“Serendipity. Look for something, find something else, and realize that what you’ve found is more suited to your needs than what you thought you were looking for.” Lawrence Block
Call it fate, kismet, or serendipity, but a chance encounter has led me to a wonderful opportunity to give back in a way I never imagined I would. Just recently, I was perusing through a list of local agencies looking for some volunteer opportunities that would fulfil my desire to give back to the community. I was in the process of making a list of possible sites when fate knocked literally.
One cold evening, a knock on my door changed the course of my search, and inevitably, ended it. I opened the door to find a young, handsome couple on my front doorsteps. They introduced themselves as Kyle and Maria (names have been changed to protect privacy) then proceeded to hand me a booklet on their religion. On instinct, I reached out for the booklet, but told them that I already was a Christian, belonged to a church, and was not interested in changing denominations. I also told them that the booklets they have been leaving usually gets thrown in the garbage without being read because it conflicted with our religious views. The young couple understood and offered to take the booklet back, but before they turned to leave, Kyle looked at me and shared that he and his wife recently learned their time here would be extended longer than the original date. He also shared they are learning the Hmong language in an effort to reach more of the Hmong population and to also continue their work with their current Hmong members.
Without thinking, I offered to teach him and his wife the Hmong language. I wish I could have captured that exact moment when they both processed my offer. It was a moment to remember. Perhaps they were wondering what they got themselves into because I was not the most appropriately dressed. For work, I am the epitome of professionalism, but at home I put my hair in a ponytail or bun and change into my loungewear the moment I get into my bedroom. Not exactly the image to instill confidence in my abilities, but they exuded excitement, so I must have passed inspection. Before I knew it, I had invited them inside to get to know them a little more and discuss when to have their first session. We traded contact information and I heard from Maria a week later.
We met tonight for our first session and plan to meet on a weekly basis. Both Kyle and Maria were very eager to learn and appreciative of my time. They were not embarrassed to ask questions and imitated each word, consonant or tone I threw at them. This first session has taught me that I have much to learn as well about my own language. I truly enjoyed my hour and a half with Kyle and Maria, answering their questions, teaching them the sounds of the Hmong alphabet, and getting to know them on a deeper level. I am thankful that they were brought into my life. Usually, my husband receives these visitors during the day and they leave behind literature, which I see when I come home. I believe this is what I was meant to do, to share what I know with those who have the interest and time to learn.