Memorial Day asking about it. It is sad that I can accidentally leave my car keys WITH my USB and bike lock keys resting on my obnoxious, pink/yellow mixte bike frame during class and still find it after class, but probably will not find it after a few days in the library.
Irvine really baffles me!