I've been in Chicago (U of Chicago Campus- Hyde Park) for the past week for orientation and there has been lotz and lotz going on inside my head. I've felt so many emotions this week, that I'm exhausted! I had to isolate myself in my room tonight where I proceeded to sit and stare at the wall for 3 hours. I am so glad that I've had this time to prepare myself for the journey I'm about to embark on. The YAGM orientation leaders have been so wonderful and gracious this week! I really can't even begin to understand all the things that I will learn and discover about myself and about the community of the world over the next year.
I'm sure that many of you are already aware that I have some issues trying to articulte my thoughts, usually stumbling on my words or mumbling stuff that doesn't make sense or just changing the subject altogether when the topic makes me anxious or brings up difficult emotions. With that said, this week I've literally spent hours and hours talking, listening and contributing my thoughts and opinions to our group (a group of 50 young people from all over the US). Needless to say there have been some laughs at my expense when I start to ramble and my eyes daze over as I attempt to explain a thought...lolcatz. The group of people I've been surrounded with this week have been hilarious and it's been such a good time getting to know them all. The other 4 people in my Argentina/Uruguay group are pretty schweeeettt, too. I think I am the youngest, but we are all in somewhat similar life situations, so we have a lot to talk and laugh about.
As I said, we've been given a lot of things to think about this week and I feel so much better prepared because of it. I have to be honest- I literally avoided thinking about leaving all summer, every-time my mind would turn to Argentina or the future, I would change the subject or say "I don't want to talk about it". It's difficult to imagine being away from my family and my friends (many of whom ARE family to me) for so long. I've always struggled being alone- I think having Claire and Mary around my entire childhood is probably one of the many reasons why that is. The thought of living alone in a foreign country where a community is relying on me and anticipating my arrival scared me to death to be frank. However, learning new ways of listening to myself and my body and understanding my own personal needs and abilities has been a great way of alleviating that fear. I didn't allow myself the time this summer to really think about this year, so when I inevitably packed the day before leaving I felt very rushed and confused and sad. I really needed this week of community and I feel very at peace with my decision to commit to YAGM and the responsibility that I have to myself, my community and to the ELCA.
Sidenote: At the request of my country coordinator I've started reading a book called, 'The Dance of the Dissident Daughter" by Sue Monk Kidd and I am LOVING it so far. It explores the journey of a women rediscovering her faith and spiritual 'essence' in light of her feminine awakening. I will update later with my thoughts once I read some more of it.
Thanks for reading!