Saturday, May 31, 2014

Two Weeks

Two Weeks. Two weeks left out of this two year commitment to ACESJU are left.

Two weeks.

Two weeks left in the classroom. Two weeks left as a teacher, a mentor, a guide to my students.

Two weeks.

Two weeks left in community, living with 10 roommates, sharing one kitchen, always having people around.

Two weeks.

Two weeks seems so short and so long at the same exact time. 14 days will fly by, but the amount of work that needs to get done in those 14 days is astronomical. I need to wrap up loose ends, pack up both by room and my classroom, submit all final grades and paperwork, celebrate with ACE and graduate. That's a lot in two weeks.

There will be plenty of time for reflection later, but as scared as I am for the ending of these two weeks, I am incredibly excited for the future.

This summer, I'm taking my talents to N.C. for most of June to relax and reconnect. Chapel Hill/Triangle area friends, I'll be coming your way for sure!

Then comes July. After fourth of July I am embarking on what is sure to be an unforgettable trip to Spain with three of my current roommates to hike El Camino de Santiago, or the Way of St. James. We are hiking only a small part of the 500 mile pilgrimage, but I can't wait! Two days in Pamplona for the running of the bulls (unintentionally planned), 12ish days of walking, and then 4-5 days in Barcelona rounds up the month of July.

Then August. A week or two in Charlotte, then moving back to Philly into a location TBD, and start of the new job which I am simultaneously ecstatic and terrified for. Due to great timing, great connections, God's grace and some sheer luck, I landed a Research Assistant position at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, in the Psychology department. I'll be helping out on two projects, one focused on Bullying Interventions in Urban Schools and the other on Mental/Behavioral Health services in Urban schools. Finally, the 6 years of post-secondary education are all culminating together! I am so excited, though I am not 100% sure of what I'll be doing day by day, or how long I'll be there. But I think its a gateway to the career I would like to have one day.

So there it is. Even after telling myself I wouldn't, I am staying in Philadelphia for the time being. A new job, new adventures, and a new side of the city awaits.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day Memories

It's hard to believe that two years ago today, Ari and I were sitting on the banks of the San Fransisco Bay, freezing our tails off watching the fireworks for Memorial Day igniting behind the shimmering Golden Gate Bridge. Two weeks prior, we had become college graduates, packed up our house for the past two years and hopped in the car to drive across the country. Two years later, and I am again getting ready to pack up my house for the past two years, graduate and travel across land and sea. It's hard to believe that the na├»ve college graduate who embarked into the world two years ago, filled with excitement about being a "real person" is the same person who sits here typing. To the untrained eye, I am the same driven, obnoxiously happy and goofy, super organized person I was in college, the girl who  double majored, studied abroad, lived in Newman, inhaled Alpine begels and lived to bake cupcakes and laugh withe here friends. In many ways I still am the same person, but I discover more and more that not only have I changed, but so have all the people I left when I left for Philadelphia. I tried to the best of my ability to give my past two years of my life to God in service. How much I succeeded, I don't know how to measures or even if it's hold be something that I should try to measure. Friends have gotten married, moved across the country, settled down, refused to settle, started careers, changed jobs  and paths and become more into the people that God intended them to be over the past two years, and  it has been amazing to watch and sometimes participate in. Some have settled into some sort of normal pattern, though normal for the talented and selfless group of men and women I am blessed to call my friends can be a broad definition. Some are still searching.

 And I feel somewhere stuck in between.

I have trouble separating the everyday life from the tangible future. School ends in three weeks and pretty much a new life starts, but my day still feels like wake up, get Wawa, drive, teach,discipline, teach, laugh, teach, stared confused at their jokes, teach, eat, teach, pack up, go home, grade,sit in the dining room, netflix, dinner, laugh in the kitchen, shower, bed, repeat. Though the specific details of who I discipline that day or who I am laughing with in the kitchen may change from day to day, it is a pattern I am used to. The pattern will be broken soon, it will be open for change and alteration, and for the first time I don't have a template. For college, there was an outline, a skeleton or framework within which I lived for four years. After I accepts ACE, there was another framework to fit my life into for the next two years. Not that it wasn't challenging but there was a sense of control over working within a set frame. Come June 12, there is no pre-made frame. Do a need to build a new frame? Does this frame have a time limit? Does it have a location limit? Do I even need to build a frame within which to fit, or do I leave my picture with room to expand in all directions? Do I even need to be able to see the frame? 

God has been the master builder, setting the frames loosely, only I could see the framework for the past 24 years of my life. No, I couldn't see every twist and bend that it would take, but I had an outline. School has been the outline. With no set frame visible in the future, I come to realize that my faith needs to grow in order to move forward and work without seeing the frameworks' boundaries. I know I need to accept that only so much is within my control, but also that only so much can be seen when I look out on the horizon. We only see what is beyond the horizon when we travel closer to it, and explore the land in between us and the horizon. There is no skipping to beyond the horizon without first traveling the land between. It is up to us how spend the time between us and the horizon, whether we drudge through, live fearfully wailing a very fine line, or if we open ourselves up to experiencing all the journey has to offer.

There are some frameworks set motion. Come June 12  I will return to NC for some time for some vacation time, before fulfilling my ever growing wanderlust and venturing to Spain to hike a portion of El Camino del Santiago with three incredible women I got to call my roommates for the past two years. Two days in Pamplona (unintentionally during the running of the bulls, so that will be interesting), 12 days hiking/busing from Pamplona to Santiago de Compostela, and then 4-5 days in Barcelona. It is a religious pilgrimage, and while I go with the hopes of deepening my relationships with God, I am not sure what I am looking for, and would appreciate prayers for the journey. More Camino details to come soon!

After returning to the states, I return to Philadelphia to begin a clinical research assistant position at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, one which I have been incredibly blessed to have come into contact with right after ACESJU. A job awaits, but all the details of life that will surround this new job are hazy, and where this position may lead is unclear. I know where I would like it to lead, but as I've seen in the past two years, so much can change. So much can be altered in the course of days, weeks, months that I don't know where the frame may bend and twist as the future progresses. But as I was able to witness over the events of Memorial Day and the beautiful union of two holy individuals, "the one who calls you is faithful" and will guide and protect and love through all our lives.