Friday, January 31, 2014

Weddings and Funerals

What. A. Week.

Last post I claimed sweet relief as I scrambled to fix a graduate school situation that could have prevented me from graduating (stupid scheduling/credit crap). Now, a week after that debacle, I feel kind of whiplashed. Not quite pistol whipped by life, because I feel a mixture of joy, sadness, excitement and pure exhaustion.

My parents arrived on Friday evening for my cousin Erin's wedding which was held on Saturday. Of course it snowed on Saturday morning which was great for Erin who wanted a snowy wedding but not so great for the Rodabaugh's as we tried (and almost failed) to navigate the pinelined streets of New Jersey. We reached the church in the nick of time, catching the beginning of the procession in. The wedding was nice, Erin looked stunning, and it was a Catholic mass so I knew all the responses. I finally learned those new ones (that have been in place for about 3 years now).

After the wedding we traversed the snowlaiden streets to the reception. We had a great time. Erin had a nice cocktail hour with delicious appetizers. Apparently my Uncle and I share a profound love for scallops wrapped in bacon. Dinner was delicious and my mom was especially excited about the "taste of Philly" table which featured cheesesteaks and soft pretzels. We drank and danced and had a blast. My cousin John Patrick gave the most epic speech that had us laughing and muttering "awww" at the same time. Was a great family adventure.

My parents stayed until Monday morning when it was time for me to get back to the grind. Unfortunately as soon as I walked in the door I got slammed with some bad news. A former resident from my work who was an active community leader/board member/networker passed away suddenly over the weekend. I met her last year at our annual gala and helped her get over her nerves before she gave a big speech to the audience. I became known as "the girl who helped me get through my speech" after that. When she'd come to my work on various occasions, she'd seek me out to say hello. She also introduced me to her friends as "the girl that helped me get through my speech." Needless to say in the short time I knew her, she meant a lot to me. As my parents drove off I sat at my computer completely shocked at the turn of events. She was young and had two children. I just couldn't wrap my head around that loss.

I didn't have much time to process the events because I had to work hard and head to school that evening. I started my Arts Criticism Writing class. The following day I worked late, helping the kids with the tutoring program I run. Then on Weds, I got up bright and early since I had to leave work early for school. Weds night I had my Writing Humor class and then it was on to my next adventure: the Philadelphia Point in Time Count.

From 12am-3am, I would team up with a group of people, be assigned a zone and literally count the number of homeless individuals we encountered, survey them, and give them a gift card. Of course nothing is as it seems for I was not assigned to a team at first. I met the other "free agents" by chance and eventually joined a team by association. It ended up being the best damn team I could have asked for. Four individuals from Project H.O.M.E. and their co-founder Sr. Mary Scullion joined us. (She's kind of a big deal in the social work world). We were assigned to part of downtown Philly/historic district and parts of Chinatown. Overall we found about 6-7 people, put 3 in overnight shelter, fed 3 and had a good night. I would definitely do it again!

As I crashed that morning, I was ever thankful for my nice warm bed. I got Thursday off due to the PIT Count running so late. Instead of sleeping my day away, I got up and did a ton of errands that I needed to do. Every year I host a girls only Super Bowl party, so I went grocery shopping to pick up a few things. I had a great conversation with a Trader Joe's worker about "what exactly does it mean to be gluten free?" Since a friend of mine is a gluten free vegan. Then I was in the checkout line and the cashier asked me if I warmed up with some coffee. I told her I was not having coffee that day since I had 20 oz of straight espresso the night before. I told her a little about the PIT count and as I was paying for my groceries she gave me a free candy bar "on Trader Joe's" for my work with the homeless. That was pretty cool. I left feeling great!

I also did my laundry since my parents were here for laundry weekend. It was a struggle and I didn't get home until 7:30pm. By then I was so tired I made a grilled cheese sandwich and passed out early.

Which brings us to this morning. I attended the funeral of our former resident. It was beautiful but emotionally draining. I left the funeral 2.5 hours later feeling exhausted. My brain eventually shut down around 5:30pm and by 6 I was staring at my computer trying to figure out what on earth I was going to eat for dinner tonight. I decided to skip the gym and get takeout. It was a great decision.

So a lot happened in a very short amount of time. I've run a gauntlet of emotions. Oh! Also, Main Course's website is up and running. My classes are going to be really fun (though I have to be more patient with undergrads...they are just learning and everything), I've got a lot of exciting things coming up again including my Super Bowl party, a concert, an art class, and a gym membership appreciation party. Never a dull moment, that is for sure.

Until next time...

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