by Charles Simerly, KIN Volunteer
It was a brisk and cold day the week of Christmas. My wife, two young boys, and I loaded into our car and headed to our destination. We parked on the street of a neighborhood I had many fond memories of, because growing up, I had a good friend that previously lived here. However, the house up the hill remained unfamiliar. I can’t say I'm never nervous about meeting new people, so I felt hesitant as we walked up the steep driveway toward the door. We had a gift for the international family that lived there that included some homemade desserts, pajamas, and toys.
At the door, we waited briefly until a middle-aged woman came to the door. She was surprised and slightly confused about why we were there because she is still working on her English. She called for her daughter who speaks more fluently. We explained that we were there on behalf of KIN and Northstar Church and wanted to bless them with a gift for Christmas. They smiled and took the gift and were even generous enough to let us in despite their house being disorderly because they were in the process of moving. We were led to the living room where we sat and talked. As we conversed they served us Korean pears that were particularly juicy and sweet and later they brought out cookies.
Our boys bounced around the couch as we talked about South Korea and the United States. The daughter had lived in Seattle and Utah before living in Knoxville. Perhaps the most striking thing we learned from them was that we were the first Americans they have ever had within their home. We felt honored though a bit saddened by this fact.
After a while of talking and laughing at our loopy boys, we said our goodbyes. The experience overall had a wholesome quality to it. It was good to welcome an international family to Knoxville. Afterward, I chuckled at myself. Why had I been so nervous?
Read the stories of Knoxville's local internationals and the volunteers who have impacted their lives. Get a first-hand view of what it's like to move here and/or to serve those who've moved here from other countries. Discover how KIN has impacted life and culture in metro Knoxville.