The family needed to go back to the Uptown Clinic today in order to get some more immunization shots, so we volunteered to take them. The clinic wasn’t too busy which was a plus seeing as the two little rascals couldn’t sit still. We started off by getting the parents their shots first, which didn’t take to long. They had an Iraqi translator there who offered to translate but we explained to him that I would be taking on those duties today. According to the mother they didn’t have a translator there the last time they went which made things sort of difficult. The staff working in the adult section was very nice and helpful, which is a lot more than I can say for the ones in the children’s section. The ladies there were extremely slow and a bit rude. The evil lady who gave the kids a shot was very unprofessional and mean towards the kids. She had no idea how to deal with children, and at one point she yelled at the three year old girl and told her “your gonna have a hard time in life if you keep crying.” I was taken aback my her insensitivity, so of course I had to chime in and let her know, albeit politely as I held back my frustration, that she’s a three year old girl and of course she’s going to cry and squirm when a lady grinch tries to stick a needle in her thigh. Not only was the lady rude but she also ended up bending the needle in the girl’s thigh so she started to bruise. I was pretty upset by that but I held it all in because I didn’t want her to take it out on our refugee family next time they show up without us.
The trip took about 3 hours, but luckily I made it just in time for my first class. The parents explained to me that one of their relatives told them that they once received a free child car seat from WIC, so I asked one of the nicer ladies about it before we left. Unfortunately they said they haven’t received shipments of car seats for about a year. Despite our horrid encounter with an obese cruella deville, it ended up being a good trip and we had some pleasant conversations with the family.
This past Tuesday, Colleen and I headed back to our families house. It was really exciting this week because both the parents are off work for spring break and were able to be at home with us this time. The mother made us a huge dinner since she had extra time and everything was more than delicious. We had the usual coffee, which I am not sure what she does to it but it tastes way better than normal coffee, and we also had these delicious potato roll things and noodles with veggies and some meat in it. It was all so good but it seemed like we had a never ending bowl becuase no matter how much we ate there always seemed to be a full helping left.
After we ate the delicious meal we helped the kids with their homework again while their father played the electric guitar in the background. It was a nice background noise to hear and the dad is actually pretty good at playing songs, we were able to recognize a few. This time I was helping the older boy with his homework and it was long division with decimals, my head almost exploded I had no idea how to do it so we had to look up directions online but we finally figured it out. Afterwards we played bankopoly again and of course the boys did excellent. Next week we are going to try and bring a different game if we can find one that is cheap.
On our visit this Sunday, Angelliza (the 3 year old daughter) FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY warmed up to Shuo and I. We found a lego kit and started building on our own and Angelliza was finally enticed to come participate. This has definitely been a long time coming… It has definitely been difficult for us to connect with her, which I think mostly has to do with the fact that she is so young. Playing with her was really fun and I hope when we visit again next week she will remember who we are.
Also, we did not get to visit with Bali Raj because he apparently is in Indiana? Luckily, Roshani and Angelliza were still at the apartment. We asked Roshani why Bali Raj was in Indiana but she either: 1. didn’t actually know, or 2. she didn’t know how to explain it to us.
As per usual, we watched part of a Nepali film, but beforehand we watched “Night at the Museum” with Ben Stiller. Roshani told us that they had checked it out from the library (using the library cards that we helped them get!).
Shuo also brought a map of Chicago over and we pointed out where we live, go to school, work, etc.
Roshani talked a little more about life in Nepal too. There were two things she said that I thought were very interesting:
1. In Nepal, you should not make eye contact. Roshani compared it to America where eye contact not only is appropriate, it is considered rude to not make eye contact.
2. Nepali police are corrupt. In the Nepali film we were watching there was a scene where someone was hit by a car and killed. Roshani said that car accidents happen all the time in Nepal. She also said that if you kill someone while driving, all you have to do is give the police money and the problem will go away.
