Sunday, 9 August 2015

Silent Battles

I volunteer at an immigration museum, but I haven't been having steady shifts because my schedule is all over the place at the moment, however I was finally able to go in today.

My shift had a quiet start, I started in two of the hands-on stations; one where you can take a little citizenship quiz and another where you can colour a suitcase.The colouring of the suitcase station is mainly for younger kids while parents look around, but sometimes we have teens and parents that join in!

I met some lovely people while at the citizenship table and I also met this family with three adorable little boys of the ages four, two and a half and a baby that I say might've been six/seven/eight months or so.   

I'm not one to usually go out of my way to talk to a stranger as you all know, but it's different in a work environment. I'm not sure why I find myself more outgoing there, but maybe it's because people are interested in what you're saying and are curious. 

I'm not sure what it is, but I love talking to the people who come through the museum because people are visiting the museum from every corner of the world. 

Seeing as it's an immigration museum, we have visitors that have actually immigrated through, what's now known to be, the museum. They love to stop and chat about their experience and where they came from and it's honestly such an amazing thing to hear their stories.

Anyway, after those stations I was then at the information booth alongside a co worker.

The co worker I was with is actually an immigrant herself (not through the museum, however) and today I got to ask her about her learning experience.

Where she grew up, she would learn things and the teachers would go on about how "This is the Belgian way to say it...This is the French way to say it...This is the Canadian way to say it.." so she ended up learning how to say specific things in many different languages and that blew my mind.

I was amazed by that and she went on to teach me how to say a few numbers the Belgic way when she told me that she was tired.

I asked if she was going home after her shift and it's what she told me next that made me admire her even more.

She told me that she never went home after her shift at the museum because she had to go work at one of her other jobs out of three.

She told me what she did and what her hours were and I was...shocked. 

She's working three jobs to pay off her appartment and to put herself through a university course here.

She told me how she wanted to find a cheaper apartment because her current one was starting to be too much for her alone, and she also told me how her current landlords won't do anything for her.

She explained to me that she had a broken window since this winter and they won't come by to fix it and that she's struggling with a rat problem. She's tried many things to get rid of the rats, but it's not working. 

She told that sometimes it got to be too much.

I know that I said "She told me.." many times, but I wasn't quite sure how else to word it besides "She went on.." and to me, that sounds almost negative, but I wanted to listen to her story.

I wanted to listen to her story because I didn't know it.

I didn't know her story and I probably never would've been able to guess it because she always has a smile on her face.

She told me that she was tired yet she kept smiling, she was happy, she was kind, she was energetic, she was friendly, approachable, caring and overall amazing.

I've only known this woman for a little bit, but she has been smiley, happy, kind, energetic, friendly, approachable and caring since the day I met her. I can't imagine how long she's been that way and will continue to be that way.

I never knew that she was struggling with any of that, but she reminded me of something really important.

Everyday, people everywhere are struggling with their own silent battles. We don't know what position the people around us are in, so we should always be kind and not try to make things worse for other people.

If someone needs a reason to be kind, there it is. 

You honestly have no clue about other people's battles until they tell you it themselves.

Although it was sad to hear her story, I have nothing but respect for her. She's just incredible and amazing. I can only hope that someday I'll be as strong as she is.

Silent battles are the ones that take up the most energy and strength, but no one else is aware. It's almost like struggling to swim while all the people around you are holding on to a flotation device but you can't ask for one; maybe because your mouth is underwater or maybe because you don't know if that person needs that flotation device more than you.

In the end, silent battles are the strongest fought battles. You can never know who fought one or who is currently fighting one.

Either way, being kind to someone might make the battle a little easier for them.

Until next time!

Post a Comment