Hello all! I haven’t written these past two weeks b/c a LOT has been going on! I’ve moved to Northern Virginia (or NoVA as webbies write) to live with my dad (who works for the Department of Transportation, DoT). I needed to save money and look for a teaching job in a place with (hopefully) less competition. I cried about it for a few days, and then decided to move in early November. I REALLY didn’t want to go, and STILL hope to find a teaching job in NYC for fall 2009. But I tried for 3 school terms already, and substituting was just NOT cutting it money-wise. Yes, I could have scrimped and saved, but I have a tough time with that. (It’s one of my BIG issues when I live on my own!) Also, I have loans from when I went to law school (2 terms) that are gathering interest quickly. (Some of you know this stuff already, but stay w/ me here!) Good news: I have a job interview at a Catholic school (Pre-K to 8) in DC for a long-term substitute position!
Part of the reason that I was miserable end of Oct and beginning of Nov was problems w/ my former landlady (Mrs. S) in Jackson Heights, Queens (and her family). You see, her English (even after 30 yrs in US) is so bad that she needs fam to translate for her often. I told Mrs. S that I was moving 6 weeks ahead of time, just to be nice, and said my roomie (D) would find a new lady to live with. (They spoke to me mostly b/c they thought of me as the ONE in charge of the apartment- the top floor of their house.) They refused to have D there, and said flatly that she must leave when I do! They asked about her job situation (D is looking for a job after quitting a bad one) and hinted that they didn’t trust her. Aha! So, they are prejudiced people! “We know you, not that woman,” they said more that once. I thought to myself, these people are CRAZY (not to mention inconsiderate, irrational, etc.) My mom warned me that there might be probs b/c D was white, so these (Sylheti) folks wouldn’t feel comfortable dealing ONLY with her. That just sounded CRAZY to me b/c Mrs. S has two of her US-born and raised grown kids living in the house.
After 2 long (and HIGHLY irritating) discussions, she and her fam agreed (grudgingly) to let D continue living there. I guess sometimes I think TOO well of people, and don’t anticipate them acting shady (as the teens say). My old roomie and I never had a lease with them, b/c THEY never wanted one. The next week, they offered D a lease. The weekend after that, they said D had to move out when I did- yes, again! Mrs. S came up with her youngest daughter and son to tell us VERY clearly (and coldly). D told her that she would move before December 1. I couldn’t believe how calm D was being w/ these folks, but there it was! (D even said that she “didn’t want to the ‘Ugly American’” in this situation.) She was disappointed and surprised, I could tell, but didn’t make any drama about it. D grew up in Brooklyn and on LI, so she knows how to deal w/ difficult people, my mom commented. Finally, I’m done with ALL that drama. Next time I go anywhere on my own, I’m NOT dealing with people like that- no matter what!
I made a few mistakes that I feel bad about before the move. For starters, I didn’t begin packing for the move until FRI. The only things I had packed were clothes (in a handful of suitcases)! I was VERY anxious and sad about the move, so maybe that’s why I didn’t pack too quickly. My dad came up in his BIG van on FRI evening. And he had also been having back problems recently, too. He was VERY tired after the drive; it takes between 6 and 7 hrs. There were several tolls to pay, totaling close to $25. Wow! Dad and I had to visit with my mom’s brother’s fam (close by in Elmhurst) and then his sis (where he was staying). This is how it is when you visit (Bangladeshi) relatives- they want to feed you tons of food and talk and talk. And my dad (sometimes) wants to KEEP ON talking, even when he has other things to do! (Not rare for the BD folks, you know!)
On SAT, my dad spent the morning at his sister’s. He said she was going on and on, so he didn’t come help me pack until noon. My two uncles couldn’t help out because they were tired and had to take care of other errand. I was surprised and disappointed that they didn’t make a LITTLE time for me! I had spent time with them and their families for the past 3.5 yrs, but they had other plans that day. Also, I was waiting to give away some of my old furniture to people in my ‘hood. 4 sweet, adorable Asian college guys from Woodside came to pick up my Ikea dining table and chairs on SAT. It took a few minutes to get the table out; there was a narrow kitchen entry and very steep stairway. But they were patient and thankful. When I said I was an English teacher, and going out of state, one said: “Too bad. You can teach us English.” I REALLY wished I could stay, too!
On SAT evening and SUN a.m., my dad and I had to flag down some random guys to help us clear some pieces of furniture out. (My landlady came up to the apt and said she wanted ALL of my stuff cleared out.) My dad heard two young guys from next door speaking Urdu. He asked them for some help. But when they were done, these guys refused to take any money! Shortly before we planned to go, two Mexican guys in their 30s who lived nearby came to help. They had been shopping earlier, and stopped to say “hi” on the way to their house. Even though they didn’t speak much English, they helped my dad out a LOT! They took out large bags of stuff I didn’t want. They helped my dad move my (heavy) bed frame and mattress. I gave away an Ikea chair to one of them. That shows you that there ARE some nice strangers out there! Finally, my dad and I were ready to leave on SUN late afternoon!
There are some positive things about my new area. The middle-class community houses and apartments (sorry to most of you New Yorkers) are much larger, newer, and in good condition. I sometimes wish my little Queens cousins could have bigger places to live. The people are (for the most part) polite and helpful. My dad loves his job, and is friendly with many who work with him. (We get along MUCH better than 5 years ago!) He learned how to cook a few years back, and is always on the lookout for good ingredients. He has even met some distant cousins (living in Manassas) and old friends from his college days at Dhaka University. My mom’s second cousin’s family lives very close to my dad’s (current) apt. building. Their eldest daughter in currently doing PhD in Harvard (a school with MANY NYC connections)! The younger daughter recently started high school and joined the cross-country team. It’s rare (and cool) to see desi kids in sports, right? My uncle is visiting his mother in Bangladesh now.
The people here come from ALL over the world, like NYC. I saw many people speaking Spanish, ads for Moroccan food/restaurants, and Thai restaurants (even inside a mall). My dad (whose lived over here almost a year) keeps saying that kids are disciplined and smart here, as many of their parents are affluent, scientific, and all that. I’ve met quite a few people who grew up around DC, and they all went to good colleges and have great jobs in: engineering, finance, marketing, and IT. I talked (briefly) to one young lady (also Bangladeshi-American) who is getting a masters in teaching history and works as a sub in Fairfax Co. She was a little surprised to hear that there are even some BDs teaching in NYC. There is a good chance of getting a job in this school district b/c it’s one of the largest in the country. We’ll see what happens…