So I've gone from the role of Teacher to Web Developer/ Programmer/ Online Content Manager seemingly overnight. I'm obviously oozing mad skills and talent that apparently, I didn't even know I had. Last week marked the end of a hectic month (I teach month-long courses) and the end of the academic/work year at the institute. But The Boss had other things in mind for me and following a couple of days of training, I found myself being thrown in the deep end, followed by a whole lot of oh-shits.
On the other end of the spectrum that is my life... it's that time of the year again when I have to explain to my 6 year old second cousin Caitlin why she has a huge Christmas tree in her lounge and we don't; or why our cousin Layla's blonde hair and blue eyes doesn't automatically mean that she's Christian; or why Uncle Johnny's shoes are in the street while he's passed out under the kitchen table again. Hey, I never said my family is perfect.
And it's the same answer every year... just because we are different and we have different beliefs and practices, it doesn't mean that we don't love each other any less. What it does mean is that we love each other enough to respect the differences and accept each other for who we are.
So I come from a family that is more than just diverse, on a scale and magnitude that is both intimidating and overwhelming to many pure breeds. Try explaining those family dynamics to a potential mate from the normal gene pool - never mind the traditional folk - and things are complicated by default. Where I come from, normal just doesn't fly.
In any case, working with foreign nationals on a daily basis has made me more than just grateful for my fruit-salad-family. For one, I've taken it to heart that at least I have a family, since a staggering number of my students are displaced from their families and a solid 95% of them have various members of their immediate families scattered all over the world. Most of them have fled from wars or political, social or economic instability.
It's not uncommon to find a student who for instance, has one parent in Australia and the other parent in London or New York, and a sibling in Canada or Portugal and they are here either all by their lonesome or with an aunt or uncle. Most of them are Professionals and some even come from privledged backgrounds, but they're all equally lonely and yearning for a piece of home.
For many of us, this is something that we tend to take for granted. And it's only when I come across someone who is without their family that I realise how grateful I am for mine. We may not share the same culture, practices or beliefs, but we can still appreciate each other for who we are. And that is what Caitlin is going to have to learn one day.
I'd like to wish my Christian family, friends, blogger friends and readers a happy Christmas. And to everyone else, have a great festive season!