Monday, May 09, 2016

Walk a Mile in Their Shoes Please

One of my students is doing a work placement in England this summer. She's a farm girl with a fantastic work ethic and a desire to learn. She's worked for me part-time for a year around her studies and I think of her as a daughter. She got to England last week and moved in with the mum of one of her bosses. I'll call him D.

Today we Facetimed and she broke her heart crying. The lady she is living with complained bitterly about her to her son, D, this past weekend. Apparently she's "not paying her way" and "expects to be waited on" and "isn't cleaning up after herself". When my student got in D's car  at 6.45am this morning, on her very first day of work in a different country, he scolded her and then she had to act professional when she got there, the only girl in a couple of dozen men, and try to impress them on her first day. UGH! I'm beyond livid. So mad and so sad that I'll not sleep for a few nights.

My student said they went food shopping on the weekend and the host lady insisted on paying for the food, she also insisted on cooking her meals. My student didn't want her to do all of that but didn't have the courage to speak up and tell her not to. She's terrified of offending or hurting the lady's feelings. The cleaning thing? The lady said she keeps finding her hair. My student is devastated by this and asked  "What can I do, I have long hair"?  I said "Nothing my love. You've done nothing wrong".  She's paying rent and doesn't expect anyone to wait on her. But the host does all this stuff and then bitches about her.   Talk about passive aggressive.  This woman did not have the balls to talk with my student about any of this, but got her son D to destroy her on her first day on the job? Absolutely abhorrent.

I have told my student that she has done nothing wrong & to move out immediately and she and I are working on finding a new place, but I'm absolutely heartbroken by this. She's 23 and alone in a strange country. She's looked forward to this for a year and invested a lot of money. She has no friends and now she's living with and working for a guy who has been very hurtful and ignorant of her situation.

You might say she's a big girl and needs to suck it up. But then you've probably never been in her situation. I have, and I was incredibly lucky to be met by warm, understanding, helpful people that GET IT. That know what it feels like to move and work in a different country.  I can't imagine what she's going through right now and wish I could save her, but I can't. Her mum and dad both called me today and we'll keep an eye on things but ugh.  Sometimes, people are absolute assholes, and I'm ashamed to say that she's having this experience in my beloved England.

More on this subject to come, I'm sure.

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