Tonight was the Welcome-cum-Exchange Party with the college interns who will be in Los Angeles for the next three weeks. There will only be two at my workplace of the OAA, but the other two interns who flew into Los Angeles with them will be at the Little Tokyo Service Center in Little Tokyo.
It was a nice gathering of about 25 people, most people over the age of 60 present, with the youngest in their early 20s...
The thing that struck me was the family feeling of our organization. Older sisters (ne-chans) wanting to make sure they can get to where they need to - worrying about rain or the safety awareness of staying in the Boyle Heights area... Aunties and offering to take them to big fancy lunches during these three weeks.
Coordinating and offering of rides, offering suggestions of events to go to in their free time. And in general, wanting to find time to hook up to just yuntaku (aka talk-story)...
It made me feel good to see our members reaching out to them. I know that this isn't unique to the Okinawan community, but the Okinawan term chimugukuru certainly fits. The Okinawan heart and spirit. Ichariba choodee (Once we meet, we are brothers and sisters.)
Yes, it'll be added "stress" to have them in the office as I try to get the usual things done. But there will be volunteers who will help out and will also be accessible to them so that they really get a sense of the Okinawan community here. That may actually be primary than getting to know the inner workings of OAA, which was what I had initially focused on. In fact, it wasn't until seeing the interactions tonight that I realized, I had really been short-sighted and I was glad to be reminded.
Seeing some of the younger set of our organization was good, too. I feel like the stay-at-home mom who forgets how to interact with adults after being cooped up with children all day long. In my case, I get to spend time with mostly the elders, that hearing the feedback, comments of those that are my peers is refreshing.
So much to do through OAA! So much that can be done....!
Happy New Year 2018
5 months ago