A homeless professor
Here I am. Being a legal alien with a great job. I am excited. I am thankful. I feel blessed.
With my O-1 visa petition approved, I am ready to take up a new job. A real job. “Real” in a sense that this job is really what I had wanted to do in my life. It is real because I know I would love doing it. It is real because it’ll be my lifetime profession (even if I change — or not — the workplace in the future). It is real because I went through an extremely tough selection and honestly I thought it’s impossible to get it.
So, I am not illegal. I am not jobless. But hey, I am homeless, being unable to extend the lease of my apartment in LA and having not yet got an apartment in the new city, Tempe AZ. My last seven days were spent in two cities. Sleeping in four different places. No permanent pillow to put my big heavy head on.
A homeless at El Pueblo Historic Park, Los Angeles. Collecting cans and bottles. (C) Photo by mer, 2006.
Hmm… I think the readers now are trying to picture me as an absent-minded homeless. Living out of a raggedy old cardboard box. Trying desperately to stay warm to no avail as the wind blows through the holes in her socks. Beside her there’s a worn out sign asking for money, next to an empy cup by her feet.
Well, sigh….not as dramatic as that…. fortunately. I am perhaps not really qualified to be a typical homeless. But still….. I am homeless.
No, I am not complaining. In fact, I found this last one week exciting. So colorful. Many difficulties and problems but each was solved and resolved by itself, almost deliberately.
In an unending uncertainty of this journey, I feel fortunate that I always manage to get connected to the Internet. Wherever I am — sitting on the floor of an alley of a certain hotel, relaxing on the bench in a park, eating at a certain foodcourt, sitting down in a certain office’ lobby, or some other places — open wireless Internet enables me to find my “home” in cyberspace. I got myself connected to the familiar “place” where I found meaningful cybersupport from ‘real’ (not virtual) friends in many places all over the world as well as useful information.
But information and cybersupport isn’t enough. I found real help from strangers and new friends I met along the way. Some people, sometimes without names, have enriched my life with their help, support, and generosity. Thank you!
It’s not bad to be a homeless professor.* Life is so wonderful! Life is exciting!
And I am still up to experience some great new things and meet more people.
p.s. Yes, I am now an assistant professor at Arizona State University, in Tempe, Arizona.
* Unlike in Indonesia, people use ‘professor’ in front of you name to call all professors of all ranks (assistant, associate, full) here in the United States. My position is assistant professor, but my occupation is professor. And even in the formal letter, my Chair (who is a full professor) will address me with: Professor Lim. So, professor here as a term differs than what we use in Indonesia.