It’s 8:26pm in beautiful Asheville NC. 64 degrees F, nice crisp breeze blowing the trees to and fro. As I watch the orange sun setting in the horizon through the blinds I take a deep breath and sigh. I miss my baby…I watch a video of him break dancing to here comes the firetruck over and over again on my Samsung galaxy note 3, tears swell up and fill my eyes, I blink them away. I look through pictures of him, a smirk overtakes me as I gaze at his uplifting smile.
Today was very productive. Level 3 medical interpreter training at Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) was the highlight of my day and it was phenomenal. Learnt tons and got to know my classmates a lot more. The interaction and role play was very helpful as learning the medical terminology in Spanish for interpreting can get overwhelming.
I hand wash the beautiful purple and gold embroidered 100% silk dress and gold shawl I wore to class today, hang dry then start my evening meditation.
I am mindful of all it took for this day to happen, the symphony of collaborations, network of loving caring people that made the event that seemed practically impossible just a couple of days ago come seamlessly together, I am truly grateful. I start to cry. I don’t stop myself, I let the tears, emotion, love, exhaustion, gratefulness and everything I felt that I could not express all day burst through. My cell phone rang, it was my precious 2year old. Elated,
“Hey baby, what are you doing?”
“I’m playing with firetruck…”
“Wow!! Did you get a new firetruck?” “Eh huh!
“I miss you…are you having fun with your cousins?” “Eh huh! I miss you mama” “I miss you baby. Are you ready for bed? Sounds like you had a fun day today. Go get some rest and I’ll talk to you later Ok. I love you, and I miss you, big hugs and kisses baby”
“Ok mama, I love you, I miss you”
He is on vacation with his dad in Knoxville TN where his dad’s parents now live. His uncle and cousins joined them and they had some fun which is great. I miss him but we probably both needed the time away.
I did not find out he was going on vacation till Sunday before which I was planning on cancelling my trip to Asheville as several obstacles seemed to present themselves to make my trip next to impossible. His dad gets him twice a week on his days off and Sunday is for sure one of those days but the 2nd day off rotates every week. This week was suppose to be Sunday and Thursday which is when my level 3 medical interpreter class began. Without a car, coordinating exchanging baby boy Wednesday evening, making it to Asheville 1 hour away from our little town, picking him back up Thursday evening, by 5:30pm when class does not end till 4:45pm…if I had my own transportation sure I can zoom in, out and done. But given the circumstances…factor in having to wait for rides, find someone to pick us both up, take us to the police department where the exchange is done, bring me to Asheville; catch a ride to class Thursday morning, drive 1 hour back to pick baby boy up after class then both of us come back to Asheville since it’s a 2 day workshop…I get breathless just thinking about it so I just thought, forget it; you won’t make it. Another uncompleted program. Blah!!
Just like your medical billing program you never finished, just like having 96 college credits just floating in the air with no college degree, just like everything else you’re going through; yet another brick wall, another uncompleted venture…I kept thinking to myself, not again. I screamed out loud, “Papa, oh Abba, Please help us, help us”
I packed an umbrella in my black cross body pack. I put my red floral Ghanian serong wrap Cesarine gave me years ago when she came back from her trip to Ghana (I use the wrap to carry baby boy on my back on walks longer than 30mins or when he gets tired and wants me to pick him up as we walk everywhere). Mama doesn’t have a car, our roads do not have sidewalks for strollers, it’s easier to carry him on my back in a serong wrap or baba him as we would say in Pidgin English than hold this big solid 40lb 2year old of mine in my arms on our long walks wherever we need to go. He enjoys it very much. I’ve been wearing him on me since he was a baby. He hated the stroller with a passion so I’ve been wearing him on me from day 1 and he enjoys it.
It was sunday evening, pick up time so I put my cross body pack on and make the 30mins walk to the police department to wait for the call to come get baby boy. I turn my phone’s music player on, put my green earphones in, crank up the volume and walk as fast as I can. Meditating, praying, focused as I walked.
I went to the farmers market building when I got close, sat on a bench there. Sang, danced, laughed, cried, prayed, worshiped, meditated to songs like Hephzibah, Dance with the King, Rachem, Melech Malchei Hamlachim, King of all the Earth, Jeremiah 33, Ruach of God, Kadosh Atah, Joy, Yeshua, Oceans, Hine Kenei Avadim and some Cameroonian worship music; 2 hours go by no calls no sign of them. It starts to pour down heavy rain storms. I call at this point it’s 9pm, I’d been waiting since 7pm. No answer. I sent a text
“Are you off tomorrow?”
