July 14, 2010

Here we go

In about 12 hours I'm jetting away from my beloved Pacific Northwest for two years. Leaving mountains and cool sea air for sun and sand and stifling humidity. Leaving to start something that I can only imagine will be a giant adventure. Leaving to push and challenge myself, to learn and love and grow. I am so excited. And so ready!

I've created a new blog on which I'll record day-to-day happenings, info about Micronesia, etc. You can link to it here. I'll still (hopefully) post on this blog when I feel like reflecting on something that isn't necessarily related to Micronesia. Feel free to check both!

Thanks for reading, and most of all, thanks for all of the love and support as I take this next step. It means the WORLD to me!



June 24, 2010

Leaving something you love

Today I had my first real taste of having to leave something I love because of Micronesia.

Tonight was my last Thursday night modern class; I class I've faithfully taken nearly every Thursday since last August. Over the course of the last 10 months I've gotten to know and dance with some of the most amazingly wonderful people. People who are infinitely encouraging, joyful, hilarious and supportive beyond measure. With the help of their awesome energy and an incredible teacher, I have grown as a dancer in ways I couldn't have imagined. As someone who's always loved dance, but didn't dive into it until late in life, it has been amazing to find a studio, a class and a teacher that together created the kind of environment in which I wanted to come back week after week to grow and learn and move - without ever feeling judged or inadequate. Thursdays have been the highlight of my week for most of the past year. I'm going to miss this incredible group of people terribly!

Despite the sadness of leaving my dance family, I still feel so good about Micronesia. It's that feeling in the face of tough things like leaving something I love that lets me know I'm making the right choice in embarking on this journey.

June 23, 2010

I'm a free woman!

I am officially unemployed. Today was my last day of work at the organization where I have spent the last nearly 16 months of my 9-5, Mon-Fri life. Which, by the way, is the longest I've been employed anywhere. So, it felt rather odd to suddenly wrap up 16 months of work and relationships and say goodbye to the people I've shared that with, most of who I may very well never see again.

Man, oh man - at the same time, it's starting to feel good. I can feel the juices flowing again - I'm blogging already (which you all know well is rare), I'm free to accomplish the things that I need to accomplish, I can walk the lake when I want. It's going to be glorious for the three weeks that I have to savor it.

But who am I kidding, really? After three weeks I head the NYC to visit friends and then Boston for two weeks of JVC training, and then finally Micronesia on August 1st. I may only have three weeks of "days off", but I've got two years full of untold adventure and new experience waiting for me. Not bad, right?

I'm off to enjoy my first evening of unemployment - a glass of white wine and So You Think You Can Dance with my roomie.

May 31, 2010

Words of wisdom

Something I stumbled upon on a Peace Corps Volunteer's blog:

It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out.

I want to repeat one word for you:

Roll the word around on your tongue for a bit. It is a beautiful word, isn't it? So strong and forceful, the way you have always wanted to be. And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don't worry. Everything will still be here when you get back. It is you who will have changed.

- Donald Miller

The way you have always wanted to be. I love that line. A significant part of why I'm doing JVC is because it feels like a means of becoming the way I have always wanted to be.

May 9, 2010

A major update - for real

Barring any unforeseen tragedies of the type that lead to the loss of my last update post, this post will give some insight as to the major changes that are creeping up on me in these next few months.

And by major, I do mean MAJOR.

Because, my dear friends, in August I am moving to Micronesia for two years. Micronesia! Can you believe it?

A little background:

It all started back at the end of December 2009 with a lovely roommate looking to help me channel that itch to serve abroad that had been pestering me since high school. Turns out my time in France (although absolutely wonderful) didn't quite cut it. I was looking to go abroad again, this time for a service experience. Something deep and long term, and something that would yank me out of my comfort zone.

Boy did I find it.

At the suggestion of the roommate mentioned above, and with the guidance of another dear friend, I began my application to the Jesuit Volunteer Corps 15 days before it was due. I managed to pull together 4 letters of recommendation, write a few essays and what felt like a million short answer questions, visit the doctor and order my transcripts - all with a day to spare. A week after turning in my application I found myself up for a 7:00 am phone interview with a recruiter in Washington DC. In mid March, I made my way down to Santa Clara University to attend a discernment weekend with 15 other candidates for the program and a mere two weeks later I received the phone call that has ultimately determined the next two years of my life.

Which brings me back to present day, in which I am leaving for Micronesia in three months.

So what exactly will I be doing, you ask? I'll be teaching high school (not sure which subject) at Saramen Chuuk Academy. Schooling is conducted in English in Micronesia, so whatever I do teach will be more than simply English language skills. I will be living with four other volunteers, three of whom have been serving for a year, and the fourth of whom will be new like me. I'll be serving in the state of Chuuk (Micronesia, or the Federated States of Micronesia, is made up of 4 states), on the island of Weno. FSM is in the Western Pacific, approximately east of the Philippines, southeast of Japan and north of Australia.

Here's a bit more about the organization I'll be serving with:

The Jesuit Volunteer Corps is a Catholic nonprofit organization that operates both domestic and international volunteer programs. To pull from its missions statement:

The Jesuit Volunteer Corps offers women and men an opportunity to work full-time for justice and peace. Jesuit Volunteers are called to the mission of serving the poor directly, working for structural change in the United States, and accompanying people in developing countries. The challenge to Jesuit Volunteers is to integrate Christian faith by working and living among the poor and marginalized, by living simply and in community with other Jesuit Volunteers, and by examining the causes of social injustice.

Volunteers live together and are asked to commit to the four JVC values of social justice, simple living, spirituality and community. Over 300 volunteers are currently serving throughout the country and around the world.

Needless to say I'm experiencing a whirlwind of emotions at the thought of this new phase in my life. I'm excited to get out and experience something new, I'm sad about leaving friends and family and the things I love about my life here in Seattle, I'm curious about that which awaits me on the other side of the Pacific, I'm nervous about whether I'm up for this commitment and hopeful that half the battle is simply committing and that the rest will fall into place once I'm there. I've known for about a month that I'm going, but things are still settling in and I'm not quite sure that I've truly been struck with the reality of it all. It's surreal that three months from now I'll be living on a tiny tropical island in the Pacific.

This post has been a bit frenetic, but I hope to post more in the months leading up to my departure with details about why I'm going, what I'll be doing and general background about Micronesia.

I invite all of you to visit my JVC fundraising page, here, to learn more about the program, and about ways you can support my journey.

Thanks for reading! Any thoughts or prayers you might want to send my way as I prepare for this journey would be greatly appreciated. I'll keep you in mine as well. :)

May 5, 2010

Time for an update...almost

I might cry. I just spent about an hour crafting the perfect post with which to inform you all, dear readers, of the next phase of my life. It was reflective, it was elegant, it was two or three sentences from being published.

I just accidentally erased that post.

May 25, 2009

Under construction...

...playing around to make my blog more fantastic...