She starting e-mailing me in April, five months before her scheduled arrival in the US. As you'll see, she's not one that likes uncertainty, and a forward-thinker. She's been in English courses since the fall and is hoping to start her studies at a university next academic year. We have been working together on finding admission for her. I suspect she encounters difficulty because of her English. It's certainly not for want of earnestness. I love how she starts out identifying her nationality. These subject lines are what first started my exasperation, and then gave way to her endearment.
I would like to share with you some of the e-mails I have received over the course of our correspondence. The ones that I've been getting recently are so fantastic I almost look forward to seeing her name in my inbox. This first one came early on in our relationship.
Notice the "babay" which makes me laugh so much because I imagine a very reserved, polite Gulf Arab singing this highly inappropriate rap song by Hurricane. It is also the only e-mail I've ever received from her that doesn't have her own name in the subject line.
It was around September that I got the first e-mail that started like this:
Aw, shucks. One Friday afternoon I got a call from Lola, distraught, in tears, saying that she had lost her passport. I gave her the number for Consular Services, which was the extent to which I could be of service, unfortunately. She sniffled, said okay, and hung up to call them. Then I got this:
NO WAY. I would definitely call people crying if I lost my passport in a foreign country and I certainly would not apologize for it afterwards.
So then I started getting the weekly freak-out e-mails about PhD admission. But her plaintive tone and slightly scattered English make it quite impossible to be annoyed.
At this point we had about a month of back and forth e-mails regarding the payment of day care fees. She wasn't reading the invoices right and kept paying too much. I think now the problem has been remedied but for a while there I got to know the provider's accountant pretty well over the discussion of invoices and how to best communicate the actual charges with Lola.
But really, the episode that makes for the most hilarious e-mails is the one I posted before, about her search for a PhD. She applied to 44 schools! I did a support letter for every single one of them, that's how I know. This is not a laughing matter of course, and it's very serious that she wants to badly to complete her studies in the US and be able to continue on. I'm invested in her academic success, sure. But the e-mail that won my heart definitively:
And then a few days later after I had written her forwarding the responses I had received from a few schools after writing to them for her:
Oh Lola. I love you too. You represent why I come to work every day.