By Sophia Khori
(Editor's note: This is the second in a series of posts by Sophia Khori catching up on the lives of current and former parishioners of St. Elizabeth's.)
Sasha, what have you been up to the past few years?
The past couple years have been chaotic. It was chaos of my own choosing. Once I left NDSU I didn't have any structure or direction in my life. I also didn't look at myself as someone of value so I never put the effort towards having a future. I was in all terms a vagabond.
I returned to Minnesota in 2014 and got a job at the Wedge Co-op thanks to the help of my older brother Daniil. The Wedge may seem like a typical grocery store, but behind the scenes it’s a mixture of artists and humanitarians. I work with drawers, painters, cartoonists, writers and musicians. I get to learn about acts of kindness from punks, feminists and animal rights activists and be inspired by the creativity of others. The Wedge started out in the 70's as a store democratically owned and run by its members. They wished to provide people with education about health and food. Now, 42 years later they're still doing that. I work as a grocer doing physical labor and helping customers, but everyday I learn and grow as a person thanks to this place. It provided me with stability, education and health, and now I can start focusing on more of my own goals.
What do you like to do in your free time?
My life right now is mixture of mild adventures. I bike and longboard where I wish to go, oftentimes that is to the many parks around Minneapolis. This month I recently picked up chess again. I've won 3 of the 4 matches I've played. I believe my love of chess will stay with me my whole life, thanks in part to the encouragement of Father Marc. He came and visited me once and gave me a chess set. To me it was a gift that spoke volumes. Small acts of love, faith, encouragement and compassion can be so powerful, yet I think we often overlook them as adults. Chess like many games is functional, it can be used to teach many things and for me it serves as a tool to hone my focus.
I watch soccer games when I can. Last year I took a trip to Seattle and got to see my favorite club (team) the Seattle Sounders. I stood with the supporter group for 90 minutes, cheering, jeering, chanting and jumping as the Sounders defeated their rivals the Portland Timbers. I'm overjoyed that Minnesota will have professional team joining the MLS next year.
Have you read any good books or seen a good movie lately?
I’m currently reading “The Man Without A Face The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin”. It's a very succinct yet insightful book about the state of Russia and how Putin maneuvered through it to become the President. The author Masha Gessen is an outspoken LGBT activist and I consider her a modern journalistic hero.
Next on the reading list is the new Harry Potter book and “The Virgin Suicides.” I also have a book on java programming sitting on my floor that has served as a reminder to put down the video games and work towards a trade. I had a short stint in Fargo at a student created mobile startup. Since that time the hope of working with technology has never left me. Hope is not enough, faith in myself, support from others, focus and determination (accepting my failures and learning from them) are all sparks that ignite my ambition.
I also have started writing every week. It works to help me keep track of my progress and remind me of my goals. It also helps me manage my emotions. Understanding my emotions has been my biggest obstacle all my life. Mainly because they aren't meant to be confined or allowed to run rampant and more often than not they're illogical but are extremely biological. Learning to accept them and utilize them is just another aspect of being human—a challenge of maturity and one that I face every day.
My recommendations for movies would be “Hurt Locker” and “Imitation Game.” I'm almost finished watching West Wing on Netflix and would encourage anyone interested in journalism, law and politics to watch it as well. I believe it to be the greatest TV show ever made.
My broad goal for the future is to be like my dad.
My father is a well-rounded jack-of-all-trades. He is educated and cultured, as he was an architect, a farmer, a mechanic, a defender and a teacher. Compassion and self-discipline are the two greatest lessons he taught me. I wish to be a modern equivalent of him.
When she was asked about her life back in Bassque County, Naroa said, “everything is different.” She explained that living in a suburb in the middle of Minnesota is a whole new experience.
Naroa wanted to travel and learn in America to further her English knowledge and learn more about a new culture and way of living. Naroa has been studying English in school since age six, “in Europe, knowing English is important,” Naroa explained. So, she came prepared to learn all subjects in English, and when she returns to Spain she will be able to take a language proficiency test to showcase her experience with the language for university and job applications.
Besides learning English, Naroa’s favorite subjects in school are physics and math, and she intends to further her education in these areas at university. Presently, she is a junior at Eagan High School, which is different than if she would be at home. In Spain, she would have started college this year, and would be starting to focus her studies in math and science, her areas of strength. Nonetheless, she is enjoying her academic experience, because she is able to constantly practice her English and is taking electives like photography and cooking that she wouldn’t be able to take back home. Additionally, she has been able to meet and connect with new friends and classmates, as she went from a class of about 40 students to around 700 students.
"Straddling two nations on the Atlantic Coast — stretching about 100 miles from Bilbao, Spain, north to Bayonne, France — lies the ancient, free-spirited land of the Basques." Learn More
Besides adjusting to school, Naroa has also had to make transitions socially. Naroa said, “everything is different,” when she was asked about her life back in Basque County. She explained that living in a suburb in the middle of Minnesota is a whole new experience. Here, if she wants to hang out with friends for a mall trip or a movie, she can’t go without taking a car, while back home she is always walking to visit friends or utilizing public transportation. She explained that she misses this aspect of being at home and said, “My life is more social, because everything is closer and it’s not as cold.” She has found herself staying more during the winter and watching a lot of T.V. One of her favorites is “How I Met Your Mother,” and back home she enjoys watching the Spain version of “The Voice.” Some of her other hobbies include playing piano and running track and cross country running.
We have been happy to welcome Naroa to our church during her stay here, and were excited, recently, to host her mother for a visit. At home Naroa attends her Catholic church, Parroquia de San Martin de Tours (located in Algorta a village in Gexto township) but it has been exciting for her to pray with our close-knit community of St. Elizabeth during her year abroad.