January was a pretty crazy month. The YAVs made it through the holidays in a new place with new people and started the new year together. We were also able to have visitors and go on vacation so the Boston YAV house was (and still is) in constant flux. I took two week-long trips to very different places for very different reasons.
The first was an unplanned trip to Minnesota for the funeral service of my great-grandmother, Stella. She lived a very long, full life- 96 years- a was even a great-great-grandmother. She was loved by many, and even though we knew it was her time and her body was shutting down, it was still hard to accept. I’ve known her my whole life and didn’t know anyone older than her. We were sad for us and happy for her; it was a celebration of her life and all the love she had for her family, and we know that she is now at rest and peace.
My family rallies really well. We might not have seen each other in a long time, but that doesn’t matter when we’re finally together. We laugh as much as we cry, and often at the same time. We tell old stories over long-forgotten pictures and are there to support each other when you can’t do things alone.
My great-grandmother had a rough beginning and lived through things, time periods, and wars that I can never imagine. My only regret is not knowing more about her life before she was our “grandma” Stella. I will carry her memories and love with me for the rest of my life.
My other trip was the last week of January to DC for Bread for the World. I was home just over a week from Minnesota before I had to pack my suitcase again. This trip had been planned for a while, and I had been excited and really nervous to spend a week with a lot of new people. I flew to Baltimore and took an Amtrak train to Union Station in DC, which was pretty exciting since I had never been on an Amtrak train or been to DC. I navigated around the metro and found my hotel, which happened to have a view of the capitol. It was pretty unreal.
I spent a lot of my free time walking all over DC, using my phone’s GPS until I got used to the city, taking pictures of the monuments (the only thing that was free and open at the end of the day.) And yes, I took a few awkward selfies.
During the day I was in meetings with the Bread for the World organizing department and occasionally in all-staff meetings. I am used to normally working by myself and occasionally meeting with a few people a week, and I was suddenly surrounded my dozens of people with names and departments I was trying to remember. There was time built into the schedule for morning prayer (and breakfast!) and time to connect/network with people we normally don’t get to see. I took advantage of this as much as I could, but it was hard as the new intern who will only be here for 6 more months.
Everyone at Bread is extremely kind and welcoming, genuinely interested in everyone’s work and how we can all work together. Someone saying in a meeting that they would like to raise up their colleague and call attention to their great work is the norm, not the exception. It’s probably not the best introduction to a grown up job in an office environment; I imagine it is not so welcoming, supportive, and connectional in the corporate world.
I am excited to be a part of such a dedicated organization that is giving me such an amazing opportunity. I am ready to begin doing presentations and workshops in the Boston area, and see where my months of volunteering and connecting will lead me for the second half of the year.
I am home again for about two weeks before I take a planned vacation back to Georgia to visit friends. I can’t believe we are half-way through the year!