Greetings America! After a brief hiatus I am back on the blog. Multiple issues have prevented me from writing as of late. The primary one is work...I have been swamped with assessments, classes, meetings, conventions and this special video project I'm working on encapsulating the entire history of my workplace through interviews and photos. (Through it, I even get to interview top executives such as one of the key leaders of the entire health system and two members of our board.) I have loved every minute of the craziness but it has also been stressful. My days have consisted of work, dinner, shower, sleep. I've been hitting the hay at about 10pm and sleeping soundly until 7:45am, sometimes even waking up during REM sleep. I've been plagued with random, vivid, and sometimes scary dreams. So basically I've been too busy to write.
The second reason of my hiatus is because it seems as if I had fallen into the black hole of censorship. Apparently whenever I write a post, I have to sit and think "will this offend anybody? how do my words impact others in a negative way? should I be saying this?" Instead of writing what is on my heart, which, is what good writers do. I am not one to write serious tasteless and offensive content. So I've spent the past two weeks wanting to write but wondering what neutral topic I can write about without any apparent backlash. If you are wondering, I'm actually referring to some controversy around the posts about my grandmother and her passing. In all circumstances regarding that situation, I have no regrets. Also, my last post, the young mother post received excellent comments. :) All in all I've managed to bash the ever persisting awareness that every word I write is being judged in some way.
Life has been busy but fruitful. I've been accomplishing a lot of things at work. Currently there are only four original families from my early days in August still residing there. The rest have found housing. So we have a lot of new families right now. There has been some good news breezing by the rumor mill: more talk about hiring me. There is nothing official really, but there is more of an effort to hire me as full time staff. Basically more talk and more encouragement. :) Always a good thing. So I have the potential to possibly become a permanent fixture in Philadelphia. I've been listening to the song "I Made It" by Kevin Rudolf on repeat. Basically I'm loving the line "I look up to the sky and now the world is mine." and "I used to dream about the life I'm living now. I know theres no doubt. I made it."
These words really speak to me because if by some miracle of God I proved myself to be indispensable, which was my goal in September, I will have truly made it. I remember when I was a little girl riding up to Philly to either go to a Phillies game or visit relatives. I was always captivated by the skyline. One time, while attending a game with my Aunt, Uncle and two cousins, we had seats which were right in front of the skyline. So when the game paused I could just look straight ahead and see the tall brightly lit buildings. I never had a strong desire to live in Philadelphia. By never having a strong desire I mean I never wanted to live here. I always wanted to live in a big city like Chicago or New York. Then when I was trying to put my life together before graduation, I realized that Philadelphia wasn't that far away from Virginia. Actually, it is. haha But it isn't as far as the other places.
I figured I would do a year of service here and then use that experience to find a job elsewhere. Then the unexpected happened. I fell in love with my job, the kids I work with and yes, Philadelphia. Suddenly I can't see myself living anywhere else. I have new friends at work and in the Philly area. I love the culture and even the dirtiness of it. I love the music, the art, the people and everything the city has to offer. I feel bad that I judged Philadelphia by its cover as a great place to visit but never a great place to live. Please don't think I am naive. I know that there is tons of crime, that it ranks in the top 20 dangerous cities in America, that people are shot, robbed, and raped daily...but you can find that in small suburban towns too.
My biggest concerns is how I will set up my new life after the volunteer program ends. The new journey will begin, which is great, but I have no resources. By resources I mean I'll be broke, homeless to some extent, car-less, and have a lot of great material possessions that need to go somewhere. How does one start a life with no money? I guess I'll be finding out. Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty sure I'll have plenty of support from the Sisters, co-workers and people who have gone through the same thing. But I like to know I have security. I have to be able to do more than just hope it all works out.
In lieu of new beginnings, I have come to the decision that I want to also pursue further education. I swore up, down, and sideways that I would never be a social worker. I always pictured social workers as those people who bust into dirty homes and take kids away from parents and put them into foster care. No, those are social workers for Department of Human Services. I'm technically a social worker now, I'm just called a Youth Advocate. Therefore, I plan to get my Masters of Social Work as a part time student. It would take about 2.5 years if I started classes this January. But where will you go to school? I'm looking into a variety of places but my soul is set on Temple University. The campus is actually within walking distance to my work (but no, I don't plan walking to night classes). So it is a shot in the dark and it depends on a lot of factors. The Utopian future world of mine involves me living in the city in a cheap but relatively nice apartment, being employed full time at my current service site, and attending Temple University part time as an MSW student. We'll see if the Utopian world can become a reality.
So all this planning, dreaming and scheming is great but it also makes me realize that my service year is rapidly coming to a close. It ends in mid-July but it is already mid-April and I feel like Easter Sunday was yesterday. Now I'm trying to take careful steps to make sure that I milk up all the fun, resources, and community moments now before it is too late. I'm trying to appreciate the present now more than ever because I realize my life will never be like this again. I'm pretty sure I will never live in a convent again, or have a community of Sisters to hang out with all the time, or live in a sweet house where almost everything is paid for, or have moments of spiritual reflection in a group setting or any of that. Live in the present is the motto for now.
In other news, I hung out with my friend David from W&M today. He took me to Columbia, NJ where they have a HUGE Farmers Market. You need to go if you're ever up north. This place has everything you could ever need from fresh food to shoes to knock off sunglasses to wall hangings. They even have air rifles, tools, DVDs and t-shirts. My biggest find of the day was a green Phillies Irish t-shirt with Victorino 8 on the back. I think I've found my new favorite shirt. Ever. In the history of all of my shirts. It was a good time and I spent more money than I should have. :P It was really fun catching up with David since I haven't seen him since graduation. It is nice to know I have a W&M connection so close because I find myself missing W&M all the damn time.
Tonight I'm going out with the community to the Trolley Stop, a restaurant in Philly. 15% of the proceeds go to my work. :) All in all it has been a great weekend!
Until next time...