“I’m off all this week. Don’t you have my vacation schedule?”
“Oh I do, you emailed it to me 3 months ago I just forgot to memorize it…”
“sorry, i should have reminded you”
“yea, that would have been nice”
“We might go to Knoxville, I’ll let you know if we do.”
I take deep breaths to diffuse the emotions I felt…I don’t know what I felt and did not want to think about them so I let them all go. I released them and the tears come pouring down. It was storming out but I think there was just as much tears coming out from me as the rain itself. I sobbed, screamed, had a good cry. Pulled out my umbrella and started walking back still crying; i cried all the way home.
I unlocked the door slowly, turn the knob, sad, distraught, confused; slowly walk into the apartment, put my bag down, drenched to my knickers. empty my bag, soak all my wet clothes in the kitchen sink with castile soap, hang the bag out on the hammock in the balcony. I wanted to take a bath but I was too tired. I took a long shower instead still pretty emotionally drained. I didn’t go to bed. When baby boy is away I don’t sleep in the bed, I miss him too much. He sleeps in my arms, that’s the only way I can go to sleep at night. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking why is he not sleeping in his own bed but neither one of us is ready for that yet, don’t judge me. He is a part of me, flesh of my flesh and blood of my blood I know no other way to do it, maybe later.
I laid on the couch and started listening to Cameroonian worship music then it hit me that baby boy being on vacation all week solves a piece of the puzzle but poses yet another dilemma. I was expecting to get some child support money at drop off today so I can register for my class at MAHEC, $115 is not a whole lot but when you don’t have it you just don’t have it. Our fridge was empty, a bowl of mango puree a friend gave me that weekend at a Feast of Weeks (Shavuot) celebration we had, some soup I cooked to last us several days till we can go get groceries again, a bag of frozen peas, a bag of frozen spinach, that’s all we had in the fridge and it had to sustain us until…
At this point you know,
“In the same way, the Ruach (Spirit) helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Ruach himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Ruach, because the Ruach intercedes for Elohim’s people in accordance with the will of Elohim.” Romans 8:26-27
the Holy Scriptures say that if we are connected to our Heavenly Abba יהוה (YHWH) and are 1 in fellowship with Him when we are so overwhelmed we do not know what words to pray, Abba’s Ruach (Spirit) that dwells within us communicates with Abba on our behalf and thats all the strength I have left at this point. I start to pray, for nothing in particular. I recite prayers I pray several times through out the day, not in any certain order i just pray, sing, cry, sob, meditate, in the end I just cry out,
“Abba please help us, Papa, please, please help us…Eli, Eli, Eli, Eli, Eli, Eli, Eli, Eli, Eli, Eli, Lama Saba Thani, Lama Saba Thani. My God, My God, My God, My God, My God, My God, My God, My God, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me, why hast Thou forsaken me. Avinu in Shamayim, Your Name is Kadosh. May your Meleucha come. Your will be done in ha’aretz as it is in Shamayim. Give us our bread for today. Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into testing, but deliver us from the evil one.”
So I cried myself to sleep yet again. I was up bright and early Monday morning, I hand washed the clothes I had soaked in the sink and hang them to dry in the bathroom, rinsed the mud off my lime green sketchers and put them out on the balcony to dry. Turned on the computer that was just donated to me last week for which I am grateful. Researched how to start a business, printed out paperwork to send in for a corporation using the printer the shelter donated to me as well, filled out an online form to request a tax ID # for my home business which I’m calling SEF Language Center for now. Researched what marketing options are available, tried to sign up for a workshop for business owners through the Small Business office at Isothermal community college. Reached out to get free counseling. I got a response to my email right away, set up an appointment and by 3pm that afternoon I rode the public transit to meet with someone at the school. We talked about my challenges past, where I am presently, what my goals and aspirations were for the future. She was very encouraging, supportive, knowledgeable and just what I needed to uplift my spirits.
She gave me a chamber of commerce booklet with local businesses I can reach out to let them know I am available for Spanish, English and French translation to facilitate communication with their clients and help grow their businesses. She asked me to bring some business cards by and she would distribute some. She also provided links for online resources including a sample business plan for me to study. She was phenomenal!!
