Reintroduction

8/4/2011 -- A good friend of mine told me several weeks ago that I should continue blogging my life, not necessarily for any of you that happen to read this, but for me. So my goal with my new start is to reflect on things that have happened, how they've changed me, and how I can apply what I've learned to the future. Feel free to follow along or whatever, I got things under control even if no one ever reads this.

First post is something like half done, expected time of arrival: 1 week.



Friday, August 27, 2010

The Shaping of My Summer

 Verse: "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom." Ecc. 9:10

 Spanish word: Bromear: to joke or kid. "Solo bromiando!" Just kidding!

 Song: Thousand Foot Krutch - Wish You Well
 The reason I chose this song is not because I just went through some break up and I'm Wishing some girl well, it's because listening to this song I feel like he's talking to me in the chorus (this is discounting where he talks about being 16), and he's wishing me well on my "trip to find" myself. The tone also really hits home for me, I love acoustic stuff like this. Plus it's a cool song to play.

 Boom, summer is gone. Just that fast. Let me tell you how it all went down.

 It all started back before spring break sometime, probably as far back as late January or sometime around then. When ever it was, it was the time when the summer camps were coming to interview for their summer staff. In the Adventist world, it's one of those unspoken rites of passage. To be a true Adventist you put in a summer at a summer camp. And so I found myself in the midst of the cafeteria surrounded by all the NW Summer camps. Impulsively, I signed up for interviews and went through the interview process at four camps, but only managed to finish the paperwork for two of the above camps, Leoni Meadows and Big Lake. They have a lot of questions to answer! My solution is that they need to agree on a universal application for all summer camps. Then they would be flooded by a lot more then they could handle.
 Anyways, at the time of the Sifting (what I like to call the hiring process), I was set on going to work at Leoni Meadows down in California. My reason being that I was dating a girl that lived down there. The job worked out, but the relationship did not. The cool thing about that job is that Pastor Heinrich, the director of Leoni Meadows, used to be the director up at Sunset lake when I went there as a camper, so we had a connection.
 I ended up turning that job down and then did the one logical thing that I could come up with, I called up Pastor Monte to inquire about a job at Big Lake. I felt like I should, so I did. He was happy and offered me a job as a counselor, the reason he offered me that job was because I told him it was that or I wasn't even going to consider working there after my last summer in the kitchen. He obliged and that was that.
 My summer was looking good! It was soon after that, I don't really remember how long after, that Mariela gave me a call.
  Let me give you some background on that name. It was the first service day back at Walla Walla University, back in October sometime I think, I was ignorant and happily displaying it as I was walked around the fellowship hall looking for people I knew. It was then that a representative from the Children's Home Society, Leanna, approached me and asked me if I was interested in doing some volunteer stuff with some local kids. I was hesitant at first, she was a complete stranger asking nicely if I would volunteer my time for a cause I knew nothing about, but all she asked for was my email. I figured that the worst she could do was send me spam emails for the rest of my life.
  I didn't think a whole lot of it till I received an email several days there after with a list of positions there were that needed to be filled. Going through the list was disheartening, because one item after the other required certain times that I couldn't make. It was this moment in my life that I realized why being a 'Student' was considered an occupation to the IRS. One of the programs stuck out for me, the Boost Mentoring program. I sent her an email back apologetically blaming my classes for taking up all my time, but also explaining that doing Boost would work for me because of it's flexible hours.
  Before I knew it, I was sitting in the CHS (Children's Home Society) office having an interview with Mariela about the possibility of me volunteering for her in the Boost program. Turns out that she liked me well enough to give me some tests and a buncha paperwork to fill out. But within a week or two I was all set up to meet with Chris, the young guy I ended up hanging out with once a week for the rest of the school year.
 Mariela wanted to meet with me to re fill-out some paper work that one of her assistants had managed to lose. I'm not a huge fan of paperwork, but she offered me lunch so I agreed to fill it out for her.
 Upon finishing up the paper work for Mariela, she asked me a question, a BIG question. She wanted to know if I would be interested in working for her at the Farm Labor Homes (FLH) for the summer Rec program that she ran for the kids there. The only catch was that she couldn't promise any money in the deal. Let me tell you something though, Mariela is one of those people that has a passion for what she does, and it hit me hard the way she explained the needs of those kids out at the FLH. These kids are all Mexican (no negative connotation here), and I can't say that they are very well off. Mariela poured out her heart right then and there, and it was one of those moments where God practically dropped outta the sky to knock me across the face. My response to her was simply that I already had a job working at Big Lake. Ouch.
 Anytime that I have one of those moments where I'm about to change my whole life in one decision, there is one thing that I always do, without exception. I had my phone dialed to my mom faster than Michael Phelps can swim a hundred fly.
 We talked it out, it was either go back to Big Lake (where I had a not so good previous summer) or volunteer for CHS and watch a buncha kids. It was that conversation that I determined I had enough money to make the summer without a job, and since Mariela offered to let me stay with her, I even had a place to stay. It seemed perfect! I was in.
