Working at a university often makes me feel old. I see so many you kids that, appear to get younger, attend every year. I've mentioned before that through our book club in Alumni Relations, we have the chance to meet students and alumni and connect them. One student who came to the first meeting and has brought more, is An.
A few weeks ago, I brought An to Speed Networking, After many conversations with her, it hit me why I am so interested in making sure she is taken care of. You see, An is a freshman here from Vietnam. She has four long years ahead of her. At the end of the day, she reminds me of my German sister Fred. Fred is fearless. She came to America to live for a year, left friends, a family that needed her, and she had to tolerate me. Trust me, I was an asshole. It wasn't until her returning visits that we went from ehhh sisters-ish people to SISTERS *HUGS*! Jackie Fred is just as much part of my family as anyone else. I see the same bold spirit in this young Vietnamese girl.
Tonight, I was driving An back to her dorm and I asked what her plans were for Thanksgiving, even though I was fairly certain that I knew the answer. She was sitting in her room and studying. I know that they don't have Thanksgiving in Vietnam, but this is freaking America, and she should have some freaking turkey! I told her that she was welcome to come to my apartment to have Thanksgiving with my mom and me since my dad was leaving for Brazil. We talked a little more about her culture and religion, and the short ride was over.
An went to get out of the car and she gave me a big hug. Sometimes you just need to show someone that you care and that they are not alone. It is a big world. Sometimes your germy germ makes it seem small with all of her hopping around, but when you are 19 years old, it is a huge place. Sometimes, a friend is all you need.