During my weekly visit to Family A, amidst one of our fun and interesting conversations with K, the family's mother, I realised that it had been hours since we last used Google translate to communicate. I look at K, now joking with her four children and husband, F, and am in awe.
Yes, we helped to sign up for schools and college. Yes, we organised a weekly conversation class with a volunteer (based in Chile) via Zoom. Yes, we have volunteers visiting Friday for family language games - but still, this is most and foremost a result of this wonderful family's incredible determination and hard work.
What a thing to manoeuvre, arriving in a new country and having to trust and rely on a bunch of strangers like us
Learning about benefits (what a cruel labyrinth that is), utilities, banking, general life in the UK, the health system, and so much more- all amidst a pandemic and an energy crisis!
The children are now shaking with laughter - once more about our ongoing joke of calling me Mr Bean (spoken with beautifully rolled r), a title I proudly carry due to my inability to wear matching socks.
We will be friends; I think when K and I hug goodbye. We will very soon be able to move on from this volunteer role into one of just friendship.
It will be sooner than I had thought, but the family has been able to adapt and learn quickly and are already navigating most aspects on their own already -plus, they know where to ask for help if they need it. They even voted in the local elections this year!
As I walk out of the house, I turn around, a loved tradition, waving at the family of six stacked in their kitchen window waving me away. I am so grateful for this beautiful connection.
Ps. If you want to help us resettle another family please help is find a flat or house. More info, here.