Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Making my dreams come true! AKA- My summer plans!

About 11 years ago I witnessed a bad car accident and the amazing skills of volunteer fire fighters and EMTs. From the moment I saw the vols in action, I knew I wanted to be one of them. A few short months later, and I was a certified fire fighter complete with a yellow helmet. But most importantly, the volunteer bug had bitten me, and I knew I wanted to give back to the community whenever possible.
This my baby sister Steph.  I can't find any pics of me as a FF/EMT. But let it be known, I was almost as cool as my sister .

Not long after I became a FF/EMT I went to Romania and discovered my love for international travel and international volunteer work. And again, my love for volunteering increased. And I discovered a desire to want to work in less developed countries.

Years passed, jobs happened, and life moved on. But one thing never changed- my overwhelming desire to get involved at a very deep level in volunteering in a less developed country. But people tend to not hire women who specialize in marketing firearms to go work overseas. So I sought out different opportunities to go abroad to volunteer, but nothing ever seemed to work out. Meanwhile, I found plenty of great opportunities to serve at home, and took advantage of those. (Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Boys and Girls Club are just 2 examples. Also serving at church with the youth program really meant a lot to me.)

When I finally got the opportunity to volunteer in Haiti it all just clicked in me. I knew it was time to start returning to that feeling I had felt nonstop for so many years and get more involved in volunteerism.

Haiti earthquake orphan

I don't know if words can even explain how the little girl in the picture above changed my life. Is it possible for a photograph to capture a life changing moment? It was right then as I held darling little Nathalie that I knew I would be following my instincts and dreams, and not returning to a more regularly prescribed 9-5 life. I still dream about that little doll, and wonder about the life she might have had.

All of these experiences are what lead me to signing up for the Peace Corps. Again, joining the PC was not a hard decision for me. I knew I wanted to do it. But it isn't easy to choose to leave your "normal" life behind, even if the life you are living is not the "normal" that you want. The big delay the Peace Corps presented me with last week broke my heart. I am 100% ready to leave with them today, if they would just take me.

But the delay is there, and so I spent a few days mad and sad, and suffering from a broken heart on a different front. And then I picked up the pieces, asked myself what it is I have always wanted to do, and what do I need to be doing to reach the next levels of my life. I suddenly have a lot of time on my hands, and thanks to getting out of debt, favors, and hard work, I suddenly am not constrained by finances anymore.

So what do I want to do with my life, or at the very least, with my summer?
I want to serve more. I LOVE SERVING. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if Mormons had nuns, I'd be the Mother Theresa of Mormons.
I want to date dang it. I'm so freaking bored here. I want to meet some men.
In the bigger picture and longer term, my ultimate "professional" goal is to work in or with orphanages.
I want to travel more. Not for the stamp in the passport. That's not me. I travel to truly experience other customs and appreciate other walks of life, and enjoy the people. While I loved staying with my family at the resort this past month, that's really not my style. I'm not the type to stay in a nice hotel or go on a cruise. I'm a much more organic traveler that is in it more for the learning experience than the fun of it all.

To find the answers to my happiness and future I talked to family and friends, looked into options, and put some feelers out there. But most of all I prayed and listened. And now my summer looks like this-

This week- go to youth conference with the teens from church. More on this tomorrow!
Next week- work, work, work, and make some money!!
Work some more the next week.
Go to the DC Singles Conference the following week.
Pick up "Little" and show her around Virginia!
Go to Girls Camp with the girls from church.
Have a few low key days where I'm sure I'll just work, work, work!
Speak at a singles conference.
And then, drum roll please!!!
I'm headed to Cambodia to work in an orphanage for a month!

CAMBODIA!

cambodia


I'm so excited about this! I really cannot believe how fortunate I am to have found this program. I made it clear to them that I am not looking for a "hold the cute babies" program. I really want a program where I can learn more about the administration, politics, funding, etc that goes into running an orphanage and private foster care system. And the people I am working with are happy to help me with that. This program will help open doors for me professionally as I work to change my career from for-profit to non-profit, especially as I continue to look for long-term assignments overseas. Just 15 degrees above the equator, this is a dream come true for me.

This summer has just gone from dull and sad to suddenly the most exciting and opportunity filled summer I could dream of. I can't wait!!!!

Funny sidenote: I found out that Cambodia was a real possibility on Saturday while with a church group. Overwhelmed with possibilities and excitement I blurted it out to a man from church that was standing nearby. "I just got accepted to go to Cambodia to work in an orphanage. Ugh, now I have to figure out how to tell my parents!" He looked at me funny and said, "Your parents who live in XYZ country?" (I nodded.) "You think they will have a problem with Cambodia??" I replied, "Its not the Cambodia part. Its the volunteering in an orphanage part I don't think they will care for." He looked at me funny for a minute then said, "From what I know about you, the orphanage part was the part that made the most sense!" 

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on your amazing news! It's great that you know what path you would like to take and that you've found a way to continue down it.

    Hope your singles conference is lots of fun. I just went to one here in Utah. The classes were spiritual, the dance awful. I talked to two men who said hello and one comment, then weren't interested in talking to me. Definitely not what I would have hoped would happen, but I'm starting to realize that's as good as it'll get for me. Good classes.

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