When I got back I had an email from my friend in Hendersonville NC who is helping me navigate through so much I call her my guardian angel. She is networking to get rides for me while in Asheville, she will pick me up to and from Asheville and has found me the most adorable place to stay where I am now, calm, clean, lovely, restful…perfect. I’m truly grateful for her. I email her back to tell her that baby boy is gone for the week so that obstacle is gone but I don’t have the money to register for class. I have a cleaning job to do on Tuesday; the money that I make from that will give me enough to register for class. Plus since baby boy is gone, I don’t have to get groceries, I can survive on the bare minimums till the 16th when I possibly get some child support money when I pick baby up granted it was already 6/9. She says she will see if she can find some people to help pay for my class.
I don’t go to sleep Monday night, I stay up all night studying on different things, looking for work from home business ideas, options, I try to open a business bank account with my bank and was declined, I try to open a brokerage account and ran into some difficulties for reasons that will come up again and again, reasons I lived at a domestic violence shelter, reasons I’m now writing a memoir, reasons I have a story to share with the world.
Tragedy creates resilience, resilience builds courage, courage develops character, character cultivates personality and personality; well personality is everything. Personality attracts life, love, self worth, patience acceptance and all the good things you learn to appreciate when you embrace the full meaning of life, learning the lessons along the way and appreciating the simple things; successfully live through a difficult life and your character will be a dynamic magnet with electrifying impacts in the future. If you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, there is no way you can understand what it’s like to wake up and not know if you will have enough food to feed yourself or your family, for me it’s a happy 2 year old who thinks the world of me and makes my sun shine brighter every waking second of every day. As poor as I am, he loves me anyways, I would not trade my life for anything just to be able to wake up with my sunshine in my arms smiling at me, with the cutest dimples ever saying…
“…wake up mama. Bonjour, buenos dias, shalom!!”
To me there is no other life than this, nothing else matters than spending all my time with my little guy.
I’m up all night, I finally fall asleep on the couch around 5am. A text from my friend from Pisgah Legal woke me up confirming that she is picking me up around 9:30am the following day and giving me a list of who will pick me up thursday morning, thursday afternoon and friday morning.
I eat homemade applesauce for breakfast and catch a ride to my cleaning job at the chiropractic office in town. It took me about 5hrs, as I was finishing up a client comes in for a massage whom I knew. She was the last client for the day and offered to give me a ride back. Saved me an hour walk back, this certainly was not a coincidence. Thank you Abba!!
I load the cash I just made on a prepaid visa debit card so I can register for my class but i forgot this late, registration has gone up and yet again, I cannot register; I didn’t load enough money to cover the extra charge for late registration. I email MAHEC registration to let them know I have the funds to register for class but it would have to be paid using 2 different cards. Since the online registration form does not allow the option of splitting the payment I inquired if I could pay Thursday morning when I got there.
This class is essential to my new multilingual service business I am launching. The provided glossary of medical terminology is only the tip of the iceberg, levels 1 & 2 gave me the training I needed for national principles and standards for interpreters, i learned a lot there but level 3 is the climax of the course and I had so many uncompleted ventures, it was critical for me not to miss this one. I was determined, I needed to prove to myself that I could do this no matter what I’m going through. I needed to be in class today and in spite of everything, I am here, it is great.
I slept on the couch Tuesday night. The phone rang around 8:30am Wednesday morning and it was my friend asking me if I was interested in meeting their communications person, I don’t know what the terminology is they use, the reporter or media liaison…that’s it, for the company she works for. They are doing a program and looking for interesting stories…I may not be allowed to disclose all the details of that so long story short I said yea I will share my story if anyone is interested or if it helps anyone, “yes sure” She said she would be leaving to come get me shortly and we set up the appointment for a little after 1pm for the initial interview or meet and greet with the media liaison.
I get an email from MAHEC with links to print out documents for class, I do, print out paper application form, fill it out. Take a shower, pack a few things and my friend knocks on the door. We drive to Asheville, talk about the plan for the weekend. We come check in, eat lunch and meet with the reporter. Without getting in trouble or revealing too much of her story, (you can read it when she is done with it) chatting with her was a lot of fun. She pointed out that it is fascinating to see how there’s different pieces that fit intricately to my story that make it unique, delicate, special and encouraging. I jokingly said when it’s all over and I get rich, I will write and autobiography.
