Friday, July 3, 2015

Transylvanian Mover

The big stuff is gone. Our condo echoes with every noise I make. The movers wrapped up our furniture, and swooped out every last piece. I'm left to fill a few random boxes with the odds and ends that weren't ready to go. We'll be completely out by the end of the day. 

The moving crew was a group of 4 appropriately fit-looking guys. They were professional, courteous, and a flurry of energy. While the crew chief was American, the other 3 were European imports. I chatted up one of them briefly while we were simultaneously packing stuff in the girls' room. He told me he was Romanian. "You heard of Transylvania?" His English was great, although accented. He was an IT professional back home. But he came to the U.S. for the moving season every year, where he out-earned his yearly salary many times over. 

We talked about my new job, where many of the health aides were educated professionals in their home countries. But the chance to earn a living here in the U.S. is better, so they feed and bathe the elderly instead. 

The young gentleman from the moving crew described the ongoing corruption at home. "One group of Communists was just replaced by another." I mentioned the exchange student we'd had from Moldova when I was younger. She's living in the U.S. now. "So she escaped. Moldova's even worse," he said. "When the Berlin Wall fell, the only freedom we really got was the freedom

 to escape."

I consider it my job as a parent to make sure my girls know how lucky they are. We occasionally grouse about not living closer to family, but we don't have to live in a different country to find a job. My girls live in a country where smart people jump at the chance to move their belongings, babysit them, and care for their great-grandparents. They are growing up in what is considered the promised land by people all over the world. 

I find that to be a sobering thought. Certainly with that great privilege comes some great responsibility?

Occasionally, HeyMama will ask us if we're rich. Our standard answer is, "Well, you'll always find people who have more money than us. But we never have to worry about having enough food to eat. We never have to choose between heat in the winter and medicine. If you outgrow your shoes, we can get new ones. So yes. We are rich. "

And now I realize that we have to add to that definition. We live in a country that other people pray for the chance to come to. People jump at the chance to take menial jobs here. Are we rich? Yes. We're super rich. 

So good luck, Transylvanian mover. Kudos to you for taking the hand in life you were dealt and playing it well. I hope your back stays strong and the work keeps coming. 

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