Thursday, January 27, 2011

Soul Service

I'm not sure what it is, but there is something inside of my soul that longs to do something hard, dirty and insignificant. Let me illustrate and explain. Today, I had my first serving shift downtown at the Dining Room, a free restaurant for those who meet income requirements. Several times previously I have done prep work, once plating deserts and another time rolling silverware in napkins. However, this time I got to be there while the patrons were eating.

This background brings me to my actual point. My job today was scraper. I stood between the serving line and the dish washing station and scraped food off of plates, combined any remaining drinks into one container, and sorted the dishes before taking them to Eddy who ran them through the washer.

It is not particularly glamorous work. I had an apron, but I still got food all over. It is repetitious, and the most major interaction is with the person working as busser, as they switch their full dirty tub with the one you just emptied. Still, the two hours I spent working went by so fast. Partially because I talked and joked with the Veterans for Peace working on the serving line, but mainly because this kind of service fulfills a deep need inside me.

Deep inside me, I crave to give service that is messy, relatively unimportant, and in the background. I feel like I'm truly serving, when no one knows who I am, where I'm just making a difference by doing something that must be done out of love. I find myself singing without paying attention, a sure sign that I am deeply happy. This kind of service satisfies my soul, and while some may call it grunt work I call it an opportunity and am thankful for it. My soul rejoices in half-eaten applesauce and I respond with joy and one of my special giant smiles.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

7 Quick Takes

Year 1, Term 2, Weeks 2 & 3

To my small but loyal following: life has been crazy the past couple of weeks, therefore I did not actually get a post in last week, but, here it goes.

1) Friends
This has got to be the first thing, because it has been the biggest update of the past two weeks. Last weekend, Quintin decided on Saturday night at the last minute that he wanted to go see Red, and wanted to know if I wanted to go too. I did, and I invited Cameron, Heather and Maggie to join us. It was an incredibly sucess. We took the bus to Springfield, hung out in the mall, watched the movie, then took another bus back and hung out at Maggie's apartment playing cards until 2 in the morning. This week was a similar experience, except we watched Due Date, Shannon and Nills came too and we played cards in my dorm until 1. This group has become like my little family at UO, and it is amazing.

2) Music
Neil, one of the music directors at the Newman Center, taught me a new grip for the tambourine, which makes it a lot easier to play. It was LIFE-CHANGING!!!! Last Wednesday I played along with "Let the River Flow" and it was so cool!!!

3) Espana
I have the opportunity to go to Spain this summer for 2 weeks for World Youth Day (the largest international gathering of Catholic teens in the world). I really want to go, and the biggest challenge will be figuring out how to raise the money (roughly $3,000). But, it would mean that I would be in Europe, probably Spain for my 19th birthday, which would be amazing!!!!

4) Spanish
I am absolutely loving my Spanish class. I can see myself improving, and I'm having fun with it. Also, I'm going to a discussion group once or twice a week, and that is fun and informative and it broadens my vocabulary so much with words that I will actually use. It rocks.

5) Work
For the past week or two I have been working as a transcriber for a website, which is dull work, but I get to work on my own time and listen to my music or audiobooks, which makes it go by quickly. However, last week I had an interview at a frozen yogurt shop. I felt like it went well, and I will find out this week if I was right!! eee! It would be a great job, right off campus and a lot of fun, so we'll see!

6) Cat Person
My friend Kala is amazing. She is a grad student in my major, I met her at Newman, when I walked in the door for the Thanksgiving food drive and she asked me "You Wanna Be My Buddy?!?" I guess technically I met her before that, but that was when we started being friends. So, she has been amazing for feeding me, and helping me out when I was having an awful day. In the process, her cats have been converting me to a cat person, especially Coco. I can see myself falling for cats, but don't have the will to stop myself. Well, a person can be both a cat and a dog person, right?

