This was a facebook post from October 2012:
Frustrating work/research last night, at school early to catch up, realized my license was about to expire, left to renew it, soaked in the rain, indecent wardrobe malfunction and I’m AT THE WRONG BMV LOCATION. After 4 phone calls, directory assistance connected me, I fixed my outfit, left my keys at the pharmacy and had my umbrella turn inside out. Did i mention my shoes are too small and I’m wearing a dress? Now I have a new driver’s license – I look like a convicted felon – and am skipping my first class to catch up on work. It’s a good thing I have vacation coming up!
I’ve highlighted the important bit, because today relates to that little issue I had. Aherm….my buttons went flying that horrid day in October 2011. To fix the situation, I bought a little sewing kit to keep in my purse, and it’s been with me ever since.
Yesterday, I was at a little gathering a friend of mine was hosting. Let’s be honest, I don’t like parties. I don’t mind going out, I like getting together with friends, I love people – but “parties” in the “Come over to my house with 50 other people, get to know one another, eat food, try not to feel awkward” and I will come up with 30 different reasons I am tired. Just the same, my friend is a wonderful person and while I’d had legit reasons to not be available until last Friday, I knew joining the excitement could not be avoided forever.
About an hour into the evening, after mingling, eating, moving about, chatting with the three people I did know, I was plotting an escape when I started talking with a new friend of mine from Pakistan. She was married just last Sunday, after a year long engagement and following her fiance and his family to Thailand in hopes of seeking asylum from the persecution Pakistani Christians experience. The marriage is another blog post, but what you need to realize is that as Asylum Seekers, my friend and her family are very limited. She lives with her husband, his parents and his three siblings in a one bedroom apartment. They do not have refugee status yet, so they are living in visa limbo. Since they don’t have refugee status at the moment, no one has a work permit and they cannot work in their various fields. In addition to the financial hardship you and I can imagine, they are also bored, and constantly concerned about their future. Boredom may not sound like punishment, but with such pressures – I believe boredom is like torture.
Without trying to bring up more frustrating topics, or mention that I have a fulltime job that wears me out AND pays my bills, I asked what Saris had been doing lately. She told me that in Pakistan she is a beautician, and a teacher. The night before, she had cut her brother-in-law’s hair, and threaded her sister-in-law’s eyebrows and upper lip.
“Oh, hmm.” I said. We talked about different hair styles, and how she could tell what method was used on the various women’s hair around the room. Then, the moment of truth came:
“Do you have thread?”
“In my bag? Yes. Do you want it?”
I handed her my little CVS sewing kit from the epic wardrobe malfuction of 2011, and then asked, “What do you want to do?”
“I can remove, here.” She rubbed her hand above her upper lip.
“You think I need it?” I am a bit slow, if I think I can avoid having my vanity injured.
“Yes, you need it.”
Well, that’s out there.
“So, umm….you want to do this, now?”
“Yes, I can.”
“Well. I’m not doing it here, on the living room couch with 25 other people sitting around watching me, understood?” I may have lost her with my forcefulness there, but she still sat there happily measuring out a length of thread, looking expectantly at me.
There was nothing to it, but to ask our host for an upstairs bedroom to borrow and make our way there. I wasn’t getting out of this beauty treatment, and this was the most comfortably-awkward situation I’d been in all day.
Up we went, with three ladies trailing behind in curiousity and two teen girls in shocked confusion when we entered the bedroom to commence my painful re-entrance to feminity. I sat on a stool, pinched my mouth shut and tried not to feel self-conscious as 6 sets of eyes watched me become a hairless beauty. If anyone feels slightly self-conscious about her looks, I don’t suggest moving to Asia (I’m a giant), or making friends with a Pakistani-Beautician-Refugee looking for something to do with herself.
[“You think I need it?” I am a bit slow, if I think I can avoid having my vanity injured. “Yes, you need it.” <—– OY! Vanity be GONE!]
After my little – PAINFUL! – treatment, the other women in the room lined up for their threading treatments, as I oohed and ahhed over my baby-soft skin.
Then – it all came together.
Girly-girl Shannon started talking about other treatments we might pay for – nails, hair, facials, etc. Saris does all of those, she’s a licensed beautician in her home country.
Waan remembered how much she hates plucking her eyebrows, and having an on-hand threader – might turn this situation around in a hurry.
Someone else realized that Saris has nothing to do at the moment.
Then, a refugee miracle happened. Starting today, she’ll be cleaning up our small community of Jesus-loving misfits, doing hair removal for now. The supplies are inexpensive, and one of our friends is donating the necessary thread from his clothing factory. Soon she’ll be able to buy scissors to cut hair, and after that supplies for manicures, pedicures and maybe facials, too!
My refugee friend finally has something to occupy her time, a way to help her family, people to interact with, lives to improve and excitment for the future! And it all started with a very bad, no good, horrible day back in October 2011…
My God’s funny like that.
If you are interested in helping this refugee, please contact me:
tudices.isay AT gmail DOT com