 I emailed (maybe called) Mariela to let her know how I was feeling about the whole deal. She was happy, happy to the degree that is not captured in a simple word in a blog. The catch was that according to the rules set by CHS, I wasn't legally allowed to live with her.
 There went my free housing for the summer, so I did what came to mind first, I posted for my status on Facebook that I needed a place to live for the summer. There was no way that I was going to stay in the dorm for the summer, one school year was more than enough for me. Lo and behold, within a day a friend of mine, Clayton, replied offering me his brother's room because his bro was headed out to Rosario for the summer. Perfect! Except he was kidding, but! I was serious about it, so he asked his dad and I was good to go because I knew Keith Bowman who had worked at Big Lake last summer. Crazy connections.
 Since I was now renting a room, I realized that I was probably going to have to get a job unless I wanted to lose a ton of weight over the summer by not eating. The funny thing was, another friend of mine, Camille, approached me after a class we had together, and with knowing nothing about my predicament for the summer except that I was going to be in Walla Walla volunteering, she told me about the little vegan cafe and bakery, His Garden, that her cousin managed. She said that they needed help for the summer, like paid help, like a job!
 That fell into place quite nicely and I had a job within a week and a half. That was simply because I knew Camille, that was Angela's reasoning for hiring me. Worked out great if you ask me! It was a good job, and really showed me that eating vegan really isn't all that hard and it can be quite tasty too!
 God really pulled some strings last summer for me. I dunno if you see that in my writing here, so I'm telling you straight up here.
 There I was, the Sunday after school let out I found myself moving in with Clayton and William and getting ready for some summer sweetness!!
 My schedule, on a normal day, entailed getting up about 7 or 7:30 and making it to a Bible study at His Garden by 8, then from about 9 to 10 I would read, dink around on my guitar, or work on whatever. Usually I checked my email in there too. At ten I would go to the FLH (Farm Labor Homes) and be greeted by the kids, my favorite part of the day! From 10 to 10:30 Vanessa would exercise the kids, and this usually involved exercising me as well. Then from 10:30 to 11:30 the kids were required to read, this was usually a hassle as you can imagine with kids anywhere from the ages of 5 and 6 to high school. We would divide them into their own levels and worked with small groups.
 Then after reading, we'd give them a snack, usually some kind of fruit or vegetable (Mariela was really set on giving the healthy snacks, which was great). Then, until lunch, they were free to play.
 We met with the kids on an outdoor basketball court right next to a big field that had two goals on it for soccer, so they had lots of room to run and play.
 For lunch, a government run program brought food for the kids, so we never had to worry about food except to make sure and order the right amounts. So I'd eat a lunch if it was vegetarian, and if not, I sometimes would bring my own lunch or go get some food at His Garden if I had some extra money, but a lot of times I got lucky because Mariela would bring me food!
 After lunch we'd sometimes have students from Walla Walla University's education department come out and have some kind of activity for the kids and sometimes we'd just plan on the fly and play soccer with them or basketball or something cool. On Thursdays though, Dustin, my supervisor, would set up a science experiment for them. So we did the baking soda and vinegar volcano and mixed oil and water to see one floating on the other and neat stuff like that.
 For me, I went to work at 4, and the program was usually done by 3:30, so there was enough time for me to go take a quick shower and get ready. His Garden was only open till 5 for the summer, so I usually put in a quick hour and a half to close down the place and then I went back to the house for the evening. Some nights, maybe 2-3 times a week, I'd go swimming to keep myself in shape, but most of the time I'd just come back and chill with Clayton, William, and Wyatt.
 My summer was pretty much the best summer ever. From it, I have determined that I would love to do something like that for a living, albeit a meager living, but a living nonetheless.
 The kids were awesome too, they all spoke both Spanish and English, so I was given the opportunity to practice and better my Spanish speaking abilities. The kids would spend most of the time laughing at my combination or words or how I pronounced different things, but that is what made it fun!! There were three little girls, probably 5-6 years old, that would always run up to me and grab my hand and shout "You're funny!" Then dash off giggling like crazy. Anything I said would just incite their laughter, it was hilarious!
 Have any of you ever played marbles?? Me either, but the kids there loved playing marbles and each had their own collection of marbles and some of the kids would just come to play marbles. That was cool, I lost many times to all the kids there.
 That was my summer. Pretty sweet if you ask me! Any spelling or grammatical errors are there because I didn't feel like going back and editing my stuff. Bear with me, it'll be alright. Next post: Preparations To Go!

 Prayer Requests:
  My dad in his job search. Going into his 19th month of unemployment. This is a severalfold requests, there are a lot of complications involved.
  My mom being home with no children to keep her company with me going to Peru, my sister in Tennessee, and my bro at Project Patch.
  My musings over my future. I'm trying to figure out where God is leading me and it sure ain't easy.
  The Touch of Love ministry for sure.
  More to come I'm sure. If any of you have prayer requests, I'd be glad to post them, but there are conditions. I have to know who you are, and I will not post anonymous prayer requests. If you want to be prayed for, we gotta know who's asking for the prayer.


Peace, Hope, and Love to you all.