This post is a little late, but nevertheless! Our visit last weekend was cut a little short for me because I had to leave for about an hour to attend an Annual Budget Request Hearing for my club. I had to leave after about 45 minutes, but then came back for the last hour or so which was odd. What I did think was nice though was the fact that for the hour I was gone Shuo was alone with the family. We had talked about me leaving beforehand, but I still thought it was cool for us to be comfortable enough to stay with the family on our own.
In general, I think watching Bollywood movies has become part of our regular visiting routine. Although we rarely finish a full movie (because they are about 3 hours each) we seem to watch at least part of one every Sunday.
We arrived around 6:00 on a Tuesday evening to be greeted by a household of people. The two boys were waiting at the entrance of the door, with their mother and father behind them, to greet us with smiles. We promptly finished the boy’s homework and were off to starting another game of bankopoloy. This week, the game went by much quicker than last week as the boys had learned the rules of the game and were eager to buy houses for their property. They thought it was so exciting each time a new piece rolled around the corner of the board to land only spots away from the most expensive piece of property. In the middle of the game, the mother began to bring our food from the kitchen. First, the deliciously brewed coffee that she serves everyone. Macrina and I just can’t seem to get enough of it. It is almost like she puts in a special flavored cream and then drops a chocolate inside to melt at the bottom. Whatever her secret is, I am completely hooked. Next, a large plate completely full of a fried food that closely resembled an egg roll, there had to be at least 15. This hearty snack appeared to be stuffed with meat and potatoes, wrapped in a sort of phyllo-dough and fried to the perfect crisp. She served it with a mild dipping sauce that tasted similar to a sweet and sour sauce. As our mouths watered with enjoyment, she proceeds to bring out two more large bowls filled with some sort of noodle entrée. Although she had prepared noodle dishes for us in the past, this one was different, and my personal favorite. It had noodles, lettuce, onion, and a mild sauces on top that was so different than any flavor I had ever experienced. We kept telling the boys how delicious their food was and they couldn’t have been any less interested-almost like a “yeah, we know. We eat it all the time” response. The mother spent some time sitting at the table with us to talk while we played the game with the boys and the father relaxed on the couch and entertained us by playing songs on his red electric guitar. For the next hour while we finished our game, Macrina and I proceeded to stuff our faces with Burmese deliciousness and tried to some sort of dent in the huge amount of food that she served us. In the end, our stomachs were stuffed and it looked as though we hadn’t even touched our food!
This Sunday at the G’s, K, S, and I caught up on our last two weeks. K is training to be a nurse’s aid (!!!), which will take a month and will hopefully supply him with a well-paid position at any number of facilities in Roger’s Park. One of the family’s friends came over, and told me that he easily found a job in the same position after completing the program. This is incredible news, as K is very well-educated and definitely capable of success if given the opportunity. However, we are going job searching for a few hours tomorrow, and hopefully K will be able to find a night job until he finds a better position. Since he is such a good cook, I’ve looked at a few different places on Craigslist who are hiring line cooks. He had worked in restaurants in Nepal and enjoys the work.
S begins her new job at Wrigley Field on Friday, but unfortunately the pants she has rented for the position are much too long and too wide in the thighs. I offered to drive the family to a nearby discount store to try and find a new pair, but unfortunately Salvation Army was closed on Sunday. I am going to pick her up at 2:30 tomorrow (before my 4pm meeting with K) and we’re going to go to a few stores. Hopefully we’ll be able to find something!
J has been getting used to our visits, and usually greets us with a shriek before trying to steal our apple slices. She is amazing. And so cute!
K spent the majority of our time together asking me if I knew of certain Indian foods. He then put on “Karate Kid” to entertain S and I as he made me a puffy rice/veggie puff/mustard seed oil/peppered peas/potato dish that was so intensely spicy I thought my stomach would implode. The family loves watching Erin and I eat spicy foods – I can handle most of it, but sometimes I regret it later…