7) look up
I saw a shooting star the other night. I love stars.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

7 Quick Takes

Year 1, Term 2, End of Week 1
1) New, new, new
This was a week that brought a new beginning and many new experiences. I'm back at school, but I have new classes with new professors, a new start. At the same time, I also did some things I haven't done before, which I'll be talking about here.
2) Restaurant
I found my new favorite place to eat off campus. It's called Miso, and it is three blocks East of campus on 13th, right by the parking garage where I sometimes leave my car. It is a Japanese restaurant, and I me my friend Christina there for lunch earlier this week. It is phenomenal. I got a rice bowl with teriyaki chicken on top, and a huge bowl of edamame for under 6 and a half dollars.
3) Way to spend a Friday
This was an interesting Friday. I got up early (read 6 am) went to Mass at St. Mary's, bought a voodoo doughnut for breakfast, went to Newman for Rosary, had Spanish class, took a friend to lunch, baked cookies at the CHC, went to a radical art night, then went to a drag show at the LLC, and finally talked with a friend for several hours. Many new experiences in one day, some comfortable, some putting me way outside of my box.
4) Confidence
I am taking Spanish 111 this term, and in this class my instructor, Profesora Quarles, speaks almost all Spanish. Going into the class I was incredibly nervous, because my last experience with an all-Spanish class was a nightmare. However, I've been doing well in class, and when I went to a Spanish conversation club on Thursday, I was able to hold my own in conversations for an hour with only some breaks into English to explain things or words I didn't know. I find myself gaining confidence in my Spanish-speaking abilities, and even thinking in Spanish sometimes outside of class.
5) Muscles
Twice a week I have a class called Aerobic Funk. We work on choreographed pop-like dances to music. In doing this, I have discovered that I indeed do have abs, and leg and butt muscles-mainly because they all hurt. Ü Well, at least I know that by the end of the class I will be a better dancer, and a stronger, healthier human being.
6) Skype!
Yesterday, I got to Skype with my family for the first time. They finally got wifi, and my mom had brought home her laptop. So, as my little brother was moving into my room, I got to see and talk to the whole family, Mom, Dad, little brothers, the dog, and my brother's best friend who I just consider one of the family. It was great. I had been missing them. I got to see my Daddy, Victoria, brother Kieran and other dog right before I came back, but it had been about two weeks for my Ontario family, and I was homesick.
7) Road Trip Destination
My friend Heather and I have a phrase we call "getting off campus". When she is having a really bad day, we "go off campus". Last time, we went to Voodoo doughnuts at 11, then drove halfway to the beach, turned around because I was tired and the weather was bad, stopped at WalMart and the adoration chapel at St. Mary's. This week however, we made it all the way to the beach outside of Florence, watched the stars come out and got soaking wet, got some hot chocolate and had some locals recommend a fabulous restaurant where we split a pizza and played 10,000 before driving back. It was a great trip.

Monday, January 3, 2011

First Day

Meh. alsdkfj. In all fairness, it was a good day. However, it is 4:25 and I am ready for a nap. To be totally honest, there is a little bit of homesickness and unsureness setting in, which I should be surprised at. I know I'll be ok. It's just right now, I want to be someone special in the crowd, with everything around me feeling new again.
It doesn't help that today also brought book trouble. In an effort to spend the least on books, I ended up ordering several online, thankfully express shipping this time, and I do not currently have a Spanish book. That is, as I call it no bueno.
One other side note, I am absolutely getting out of my box this term. First off, Spanish still has me quite nervous, as it will be conducted almost entirely in Spanish. My last Spanish experience left me feeling incompetent and then I have been intimidated by the language as well as a bit lazy and not making myself speak the language. It should be a learning, growing experience. The other class that will put me outside of my comfort zone will be my Aerobic Funk dance class. I am completely out of shape, that is to say, my shape is round. I am nervous, but as is the case with my Spanish class, my Aerobic Funk teacher looks to be supportive and encouraging of all levels.
So, here it goes. Term 2, Day 1. It's over for tonight, and we'll see what tomorrow will bring.