The “big day” was this past Friday, the court date for the preliminary hearing for my foreclosure mediation. And it was just a lot of build up for nothing. It got postponed until June 17. Some guy who was supposed to be there wasn’t and the judge wasn’t happy…ultimately I think it’s going to look good for me.
My friend Sarah went along with me. She’s had a lot of experience with being in court fighting her own battles regarding properties so I was happy when she told me afterwards how proud she was of me at how I handled myself talking to the judge. Because I was really nervous. But once I was standing there, this confidence swept over me and I felt strong. I felt smart and competent and able to stand up for myself. So when this next date comes along in June I will be nowhere near as anxious. I will be ready to answer the judge’s questions about my intentions and rights to the property, and eager to hear what the bank has to offer me in mediation.
Another thing that happened this week that bears mentioning is that I had the good fortune to meet a young lady from Tajikistan. She is a martial arts student of my friend Chee here in Kona who teaches Mike’s system and came to lunch with us. We had just finished participating in World Tai Chi and Qigong Day which is also known as the Day of Peace, where practitioners share their arts in a live streaming network from around the world. The one in 2013 I attended was gut-wrenching; following a form Mike used to teach had me sobbing the entire time. And there were still a few tears this year too. It just brings up so many memories.
But this young woman’s story completely took me by surprise, and my own problems faded into the background as I listened to her. When I first was introduced I said, wow, I’m quite sure I’ve never met anyone from Tajikistan. She smiled knowingly and told me, at the customs desk arriving in the US the officer looked at my passport with great surprise as well, having never seen one. At such a young age, she is only 19, she was able to escape her country, her family, and a life of poverty and come to the United States. She spoke wonderful English, which she said she taught herself after chancing upon a book (she told us she was allowed only one book to learn from in her school). She managed to get herself accepted to an exchange program in 2012 she found out about by chancing upon a poster about it somewhere, and came to live with a family here in Hawaii. She went back to her very small and very poor town afterwards but by then, she said her mind was open to the possibilities for her. So instead of following her family’s wishes into a forced, arranged marriage, she escaped and was able to come back, thanks to support from our community. She will be studying here at our local college and then moving on to further studies in nursing in the Chicago area. She says she will probably never go back to her home town again; she explained how angry her family is, and shamed, that she has done this, and will never welcome her back. But she didn’t seem bothered by it, explaining how her mother died when she was small, and her father and stepmother treated her like dirt. She also talked for awhile about the cultural shock coming here. She just has no idea this world even existed, or that there were opportunities available for women. She intends to write a book about her experience and try to educate the world about the deplorable conditions that still exist, especially for women, in her home country.
I know we are encouraged not to post links in our blogs but I thought for this case, people might be interested to read a little more. Here is a link to an article about her in our local paper during the time our community was working towards getting her back http://westhawaiitoday.com/news/back-us-community-hopes-bring-tajik-student-here-again-studies and here is a link to an article about her in the Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jan/24/community-effort-brings-tajik-student-here-for-stu/?page=all
This chance encounter, and the timing of it, has opened my heart to yet another small shift in perspective for my own life. Since meeting this lovely and very intelligent young woman I thought of all the other thousands and millions of women who live in circumstances with absolutely no hope. Who are forced into early marriages and childbearing often with older men; who are abused and mistreated by their husbands and families. Who, when widowed, often find themselves shunned and in even further misery.
Many of these women have no idea there even is a place such as the United States, like Mehrangez told us. They are kept ignorant and uneducated…she told us when she first saw the Internet when she got here it totally blew her mind. That she could enter in anything into the search bar and learn about it. She just had absolutely no idea something like that existed. She now has her own computer thanks to a generous donation.
I’m not beating myself up here with thoughts like, you spoiled rotten pathetic person, look how terrible so many people have it…and yet, there is a little of that going on. Yes, I have to walk my own path, and in my world, I have faced some sorrows and difficulties and will have more down the road. I accept this about life, at least as much as I can. I have had to find some inner strength and emotional resources I didn’t know I had…but man. That is some serious inner strength and determination.
So, once again, I am reminded that I have a lot to be grateful for; both what I have had in this life so far, and that my hopes for the future are at least that. Hopes. And the knowledge that no matter what happens I will always have food to eat and a roof over my head in a safe and free society - and will never have to suffer that kind of abuse and neglect. I am a woman and a widow, and I have a place in this world.