My name's Ethan Ray Gibbons. I live in Tennessee, in Nashville; I live here with my wife Donna, and my four daughters, Hannah, Reanna, Haylie, and Brie. The story, however, isn't about me. It's more about my neighbors, the Trbaneks: Slobo and his mother, Veruca.
Slobo has only been in this country for a few short years. He and his mother came from Bosnia Hergezovina, to escape the war and its aftereffects. It is because of the war that Slobo is now an amputee and suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome, amongst other medical problems that have put him into the hospital from time to time.
Slobo and his mother speak very little in the way of English. English has proven to be very difficult for them at best. They do not work; they rely on a meager SSDI income to sustain them every month, to help pay the bills, try to get what they need in life.
Not knowing English has proven to be an overwhelming handicap for the two of them. They usually have to rely on translators who speak Croatian (try finding someone who does in this city; it's very hard to!), or they use an awful lot of body language, to try to get their point across.
It's really frustrating for them, as well as the people who come into contact with the Trbaneks.
I don't really have any difficulties in figuring out what the Trbaneks need in life; I act as their go-between, their go-fer. (Go for this, go for that.) I've come to the conclusion that they love to eat, love to listen to polka music, play video games (well, Slobo does; his mother, meanwhile, loves to cook), and go to the museum, amongst other things.
Both Slobo and Veruca are going to be taking English as a Second Language classes at the local university starting in about a month. They realize that if they want to get ahead in life, then they need to learn English, as well as study for their citizenship once they become proficient in speaking English.
The future, although uncertain at best for Slobo and his mom, is starting to become a little more clearer, a little more promising. I do hope with all my heart that Slobo and Veruca get all the help they deserve in life; they've struggled for far too long, both back home in their native Bosnia-Hergezovina and here in America.
I or someone else will continue to keep you updated on the Trbaneks' progress as they work to becoming productive legal U.S. citizens. It is going to be difficult, but with the right kind of help, and with a little luck, they will make it. I have faith in this young man and his mother.
~To be continued.~