Dulayathitikul plans visit her unwell mother in Thailand once the pandemic, and its travel restrictions retreat. She will return to Maryland for her children and her career “because I love my career a lot.”
Darunee Rasameloungon, 41, a Bangkok native who arrived in the U.S. in 1991 with her family to join her father who had emigrated ahead of them. She wanted to be an engineer or an FBI agent until she helped care for a cousin after a bus hit him, breaking his arms and legs.
When she decided to pursue nursing, her father told her he couldn’t pay for college on what he earned delivering pizza.
Working with her high school counselor, Rasameloungon parlayed high grades, volunteer work and school activities into scholarships to pay for all four years at George Mason University’s nursing school in Fairfax, Virginia.
She graduated in 2001 and is now a progressive care unit nurse technician at Fairfax Hospital, where she has worked since 2008.
“It's always hard, this is very sad when you have to wrap someone in the bag, you know, … they died by themselves,” she told VOA Thai.
“They have nobody with them, and their family cannot be with them, (it) is really sad …to die by yourself. It is really overwhelming. My God, you feel sorry for them. And it's just, like a reality hit: This . . . can happen to anybody.”
Although Rasameloungon intends to continue nursing in the U.S. in part to remain close to her son, she wants to take a long break in Thailand when the pandemic subsides because “the COVID (made) me realize that I want to spend more time with my family.”