By Tim Leeds
After spending the last seven weeks in motels, the Mike, Monica and Miguel Rao are living in a private residence again.
After an anonymous Montana State University-Northern alumna gifted a percentage of the value of the residence and the MSU-Northern Foundation purchased the rest in a gift-sale agreement last Friday, the Raos began moving in last weekend.
They said they were glad to be back in a home.
Rao, chancellor at MSU-Northern, said he now has a lot of sympathy for people who lose their homes.
"You always hear about people's houses being damaged by natural effects or natural disasters," he said, "hear about them having to move, but you never know how psychologically or physically difficult it is until you have to pack up all your belongings, while living in a motel, to have to move them. It's quite an ordeal."
The Raos said one of the most difficult things was trying to take care of Miguel, now 5 months old, without having a kitchen or laundry or all of their possessions with them. They said something they needed, clothing or formula or filtered water for the baby, was always back at the old house and they would have to run back.
Monica Rao said one of the most difficult things was the lack of their normal computer access. She said they used a laptop computer at the motel, but it wasn't as effective as their main system, and they kept remembering files that they needed were still at the house and had to shuttle back and forth.
The chancellor said the lack of office space and space to entertain guests for the university was a problem. He said they had to cancel plans to entertain people whose relations with the university he is trying to improve, people who might be able to enhance its resources. He said the lack of space for their belongings was also a problem.
"I tried to bring three days worth of clothes at a time," he said, "but there's always something you forget."
The Raos had been packing their belongings up at the old house for the last seven weeks. They said they were still packing right up until they started to move into the new house.
"We still have some things we had to leave behind," Monica said.
Mike said he certainly appreciates the motel accommodations they have been using, but he's glad to be back in a house.
"I am very grateful to the MSU-Northern Foundation and to the donor who made this possible," he said.