reposted from April 25, 2012, by tutor, Brett Swailes
Recently an interview on NPR featured a “poly-addicted” writer. He was a one-time “dumpster-diver.” He must have recovered, I reasoned. Likely, as not, he will credit some 12-step program, and his higher power to work. As a writer, I like a new wrinkle here and there. Therefore, I was just about to turn the radio off.
Perhaps I should have done so as the unlit road along the river was crowned in the center, and wound its way snugly along one bank. Too many people have gone over the side. So, with its surface strewn with wet leaves, both the road and the radio interview got interesting. I was going too fast. Luckily, I had space ahead to slow down. Sometimes a good story will find me well over the speed limit.
After finally having beaten back the demons, this writer gave the credit to his volunteer efforts. I could scarcely believe it, as he related how first being a soup kitchen helper had started the process of renewing his screwed up life! He whispered that it was the act of giving that had made his life worth living again. How? By taking his mind off his own difficulties.
My student, Shui Zhu, and his family have helped to restore my soul. I had some depression, and had therefore sought out a volunteer effort into which I could pour myself. I had no clue of the effectiveness when I trained to be a VEP tutor, over two years ago, now.
The similarity of expressions in Chinese and English has been so humorous and frequent! For a newcomer to the United States, however, these same points are a blight to those who watch the news in English. However, the growth of the English language gives clear testament to the power of diversity and change.
Each new culture presents their best offerings to their new communities. America truly is the great melting pot—where worldwide cultures meet the resourcefulness, pragmatism, and sometimes the humor of this land of immigrants. First spurred by the American opportunity, let us welcome these newcomers—and from every mountainside, let freedom ring!