Being selected as one of the fellows in the professional fellow program, my heart sang for joy. I was so thankful to the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center people and the U.S department of State for the great chance to have “the most productive and memorable experiences of my lifetime” as in the program Ms. Kelsey sent to us. I said to myself that I will treasure every minute to learn to come back to sharpen my community.
One we arrived Missoula, I gradually find out more about the Missoula people or American in general.
They are kind. She is Ms. Deena who came to the airport to pick up us around 12 pm. I felt so welcomed and appreciated her kindness to us. As the associate Director, she was so humble as being a servant leader, was willing to help me to pull my luggage to my bedroom, answer my silly question about my luggage and instruct me how to open my room. She is Kelsey, the program manager who instruct us, spend the long day with us to introduce all the restaurant, the supermarket and many things involve to our time in the U.S to maximize our experience here. They are my family fellow who went to the theater to welcome me and my fellow partner to their home and willing to do the best thing to support us. She is Ms. Susan, the chief Executive officer of United Way of Missoula County, my US fellowship coordinators, who wrote a long email to introduce about everyone in her office for us, and gave us the information in advanced to get to know other people better. They are Pham family who opened their house to welcome us, spend their time to shared with us their experience in the journey to immigrate to US.
They value every personal choice. I am so surprised when we arrived Ms. Deena house. She knows that one of the team members is vegetarian and said that this lunch had the dish for everyone, include the vegetarian. She also prepared a birthday cake for one of the team members and makes every feel that we are being loved and treasured by American. Ms. Kelsey also showed the nearest church for us because she knew that in our team have the people who believed in God. Kelsey also helps one of the fellows to see the doctor for her new pair of glasses.
They are equally in gender. I saw some men carried the baby while his wife shops in the supermarket with the milk bottle in another hand. Wow, they are willing to share the housework with their wife. It’s surprised me because it rarely happened in the home country as many people think that taking care the baby is the duty of the women. I was amazed the second time when the first time in my life I went to one of the American church. Guess what? I cannot believe that the pastor of the church is a woman. As far as I know, the pastors of the church often are men. And I know that in American, both men and women are equally in every sector even in religion.
They are very generous to other people and willing to help the community. I was so impressive with the number of NGO in America is 1,081,891 in the year 2012. And I know that no one can alone to change the community, every people in the community need to take part in leading change to their own community.
Last but not least, American loves a happy ending, dream a big dream for their life and their community life. When I had changed to see the drama “ The wizard of Oz”, the saying of the main character repeated in my mind “there is no place like home” made me remembered of my home country where my sweet family and the orphans my organization helped and care about whom I pour my heart for. I thought about my life as the second generation of the orphan my dad is an orphan and now his daughter came to nowhere but American, one of the very big and powerful country to learn how to help the other orphans in my country and dream the happy ending for their life and their next generation. I also need the mind of the “straw man”, “the heart of the tin men” and the courage of the lion” and the leadership I saw in many people like Ms. Deena, Ms. Kelsey and the skill the lecturers like Ms. Erin, Mr. Tobin, Ms. Christa brings to us to strengthen my community, call everyone in my community to put our hand to help each other to have a happy ending in life.