Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Deep and Wide

Back from Texas. I have so many stories to tell, and I'm so excited about the stories I'll collect when I'm living there. The seven new VIDES volunteers lived, prayed, ate, slept, taught, worked, and spazzed out together for two and half weeks, and each and every one of the other volunteers taught me something tremendously important while we were together. It's strange to think I won't see most of them ever again, but I hope I'll keep in touch.

I'm helping with Bible camp number two, this time at our home parish of Jesus the Divine Word. The difference between Asherton and Huntingtown is rather stunning. Today, for example, I noticed the JDW wizards attached blue cellophane to the all the windows, in keeping with the sea theme, with glue dots. Glue dots? In Asherton, we coveted value-brand tape like mirror time in a sorority house (and got excited when we didn't have to wash our plastic plates). I'm not frowning on Huntingtown at all, I love it here, but the difference is chasm-like.

Anyway, I love my life, and I love that I get to spend the next month not only with pretty much zero responsibility, but also with my siblings. Looking forward to family adventures in San Antonio at the end of July (and seeing Tarry, Jaime, and Jess again).

I'm also rather surprised by and proud of myself for already not only pondering, but also looking at things to do after I'm done with VIDES. The top contender right now is the Alliance for Catholic Education. This would get me another two years of teaching experience, more service and community living, and a cost-free masters of education from Notre Dame. Sounds pretty sweet, right?

Whatever. God takes care of me.

Finally, a picture for you. I think I'm going to start including one with each post, since I have 3.7 gigs of them on my computer (that's roughly 3,000 pictures... I know. It's a disease).

Monday, June 18, 2007

Cups Running pt 2: Pictures!

A few pictures, as an ammendment to the previous post:

This looks like a post card, but it's an actual truck under an actual tree by an actual house.

Again, real back yard behind a real house.

Real kids. :-)

The room us girls are sleeping in.

Some of the group out for an evening promenade.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cups Running

So we're in Asherton. I don't have much time, so here's the short version. They have two convenience stores, an elementary school, a Catholic church, about 1,300 people, and a lot of stray dogs.

The vacation Bible school started Friday with about 100 kids. This is more or less the only thing that happens in this town during the summer, so the kids get really excited and the parents seem so glad to have us.

Every night, a town family makes us dinner (there are 18 of us, and so that's no small feat). As tiny as this town is, the people all know why we're here and they all wave at us when we're out walking. It's actually pretty amazing.

Happy Father's Day to the first person who taught me the value of integrity and dedication in everything. Really, it's his fault I'm here.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Dear family, friends, and associated persons

I miss you all. Texas is awesome and the other volunteers are wonderful. I'm excited about living and working here with the sisters and the kids, but so far at least I think I`m going to have to learn to do without your general sense of crazy wacky insanity and knowledge of obscure movie lines. On the upside, Jesus and Mary glow at me while I go to sleep. We leave San Antonio tomorrow for Asherton, a border town where we're running a vacation Bible school for the community's children. Expect LOTS of pictures when I finally get to a computer and more than 20 min free time. I love and miss you all!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Heartstrings (pt 1)

T-minus six hours until I fly off to San Antonio for two weeks, training for my new job. Yes, it's 4 a.m., and no, I'm not asleep. I was syncing up my mp3 player to my new music while watching season 1 of House (both very recently delivered) when Charlie came creeping down the stairs with that diabolical, irresistible grin and snicker of his. Rather than send him back to bed, I let him lie next to me on the couch and introduced him to Dr. House (Sorry, Mom and Dad). I did this mostly because I won't see the boy for two weeks.

My next-meetings with other people are less certain.

This leaving business is strange. It always was, but this time I think I'm "losing" more than I have before. The unique circumstances of college really do make an ideal petri dish for breeding some weird stories and developing some tight bonds. Of course, I grew up a lot the last four years, but I didn't have a whole lot to do with that. Any maturity I may have gleaned from my time in Newark has more to do with the chemistry between the things I experiences and the people I knew (know). The people, all of them, made the difference.

And they are what I will miss the most. College was fun, I liked it, but I'm ready for it to be over and ready to move on. To the great sigh-heaving chagrin of my sentimental little heart, this entails also moving (geographically) away from my friends, who have cemented themselves in said heart.

That is both a complication and a comfort, but mostly a comfort -- There is no doubt that I will never be rid of them, and they will never be rid of me. God doesn't build things like this just to take them apart, and that's another person that has doubtless had a hand in my life. Seriously, there is no way I could have or would deserve to have found and kept these people without a big dose of divine intervention.

Thank God. Thank you, my friends.

[I have no way of telling from here how often I'll be able to blog while in San Antonio. Han tight, dear readers!]

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Why I Love My Friend Erin

This is my best friend Erin (the girl in the foreground; the fellow in the background, while part of a good many stories himself, does not feature in this account). She is, in a word, ridiculous, and I'm quite fortunate to have found another person in this world who is as strange as I am... actually, probably more so. Moreover, our moods and life phases tend to bear an eerie resemblance. While that, again, plays no part in this tale, it does go a long way to explaining why we're so darned close.

Erin and I met through NCSC. We were both members of the host team for the D.C. conference in 2004. Erin was on the exec board in 2005 as the northeast regional chair, and again in 2006 when I joined her (simply unable to be parted from her as I was, I doubled my annual face time with the girl from just regional meetings to both regional and national meetings).

In March of 2006, she and I, along with three other members of our board, went to NCSC's Spring Break UN Study Session in New York City (yes, the same thing I went to this March). During the day, we attended seminars and listened to some of the most edifying speakers I've had the privilege of hearing. In the evening... well, we were ridiculous. You set a troop of friends who see each other four times a year loose in New York, you're going to get some crazy.

Which is where our story starts.

Erin, Josh, an assortment of other wonderful people, and I are walking down some long avenue in Manhattan. An unsuspecting suit approaches us, minding his own business. Erin spots this gentleman from about a block away, and immediately her impulsive and magnificent brain sets to work.

"Josh, look at this guy. He looks like you in ten years," she says. Josh replies with some standard chuckle and a yeah right. "No, really look at him. He's like your old twin." Yeah, ok Erin, sure. "Can we get a picture of you two together? Please?" Definitely, Erin, sure (this obviously meaning definitely not, Erin, no way).

When we and the Old Josh Doppelganger finally met like trains on parallel tracks, my beloved Erin actually breaks rank, stops this guy, and tells him he looks like our friend Josh in ten years and can we take their picture together?

Cue the rest of us looking shocked, bewildered, and very impressed. The Doppelganger graciously, if warily, agrees to pose for what will be one of the top ten pictures in history.

The results were not only the above picture, a good hard laugh, and an incredibly awesome story, but also the wonderful picture below, wherein Josh tells Erin, "I can't believe you did that. I'm going to kill you. I swear." Look at it. You don't even have to know the guy to see that he's beside himself with shock and humiliation.

To this day, a solid fourteen months after the fact, I still look at these pictures, laugh out loud, and want to call Erin.

In fact, I'm going to.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Sick day

This was always my favorite kind of sick day. Fish has the added benefit of a big sister who likes to cast her around like an accessory. Today we hit Target and Chipotle.