A Check Off the List

At the end of last summer, I completed a personal milestone (and no, it wasn’t turning 25…yuck).

I finished my term of AmeriCorps!

Let’s take a peek at the numbers, shall we?

6000. Approximate amount of scholarship.

1700. Hours of community service completed.

42. Number of kids served.

6. Number of families I feel I impacted.

9. Lasting friendships made with other AmeriCorps.

4. People I can count on for a great recommendation.

12. Months of service.

1. Child I continue to mentor.

2. Bitter relationships left over.

1,560. Approximate number of life lessons learned.

Everything else can’t be broken down into numbers. I learned a lot last year–about myself, and about others. Were these the lessons I thought I would learn? Not even close.

At the beginning of the year, we wrote ourselves a letter detailing what we expected from the next twelve months.

It was a depressing letter because everything I wrote about had in fact, not happened. I wasn’t staying another year in AmeriCorps as I had assumed, the Boyfriend and I were not ready to be engaged (and still aren’t) and I’m still uncertain how much of an impact I had on the kids.

However, I did learn how to be professional, even if I’m brawling or bawling inside.

I did learn bucket loads about the systems here in the United States: the immigration system, the health care system, the education system.

I learned how to get over my fear of public speaking.

I learned how to network.

I learned how to quiet down a class of middle-schoolers and gain their (temporary) respect.

I learned how to make my hair look semi-professional on a regular basis.

I learned how to go to a 9-6 job every day, and make it there (mostly) on time.

I learned how to live with a boy.

I learned how to survive a commute and drive in the big city.

Most of all, I learned that life rarely follows a plan, and that it’s really hard to let go of the plan you wanted to have.

Although it’s cliche, John Lennon said it best: “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

Airports

Here I am, sitting in the Minneapolis airport by myself sipping coffee.

And you know what?

I love it.

I love all airports.

Please tell me someone else out there has this strange love affair.

It’s not that they are a glorious valhalla of the world’s cuisine.

Or that everyone is so friendly you can’t help but smile.

Or that they smell like flowers.

Nor is it the lovely security that is always easy, stress-free, fast, and never the place where you are praying it isn’t your feet you’re smelling.

click for source

Really, it’s the possiblity that makes me love airports.

I love that here is the open door to anywhere.

I could hop on a plane and jet off to Paris and be sipping this cafe-au-lait while people watching, with the Eiffel Tower out of the corner of my eye.

I could fly over to Belize for some reefs and ruins.

I could fly to Alaska to kayak among the glaciers and whales and polar bears.

I could fly to China to sleep on the Great Wall.

Airports are symbols of the most exciting times of my life: the first time I flew, when I went to Switzerland at 15 and officially got hooked on traveling.

The first time I flew alone, to the lake in California.

When I went to visit the Boyfriend in the Seattle–the first time I visited a boy and his family.

When the Boyfriend and I flew over the Cascades together–one of the most beautiful flights I’ve been on, and I was traveling with a boy for the first time.

When I went to Peru, terrified and alone, clutching my English-Spanish dictionary.

When I went to Southeast Asia with my cousin, with months of unplanned traveling and volunteering stretching seemingly endlessly ahead of us.

Despite the fact that I always get nervous going through security, I always end up eating junk food and getting sick, I love airports.

They represent the adventure of life, my dreams of seeing the world, and the forming of my independence. They have forced me out of my shell, warned me to keep my passport close at all times (and that leaving it in the bathroom of a Peruvian airport will only lead to bad things), helped me start seeing the great world, and showed me that where I come from deserves some love, too.

Being in an airport reminds me that life is the great world and that I’m just getting started.

Even if right now I’m just flying from Minneapolis to Denver.

Life Lately.

I know, I know.

You’re all D.Y.I.N.G. to hear if I’ve made my decision.

And I have.

But more on that later.

Right now, here’s a look at what’s been going on in my life:

Pictures include my parent’s visit, my cousin’s visit, activities with the kiddos, and a weekend in Rocky Mountain National Park!

I’ll update again soon, my friends. 🙂