My Family in Myanmar:
A Sequel to What’s It All About

Last Monday, my article was about Ginger and me and our dancing with death successfully. It dealt with the realization that I can’t control our rendezvouses with death. However, Ginger and I can enjoy our lives together and live in the moment.

This essay is a sequel to what’s it all about. More precisely, it addresses my family in Myanmar. Bobby Kennedy is the most influential mentor in my life. This essay deals with two things that he said. The first is about dreaming, “Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not.” I am a dreamer. Trust me. The other was from a long speech, which contained a short paragraph about the ripple effect.

It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

My problem is that I’m an impatient dreamer. I want to create enough ripples to make significant changes to the world. Nevertheless, I realize that my mindset is beyond the pale. Additionally, I am in my twilight years. My clock is ticking, but it doesn’t have a lifetime more of ticks. I know that I have to limit my dreams while being driven. That is the dichotomy that I face.

I can’t change the killings and destruction in Ukraine or in Myanmar. I watch the news from Ukraine, which merely causes more fears about my family in Myanmar.

I don’t have any family members in Ukraine. Nonetheless, I do have a family in Myanmar. This is my family.

I took this picture two years ago while visiting them during winter break from teaching. They have faced the coronavirus and a military coup during those two years. These are some recent pictures of my family.

While COVID is manageable, the military is still waging war against the people in Myanmar. There isn’t anything I can do to help Myanmar return to a peaceful developing country. The only means that my family has to avoid the traumas of a civil war is to come to America. Our State Department has a program called Diversity Visa (DV). It is a lottery that picks either individuals or families from around the world and grants them visas to come to America. My family has applied for DVs. I hope that my family will receive their green cards, which will enable them to come to America and live with me. In June of this year, they will find out whether they will get their DVs.

While they wait, I am still looking for alternative means of allowing them to live in the States if they don’t win the Diversity Visa lottery. If my struggle to get my family to America seems like a Herculean effort, it is. However, I am fortunate and grateful to have that opportunity. Both my family and I will benefit from living here. We will all live together as a family in my home. We will sit on the deck late in the evening while we laugh and remember the times we shared in Myanmar. Now, we can share our time together in America.

Once they win the DV lottery, that will resolve the struggle to get them here. Then a far more massive struggle will have my attention. Acclimating my family to their new world will be filled with things to do like getting Snow and Fatty into elementary school and Ti Ti into college. Everyone will need shots, medical checkups along with dental and eye exams.

Also, winter in Myanmar isn’t like it is in America. I was there during winter break from teaching. If one were to add up the total amount of time on my three trips to Myanmar, it would be around three months. During that time, I rarely wore a jacket. Therefore, we will need to go shopping for winter clothes. Taking my granddaughters shopping for winter clothes will be an experience I won’t forget. My family in Myanmar cared for me when I was there. I will do the same for them in America.

Another thing that we will do is to invite Neil Diamond for dinner on a lovely summer evening. My family will tell him stories about their coming to America. We will sing along with Neil Diamond about his family coming to America from Ukraine.

Bobby Kennedy was correct about dreaming and creating a ripple effect in our world. Granted, dreaming was easy, but our ripple effect will be gigantic. Bobby would be proud of us.