Monday, June 25, 2012

Put it away, Portland!

What can I say about Portland other than it being it incredibly beautiful and inspiring city? As I mentioned to so many friends once I returned, everyone is so nice! I guess my shock heavily stems from the cynicism that the east coast as so beautifully cultivated for me. By the end of the week, we were all saying, "Put it away, Portland!" because it just didn't seem real.

There are two main reasons why Portland has become so endearing to me.  One is because for once, I felt like there were so many individuals like me there.  Yes, this is a very superficial observation as I was only there for six days.  But I guess what I mean is there the common community seemed to be conscious of things that I care deeply about such as nature, taking care of the earth, being kind to strangers, and drinking good beer! But seriously- there was a different, more laid back authentic feel to Portland. As a colleague astutely pointed out to me- I probably encountered a lot of "granolas" insinuation that I am one.  I am not going to deny it.

The other reason was that I was able to meet up in this beautiful town with some of the closest friends I will ever have.  The last time I saw Corrie and Allyn was two years ago, when we tearfully parted ways in Akron, PA after spending such emotionally intense and wonderful year together in Bolivia. I stayed in Lancaster and they flew back to their homes, Michigan and eventually Oregon. And when we reunited again in Portland, so much had changed in each of our lives but conversation picked up almost as if we had never parted.  You don't have the opportunity to have many friends like that in lifetime.  We can have deep discussion and light hearted conversation all within 10 minutes.  These are two women that I have deep respect for and love dearly and I  know we are going to be life long friends.

Corrie and Allyn- Are you ready for reunion 2013 in PA?! This time we are not going to allow two years to go by.

Life in Portland as we knew it (all photos taken by Allyn and Corrie)-

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

School year ends

We said goodbye to all of our students on last Thursday at program. They came into program the last day with their hair drenched, sun kissed faces, and sleepy eyes.  Pool day had worn them out!

So as a result, it was a quiet last day. They ate snack, watched movies (or slept during the movie),  ate dinner, and finished their movies.

It was bittersweet moment as many of the kids who departed that day would either be at a different elementary school next year or moving onto middle school. As I watched all of the kids leave with heir families, I remembered what I had said to one of the little first graders who had broken down in tears the day before because she is going to a different elementary school next year- "We are all on a journey and this is the next step for you in your journey! You will keep your friends here and make new friends at your new school."

And it is true.  I know that as I continue in my life journey, I will meet and encounter people who will help to shape who the Creator has destined for me to be. While at times it is bittersweet, it is what makes life meaningful and beautiful.