i could give all kinds of excuses about why it has been SO INCREDIBLY LONG since my last post. i could whine about all of the field work i have been doing. or the big changes in the company that have to be hammered out. or the fact that a couple of months ago i just about reached the end of my rope. but i know all of that will be forgiven. because today was the day. the culmination of 8 months of stress, tears, pain, love, joy, anxiety, and family. there were times for each of us when we questioned our decisions to take on this challenge. questioned, but not doubted. we all knew it would be a hard road. of course, my part in this house was the easiest. sure, i had the burden of most of the actual labor, but no matter what i will someday go back to my home country and return to a normal life. these people have never even had that to begin with (at least not what most of us would consider normal). so even if everything works out, all the fear, the processing, the torment that they may have caused harm to others, even when they reach their destination, this "normal" world will still seem like landing on another planet. sure, we are doing our best to put support systems in place. i myself am determined to keep these great kids a part of my family. but since i may not be back for a little while, i have encouraged my father and brother to plan lunch dates, send photos, and of course christmas gifts to them until i can be the one to fill that role. i know for them to call me a sister, it is pretty common in their culture. but like many americans, for me calling someone a sister is a promise. a promise to do whatever is in my power to support them for the rest of their lives. i have never actually had a sister, but i cannot imagine hoping for someones success as deeply as i wish for theirs.
i know it sucks that i cant be more specific about my work. i am trying my darnedest to relay the emotional intensity of the last few days, while keeping my bosses from making me delete this :) but the bottom line is that today, two wonderful girls stepped over a literal boundary that would severely change the rest of their lives. from today on, they will no longer have to be ashamed of who they are. and in a couple of weeks when they reach their new homes, they will be able to scream it in the streets if they feel like it. they can put it on display, use it to identify themselves. or they can keep it comfortably tucked away and only bring it out when it seems meaningful for them. its the near unlimited choices that will be the best part of their new lives.
for me, this is obviously pretty emotional. im not really a crier, i usually have a more visceral reaction. after my work had reached the finish line, i couldnt even get in a cab, because i felt so much going on in my body. a stomach clenching nervousness about their future hurdles, the chest tightening sadness of losing two members of my family (for now anyway), and of course the very surreal awareness that a tiny, relatively unskilled, obnoxious know it all like myself had a direct role in making this happen. and of course if i wasnt here, it would have been someone else, i wasnt anything irreplaceable. but the unbelievable good fortune that has followed me my entire life landed me in this place, at this time, where i could feel so proud of every person, and i'm not so humble, so yes, greatly proud of myself, to have given so much effort to make this happen. and some might say that the field work is the most challenging in certain ways. but in my opinion, the rewards are so far beyond that. i have the best life in the world. honestly. i wake up every day to a beautiful, hard working, determined, and ever growing adopted family. and even if we wanted to tear each others hair out sometimes, every day we treated each other with the respect and dignity that we all deserve.
this is not the end of the line for me though. i m not sure how long i will stay, but i have enough time ahead of me to continue to fight the good fight. the peeps back home are working as diligently as ever, and although this was a great step, there is so much more work to be done on this issue. so whatever i have left in me to give, i give it gladly. so thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the people who put their hearts so devoutly into this work. before i actually started this part of the job, i used to go around talking to people about the issue. one thing i would say is that at first you wonder if it has any difference to be doing work that indirectly helps these people, that you might never see come to fruition. but after meeting them, hearing their stories, i felt it to be incredibly presumptuous of me to like, have my name attached to this or that outcome of our work. luckily enough, i did end up out here, having a direct responsibility. and honestly, being out here might make it seem more tangible. but the knowledge that you are working for the betterment of mankind (i know it sounds a bit cheeseball) within the limits that your situation has placed on you is all that anyone could ask for. because most people dont get even nearly that far. i am lucky enough to have a lifestyle where i can throw a few books into a bag and head off to just about any place in the world, for just about any amount of time that i want. and because of that, my situation is easier than those who are trying their best to make a difference while struggling with school, multiple jobs, house payments, dependents, and the admirable trait of not wanting to leave their loved ones behind. it proves that any commitment that can be made, any devotion to make a difference, will make huge changes that you may not be able to see for yourselves firsthand, but will change others lives on such an incredible level, and it never could have happened without your assistance.
my girls on their big day!!!
so i promise to get back to semi-regular posting. it is always hard, i want to share so much, because there are so many inspiring events that occur here literally daily. but all i can really say is, sometimes i get down watching the incalculable number of things that are just evil in this world. the devastating death of the student at rutgers, the senate still having tabled the 1 billion dollar relief fund to haiti, the insanity of the teabaggers, it just seems like too much. but my father reminded me, that these crazy things go in cycles, the mccarthy trials, the internment camps of WWII. but the thing that stays steady is the community of people that have love for every fellow human being on this planet, and they will fight with an unparalleled tenacity to see justice brought to the world. and today was the proof that no matter the odds that continue to stack up, we can trust that there will be those that fight for us. unfortunalty, for some it is too late to reach them. but their cases should just make us all the more determined to stand up and demand change. most of us live in countries with true freedom, and can shout our presence down every street if that is what it takes. and for those who cannot speak, we should do it twice as loud, twice as often. it can become a roar that in the beginning many people will try to pretend isn't there. but the more of us that lend our voice, the sooner it will be that they can ignore us no loner. so seriously, scream out your window right now about an injustice that you know needs to be dealt with immediately . and tomorrow during your lunchbreak, evening at home, or few hours of respite on the weekends, make a small but tangible effort to spark a change, and a commitment to keeping that small fire alive and growing until differences have been made. it may not be life changing for you (who knows, it may), but it certainly could be for someone else down the line. when i decided to take on this specific issue, i never imagined where it would take me. two years ago i was wondering if i would ever walk again. but in that time i learned how some people have so little freedom, the would have done anything to be in my situation. so this has been the most enriching experience of my life, and if not one person remembers my part in it, it so does not matter. because i will remember it, and it will be a part of who i am for the rest of my life. so to my two best girls, i know you are fighters, and you are ready to take on the world. with just a little help you have blossomed into capable, determined women who will take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself, and even the ones they must discover for themselves. you are my sisters, my blood, and when i meet you again we will meet as peers, ready to support each other with all that we have. until then, show us all that you can do, and i will keep on fighting for the ones that will join you in the future. ganbatte! aishiteru!