We made it to ye ole Virginny, landed Tuesday and have been strip mall shopping our way through Thanksgiving. Karma is a "good sport," as my mom likes to say, and has pushed carts, carried bags and not once complained since arriving. Miracle man? I think so.
He was particularly shocked to see Tibetan things for sale at World Market, although I'm sure it would make more sense to him if he actually knew the name of the store.... He got his first pair of shoes from DSW (shoe heaven from child labor?) and I can't get the man out of his sweatpants and slippers (he referred to them as his "best friends" last night). It's a little cold here, so who could blame the guy?
Today he met my Granny N. (dad's mother) for the first time. She's the one who co-sponsored him with me to come over here, and he said he felt "sad, but not in a bad way." I think he just didn't have the right word in English to describe his experience. He got teary eyed when they met and, later, kept referring to how it's his karma to be here (perhaps some may say "his fate")... I was continually amazed at how outgoing he was, talking to almost everyone today and really engaging them.
A lot of firsts this week. He'd never seen a four post bed before and asked if I would swing on them when I practice my "kung fu." He also learned how to use a whip cream can, which he'd never seen before. While doing a job for my mom this evening, he saw a kitty litter box for the first time and when we went to my grandparent's house and saw all my grandfather's cars (i.e. "projects") in the driveway, he asked, "How many people live here?"
For those of you that know my grandpa (one might say he's a "hoarder" of sorts), this could be particularly funny.
My mom asked him to say "grace" today before we ate and what he really wanted people to hear is that we should look beyond our religious differences and into our own hearts--he and I both got teary-eyed during that. He was thanking everyone for helping him come here, for being there today and for his first Thanksgiving meal (and, hopefully, not his last). He ate more today than I've seen him eat since he arrived, so I know he approved!
My parents have been so amazingly supportive, especially this week. They're really trying to connect with Karma and, I think, they're impressed with his efforts and enjoy his company. My dad gave the most touching speech before we ate, "welcoming" him into the family. I cried (duh). This whole experience has only brought me closer to him. As our wedding day draws nearer, I'm getting more and more excited. I'm not nervous.
While we're here, Karma REALLY wants to have our photo taken in front of the White House, which is something I don't think I've ever done. He even picked out an outfit for me while we were packing to come and said "You have to wear this when we have our photo taken in front of the White House. You'll look like a real American girl." For the record, a "real American girl" would apparently wear knee-high boots. He's in love with women's boots, which I just think is hilarious and adorable. Needless to say, I packed the boots and will wear the outfit in our White House photo, so stay tuned.
Tomorrow my cousins from LA are flying in for the wedding. They're the closest family I have to siblings (my only first cousins) and they have a 6 month old daughter, whom I've never met, but am an "auntie" to. My bet is that Karma will steal the child, or at least horde all the lap time he can get with her...the man loves kids. He also speaks to them in a mix of English and Tibetan and then looks surprised when they don't understand. Ha!
This adventure in familyville continues to unfold....