Labor Day has, as always, come and gone and Tuesday was my first day at Justice for our Neighbors! Now, come Friday, I’ve completed the first week of work.
I’ve found myself slowly readjusting back to routine; I’m gradually settling into my work schedule, and getting used to my morning commute on the bus. By some miracle stroke of luck, I found a direct bus route nearby to work, so transport navigation has not been any trouble. The one thing I have to remember is to take the earlier of the two buses that will get me to work on time because buses in Austin during rush hour do not arrive on time. Fortunately, Lukus and I test ran my bus to work this past Friday, so by the time I went to work on Tuesday I was clued in to that.
At YAV Orientation, one of the things we talked about is having the understanding that, as YAVs, we are not in a position of knowledge. We are in our communities and our placements to learn, and we have been graciously invited to be part of our placement organizations for a short time.
I have definitely experienced a lot of learning at JFON this week, and believe me, in my placement, I don’t know much at all.
JFON is a nonprofit that provides low cost immigration law services to clients, and rest assured, I hardly know the first thing about immigration law. Well, I know a fair bit more than I knew Tuesday, but I’ve still only scratched the surface. My mind is now all a jumble of form numbers and various types of visas that I’m only just beginning to know basics about.
I am also the only person in the office who is not bilingual in English and Spanish, which has definitely been humbling. I certainly don’t regret taking French, but even so, I’m still only fluent in English. I’ve always felt a twinge of guilt for only being monolingual, and know that I’m guilty of taking my English speaking for granted, even outside of the US. I’m hoping though, that this feeling of linguistic ineptitude will motivate me to work on building some Spanish skills.
I have always had some perfectionistic tendencies, so sometimes it’s hard to take a step back and accept myself for what I know and understand in the present. At the same time, I’m finding that letting go of that feeling is to an extent liberating, and I am exceedingly grateful for the opportunity to challenge myself and learn something new every day.