My Convertible Life

Monday, August 30, 2010

Moms Worth Admiring - Part 1

Before I showed up for grad school at UNC and found my husband teaching Intro to Public Relations, I spent a year in a professional degree program at Cardiff University in Wales. That year changed me in so many ways, thanks in part to the women who were assigned as my flatmates.

This week, I'd like to share with you an article I wrote at the end of my course there. It's a little schmaltzy in places, but it tells the story of two amazing women. At the time that I lived with them, I found their stories incredible -- now ten years later, as a mother and wife who is the age they were then, I am profoundly moved by their courage and grace.

The SITSgirls recently asked "What woman (other than your mother) inspires you?" Here's my answer, from May 2000 (retold in five parts, because it's too long for a single blog post):


I have never felt as alone as I did last September. At age 26, I had left my home in North Carolina – my family, my friends, my job, my car – to study for a year at Cardiff University. I was living in a very plain university flat, sharing a bathroom and kitchen with four strangers. For two weeks, I was convinced that my heart would actually stop from homesickness, or that my eyes would become permanently red from crying myself to sleep.

But my perspective changed drastically when I began to talk to two of my flatmates who had come from Africa for a Master’s in Business Administration, a programme comprised almost entirely of overseas students. Carol Muir, 35, and Mwenya Nyirongo, 38, had not only left their friends and their jobs – they had also said good-bye to their husbands and children for the year.

Suddenly, I didn’t feel so homesick anymore.

1 comment:

  1. Perspective is something, and these stories are amazing. I worked a brief stint at an organization that helped refugees get jobs in Boston. I hated the job because of the director who was totally weird. I'd complain about my social life, work, money problems - and then I'd sit with a woman who hid in a canoe for a week to get out of Vietnam and suffered all kinds of illness and injustice, and boy, that shut my trap.


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