reclining with a needle in my arm. Yes, it was time. My blood type is somewhat in demand, so the day- sometimes the day before- I’m able to donate again, they call.
What made this time memorable was the lady doing the sticking. Usually I spend the time in the chair with a book; this time spent it talking to her. She’s originally from Uzbekistan, and finally made it here three years ago. ‘Finally’ because she’d decided when she was a kid that she wanted to come here. Happily, her parents encouraged her in her studies and her determination, and here she is, working at the blood bank while working on her third degree(the other two earned back home and in Denmark).
Interesting conversation, both on current activities and past history(mainly hers). From the description, bad as some things about Uzbekistan are, the schools sound like they kick the ass of many, maybe most, public schools here. And, accent and all, she spoke English very properly, very correctly(more so than I do unless I really think about it). I did ask if she’s planning to earn citizenship here: answer was ‘not sure’. One of the bad things back home is the very traditional “I don’t care how many classes you had or how hard you work, I’m home so make me dinner. And get pregnant as soon as possible” attitude still largely prevailing; she was very lucky that her parents encouraged her studies the way they did; here, and she was adamant about this, “There is so much opportunity here!” Accompanied by a fair amount of scorn for people who say this is a terrible place where you can’t get ahead. But her family is back there, and she hasn’t seen them for years, and she wonders if she might be able to help change things.
Two things struck me:
First, that if she stays here, we damn well gain and Uzbekistan loses. And vice versa of course.
Second, she reminded me of that saying that, for the life of me, I can’t remember where I first read it: an American who happened to be born somewhere else(update: credit where due, probably first read that here).
Yes, I told her that. Also that I hope she does decide to become a citizen, as we damn well need people like her. She reminds me of a friend of a friend I met several years ago. This lady and her husband had immigrated from Nigeria and proceeded to succeed: he was managing a restaurant, she’d become a pediatric nurse(damn good one from what my friend said). Strong accent that took nothing away from her English, and two kids obviously smart, inquisitive and well-behaved; the kind of immigrants we WANT.