They’re interested in me too
Approaching winter break we all get really excited to be able to escape reality for a little while. People are gearing up to go on breaks, coaching slows down, everyone wants to invite you for lunch and coffee, and exams are quickly approaching just to name a few. On Fridays I coach a group of remarkable women who are refugees. They live in a house together with their children and other people in the similar situations. There are people who work with them to help them find jobs and places to live. I love working with them because they are so fun and resilient. They love to laugh and just come to basketball to get away for an hour every week.
Just like the rest of us, they took a break from basketball for winter break a couple of weeks before Christmas. As a thank you and a sendoff, they invited myself and the other coach, Cullen, for tea, coffee and scones. One of the women who helps transport them offered me a ride to the coffee shop and along the way I realized that they are just as interested in us and our journeys as we are in theirs. I think that when people meet you they are interested in where you’re from and what you have going on, but for fear of offending you they don’t really want to ask. Today was different though.
During the car ride the questions began to flow. She first asked me how I made it over to Ireland and then from that it seemed as if I could not answer her curiosities quick enough. During the course of the ride she apologized multiple times for her many questions, but it was actually refreshing have someone ask all these questions about me. She wanted to know about school, my family, more about basketball, how I ended up in Ireland, and what life was like before I came here. Although we are all similar in more ways than we think, being from different places adds a different dimension to the conversation. Basketball is what brought us together, but the experiences we bring to the table are what keeps things interesting.
Needless to say, we spent a good bit of time at the coffee shop talking to the refugee women and for a while we were just a group of people sharing a cup of tea and having a great time. You never know how your experiences will influence someone’s life and you never know what you might have in common with them until you engage in the conversation. We are all more alike than we are different, and that conversation I had with her impacted us both in ways we will remember forever.