It’s almost 8 a.m. in Jamaica Plain on Saturday morning. A mixture of rain and snow is coming down outside my window, and the house is quiet, as the rest of my community members are either still asleep or out of town for the weekend. This is early for me to be awake on a Saturday morning, but I can hardly sleep in anymore. That’s just one of many things that these past six months have changed about me.
Exactly six months ago today, I was in transit from St. Louis to Baltimore for JVC Orientation. I think about those early moments of JVC frequently–awkwardly meeting my community members for the first time, some of our first pivotal conversations, finally arriving in Boston and being welcomed by the FJVs, walking to Casserly House during Local-O and meeting S. Nancy and some of the ESOL students, riding the T, wandering around downtown…
For some odd reason, one of the moments that sticks out the most vividly in my mind is the first night sleeping in what has become my room for the year. I remember falling asleep that night with the bed a mess, the room halfway rearranged, my possessions in a jumbled pile, the windows open and the sound of the commuter train and traffic passing by outside. I was completely exhausted, physically and emotionally, and I just kept thinking about how surreal–and exciting–all of this was. This was going to be my room for the year; I was really going to call this city home for the next 12 months.
Over the past six months, my walls have become an ever-evolving collage of sorts with the things posted up that have been meaningful to me this year so far (rest assured that if you’ve sent me a piece of mail, it’s probably on my bedroom walls); it hardly looks like the same place as that evening, but I still recognize that same potential when I look around at night.
At the beginning, JVC felt like a chance for reinvention: a chance to start over. While that was true in some regards, I think that I sometimes forgot that even though I’m in a new place where I’m surrounded by new faces, at the end of the day, I’m still me. I still have the same flaws, memories, and quirks to deal with on an everyday basis. But I’m learning.
Month six was a difficult one–probably the most difficult one yet, on many levels. I have had some real struggles on both personal and professional levels–or perhaps more accurately, in the strange mixture of personal and professional that I now inhabit on an everyday basis. The interesting thing about JVC is that we really can’t compartmentalize our lives here; what we do at work is so intimately connected to our personal lives.
As I am now at the real halfway point, I think about what I have already gained over the past six months, but somewhere along the way, that question stopped being as important to me as a few of the other ones. These days, I wonder what have I given? What am I giving? What do I have left to give?
short weeks. submitting my first grad school application. re-o. many, many good conversations. board games. hot chocolate. not stepping foot outside for days. lots of laughs. the pastoral circle. another jv talent show. lunch at bread co. with portland.
my birthday. cake with the after school kiddos. surprises. balloons. crisitina dancing in my room. brittle. kate’s package. cards. belated packages from mom with coffee cake. intense weeks and conversations. finishing grad school applications. casserly house board meetings. sissy k’s. the mfa. movie nights. st. cecelia’s and spiritual direction. hot chocolate.
getting accepted into grad school. being an emotional sponge. the end of the casserly house book off. stress baking + homemade oreos. one of the most exhausting weeks. the eneagram (i’m a four). new york pizza + wally’s cafe. homemade challah. movie days. st. cecelia’s. foley’s superbowl party and stories with dave. not caring about the patriots.
visits from jvc staff. learning patience: with myself and others. making valentine’s. mid-year evaluations and positive affirmations. casserly house valentine’s day party. sam adams brewery tour + doyle’s.