That brought me to a grinding halt, and I poked at it all evening the way you keep running your tongue over a newly broken tooth. There were so many assumptions behind the question. Aside from the fact that I don't have a husband, and I had already said I had no one to discuss it with, the tacit assumptions behind it: that my husband would know what to do, would make more sense than I did; I could go on and on. It's not the problem I started with, but it made my feminist heart beat madly. And it was a woman who asked the question.
It all began with one of my students. Once, he told me he came here to be free. Two weeks ago he said we didn't have freedom here. I thought this was connected with his work situation and just said yes, having money gives you more freedom. He seems to have had a lot of problems lately, most of them connected with money. Last week we filled out forms for his daughters' school, and he expressed concern about them possibly not being ready to move to the next grade.
This week he wanted to fill out a form for a passport. He already had completed forms (someone else did them) for his wife and kids. Again we talked about money. I asked why he needed passports, and explained that you only need them if you want to leave the country. He gave me several different reasons for needing a passport, none of which really made sense to me. I helped him fill out the form.
This is when I decided I had to speak to someone and really didn't know where to turn. (Because I have no husband?) Was I being silly? overly suspicious? had I bought into the paranoia that seems to be gripping our country?
I have been working with him under a very loose arrangement with one of the groups that help refugees here in Pittsburgh. They introduced me and left; giving me no guidance. I never hear from them unless I initiate the conversation, which I did, and got that wonderful question to mull over and no practical answers.
Where do I go from here?