My friend says, I did not even know half the story. Here I am with only a little tiny fraction of it, you should write a book. I thought yeah right, nobody will read it. She says “I’ll read it…” we both laugh it off.
This thought sat with me…I remember a conversation I had with a high school friend when I lived at the shelter and started a gofundme to move from the domestic violence shelter and possibly finish college, he donated to my gofundme page and proceeded to remind me how I was the only girl in class that pushed all the smartest guys in class to want to be the best so that they could keep up with me. I had a big crush on him, he had a big crush on me and neither one of us ever acted upon it. Some deep secrets were shared about how much admiration he had for me, how I walked for hours each day to and from school in Cameroon, found time to do my chores, homework and still succeed. He said he was only number 1 all through school because he had it easy, all he had to do was study and that’s all he did. If he had to do even just walk as far as I had to, he would not have survived. He told me this story that cracked me up…
“…I didn’t really know exactly where you lived at the time but we had a plot of land in Nitop 1. I knew you lived in Nitop and had an idea that your house was in some general area over some hill on some road. Every time my mom took me there to go help her do some work I would stare over the horizon excitedly in hopes of catching a glimpse of you…even at school, in class every where I knew you were around I always tried to catch a glimpse of you but there were so many others seeking your attention I knew I had no chance so I didn’t even bother.
Truth is the feeling was mutual. We were both really young then and both kind’a shy. He ended by saying, you should write a book about your strength and resilience, I know you will get back on your feet. I believe in you!! I laughed it off and said, maybe if I survive all of this I will. He was sincere…I know he was.
So here I am. I met the communication liaison when we got to Asheville yesterday, she got some stories to start working with. My friend brought me to my room, I stayed here and studied, researched, I need a breakthrough. How do I earn income working from home and still be a full time mom. My first job is mothering and I love it. I don’t want to get rich, I just need to make enough money to feed my baby, why does that seem like it’s so much to ask. If I could get a job, which I can’t for reasons you will find out if you stick around long enough; if I could go out and get a job, unless it was paying a ton, i still would be making barely enough to afford day care, with cost of living as expensive as it is, neither one of us is ready for that. There’s a time and a place for everything, it is not time for us to part company yet.
I’ll keep trying, something will come up I’m sure. For now, I’m pretty excited about class. I am up by 6am Thursday morning; I brush my teeth and walk outside barefoot on the grass to meditate, grounding early in the am with the sunrise is great for resetting the circadian rhythm. Given I have had several sleepless nights in a row I needed a major reset. Walked the beautiful grounds of the facility barefoot, praying, singing, meditating as the sun rose in the Western horizon. I like to face the East when I pray and meditate so I did that. The air was nice and crisp, I only had my grey 100% linen spaghetti strap night gown on so I hugged myself as the chilly morning breeze brushed my shoulders. I came back inside after about 30mins of prayer and meditation.
I showered, got ready and headed out to the main office to wait for my ride, I expected I would be picked up by 7:45am as previously so I leave the room at 7:30am to take a early morning sun bath while I wait.
Class starts at 8am since I still needed to register I text my friend around 8am to let her know I was still waiting for a ride. There had been a mix up in the scheduling and she mistakenly sent the wrong month to one of my rides in one of the emails they exchanged so she calls a cab. I emailed MAHEC in the mean time to let them know I was running late but I would be there. The cab gets here pretty speedily, in no time. We made it to MAHEC around 8:40am and believe it or not…they waived my late registration fee so I had enough on that 1 card anyways, they hand me an envelop with lunch money and an ingles gift card, did I already mention that it was someone from MAHEC who donated the computer I am using right now???
In the end, I don’t even remember all the challenges and obstacles that stood in my way. Through prayer, perseverance, hope, faith, friends who love me dearly, care about my well being, invest in my success; I not only made it to class I have so much more to be grateful for than if I had thrown in the towel and just given up because I could not see past the small tragedies I faced. If I didn’t push through all the seeming obstacles that presented themselves, I would have missed out of the beautiful opportunities, relationships, connections and achievements that being here today has brought me and I owe it all to all the wonderful people that Elohim has placed in my life who have not given up on me. I owe it to them not to give up on myself but to keep pushing. Most importantly, if I did not make it to Asheville this weekend, I would not have had the inspiration to start this memoir. All in all, a very productive day. I am grateful. Thank you Abba!!