Monday, March 28, 2011

My refugee friends meet Judah

First we introduced Judah to some of my Chinese students from this past summer's trip to China. Then, a couple of weeks ago, we introduced him to Tee Reh and Soh Meh and their little girl Maria. I love beginning to bring him into our international circles! I also love being able to share this stage of parenthood with these refugee families from Myanmar. Both families that I've worked with are SO excited for us, and it's so touching.

When we first walked in to their new apartment, little Maria was sound asleep.

When she woke up she saw Isaac and I and WAILED. Can't blame her! Scary white faces speaking garbled scary language! She was intrigued by Judah, though, and wanted to touch him, just so long as scary Isaac stayed far enough away...

So cute, right?

They were very worried about Judah's bare feet and kept trying to cover them up with the blanket he was laying on despite that fact that it was warm and we were all sweating. Typical. In Indonesia they keep babies well covered with dire warnings of "masuk angin" or "the air entering".... meaning that the air will enter the kid and they'll get a cold. Notice also that we are all on the floor and no one is wearing shoes - they are deposited at the front door. They always serve us bottled water and pop when we arrive - such hospitality.

Little Maria eventually got confident enough to start crawling all over, and when music came on she stood up and started dancing and giggling - so cute!

It was interesting because one of Tee Reh's nephews and another kid were there sitting on the floor with us and watching TV. I turned around and asked the nephew was his name was, not sure if he would understand me or what his grasp on the language was. He responded in clear English that his name was Tee Reh (named after his uncle, I guess) and he was in third grade. He cheered on a soccer game in English. I turned to the friend and asked him what his name was and got a blank wide-eyed stare in a response. Little Tee Reh said, "Oh, he is a new refugee."

"How new?"

"Three days."

Wow. I was struck with the contrast. Little Tee Reh has perfect English and is smart and interactive. He has absolutely no accent, despite being here only as long as big Tee Reh has (who has great vocab but a very thick accent). It is amazing how quickly kids learn - when I first met little Tee Reh he was just like this brand new refugee kid.

I am so thankful for public school teachers that are teaching kids like Tee Reh and giving them the tools to succeed in this American society.


Hannah said...

Lol, a white girl who understands the term masuk angin. My maids used to warn me about it all the time, that's why I wasn't allowed to sit in bubble baths for too long!!

Anonymous said...

"Masuk angin" :-) LOL
Try to explain that to a doctor here in US.