Ehsanolah M., my Persian student from Isfahan, can no longer keep up with the advanced English class. Last night we arranged for him to go to David's intermediate class, something I should have done a long time ago. I will miss his soft puppy dog eyes and gentle ways. Sometimes it was hard to tell if he was sleeping or about to cry— both possibilities. He was once a designer of fabrics, with a prestigious Engineering degree from Iran. Since losing his job eight months ago in downtown Los Angeles, he has spent long days schlepping a garbage bag full of cheap garments around Santee Alley looking for any kind of work.
One evening we were reading an article about the South Korean relocation camp, Hanowan. I was worried Ehsan wouldn't be able to follow or understand, but when we began to read about one refugee's memories of the mountains and rivers of North Korea, Ehsan sat up, all ears. "I was surprised at the reality of South Korea compared to my anticipation," the refugee told the reporter, "I thought it would be the start of my happiness, but it was the start of a hard life." Ehsan's eyes brimmed with tears. "This is me. This is exactement me!" he said, "Missing too more, too more."