Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How To: Airport Pick-Up

A "How To" can be effective for many reasons... Here in Refugee Land--there's no such thing as an effective "How To." My softball coach used to say, "there's a million different situations, and you have to be ready for every one of them." I concur. Here's just ONE situation.


So, you're tasked to pick up refugees
at DFW Airport, eh?

Here's how to make it the best experience.
(From my experience)

It's easy enough, said and done, that 
you are to get papers, directions, and gate number
from your tasking "officer."
That's the easy part... 

2.) DRIVE 

I highly suggest a list of cool tunes
for the long trek. Mine?

1. "It's a Beautiful Day" - U2
2. "Lost!" - Coldplay
3. "Comes and Goes In Waves" - Greg Laswell
4. "Wake Up" - Arcade Fire
5. "Cath" - Death Cab for Cutie
6. "Other Side of the World" - KT Tunstall
7. "Let It Be" - Paul McCartney
8. "The Blower's Daughter" - Damien Rice
9. "Trouble Is a Friend" - Lenka
10. "Counting Blue Cars" - Dishwalla

Um, I decided you should make your
own playlist. Mines good for me.

This taste is not for everyone.

This is the part of the how-to
where you pick up your refugee family...

They're actually quite easy to spot.
You don't even need a sign.
Just smile at them and say 
"Hi, Welcome to America!"


The Situation:
The family, followed another family up an escalator
AWAY from the baggage claim and us (the pick-up crew).

In this situation, humor helps...
 annnd, that's the quote of the day.
So you wait.
And wait.

It's and International Airport.
They are easy for us to find,
but not necessarily easy for others...
cough, cough, the AA people.

At this point of waiting,
the refugees could be anywhere,
except with us.


It would have been a clean
10 minute pick up. But it wasn't.
10 minutes turned into 1 hour and 45 minutes.

So here are some ideas to "kill time"
whatever that means.
Which one is it?

 "Sorry, there's nothing we can do.
They could be anywhere."
Thank you.

iPhone Apps are the best!
and eating is a must.

Trying to decide on an item
takes all of 10 minutes.
Time killer.

I chose the less nutritious item
and more expensive.
Again, it's whatever. 

Not familiar with this term?
It means exactly what it says.
And for crying out loud,
its an airport. Sooo many people.
Watch your little heart out.

6.) MAKE A NEW FRIEND - kinda

The person next to you.
The flight attendant.
The person picking up their baggage.

It's limitless.
Just don't be creepy.

and finally....

Eventually they show up.
Someone saves the day,
and the refugees will make it
to the luggage claim.

Its a glorious moment where
you're ecstatic
and they're...
confused and tired.

Then, its off to their new home.
Where they begin a new chapter,
and you flip a page in your book.

What are some ways you improvise in an airport?
Do share. This would greatly help... my sanity.

Becoming American

We the people
in order to form a more 
"perfect union"....

make tests to become an 
American citizen
really hard.

Just saying.

 A refugee IS a resident of the US;
however, after enjoying their first 5 years
they are to take a test in English
to become a "permanent resident."

Something like that.

First it's simple:
- How many colors are in the American flag?
-Who is the current president of the US?
-How many states are there in the US?

Then it gets a little harder:
-What are the duties of Congress?
-Can you name two Senators from your state?
-How many terms can a president serve?

Then it gets intense:
-Can you name the 13 original states?
-What holiday was celebrated for the first time by American colonists?
-What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?

Low and behold, 
I'm here to help them,
and teach them, 
the subject I so desperately despise.

Shoot. I don't even know some of the answers,
and that makes me feel a little, umm
whats the word? Privileged?
Glad I'm American?
Not sure.


Becoming American is hard.

It entails English,
learning facts about our nation,
that not even a "home grown" American knows,
off hand
without googling. 

It takes them two-three years to
study every word (and its meaning),
that could possibly be on the exam.

Then another year or so, 
to actually understand the questions.

Perhaps I don't get it?

All I know is that I'm glad
that there's a High Priest 
who makes intercession for me.

Because, I need it
and so do those refugees.

What do you think?

Is the test too hard? -or-
Should we all just 'get over it'
and learn the stuff?