Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A really trite, uncreative post. . .but there you go

Wanna know how much we've spent on car repairs this month?

$4,000. Give or take a few bucks. And it still needs a muffler!

If all of the repairs had happened at once, we probably would have chucked the car and bought a 'new' one. As it happened, they came a few at a time (or at least were discovered a few at a time). The kicker was when the compressor of the air conditioning BLEW UP and shot shrapnel throughout the air conditioning system, causing the whole thing to need to be replaced. Original quote? $2600. We were lucky, we got a deal on parts and labor (long story) and paid less than $2100 for the air conditioning and the power steering rack to be replaced.

The AC's cold, now, too.

And you know, (this is the trite part), it's easy to be bummed about spending all that money on a freakin' car. But then I go to work, and a) I'm so so so glad that I have a job I like, that is actually in the field I studied, and is flexible/part-time so I can still be with my kids a lot and b) I talk to my students. Like E., who spent the eight years when she should have been in middle school and high school in a refugee camp. You know what I did from ages 10-18? Plays, field trips, marching band, dates, dances, etc. I worried about my grades and my friends, and boys. I did not worry about whether I'd be able to get an education or be with my family.

And it's unlikely she'll ever go back to her country, where her mother still lives. Burma doesn't really welcome you back when you leave as a refugee. Her brother and sister are still in the refugee camp in Thailand, and she could technically go see them, I suppose, if she could ever save up the $1,000 plane ticket on her husband's off-and-on income.

Or there's A., who is from Somalia; he's never been to school in his life. He has four little kids, and when you ask him what he likes about living here, he says "there's peace, and a future."

So many of my students left their countries under such hard circumstances. A couple of my students have passed their citizenship tests in the last few weeks, and they are so excited. I love the picture of my student M., who's in her sixties, and the last member of her family to pass her test. She's clutching an American flag, and holding on for dear life.

So I think I need to count my blessings, and not complain about the dang car!

Edited to add: This morning John walked out to go to work, and the car stereo's gone. I'd say we've hit the trifecta of car disasters, but I worry that the car gods are lumping the repairs together and counting us two for three. . .we'd be sure to get into a huge accident.

At least we're not going into debt!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Super busy

Sorry for the lack of posts, we've had a lot going on. The new job is going well, I think. I really enjoy using my education and the students and tutors are really cool. I have a student from Burma, she's been in the U.S. a couple of years I think. She spent eight years in Thai refugee camps and speaks a little Thai. We had a short (like two sentence) exchange in Thai, that's about maxing out my abilities! Her mom lost her roof in the cyclone but is otherwise OK.

My parents were here last week and took some pictures of my kids with their awesome camera. How cute are these girls?