Life is Beautiful and Wonderful and Lovely

So many incredible things have been happening in my life lately. I’m almost afraid to talk about them, like if I mention it too much the universe will realize it screwed up and all of the good will dissolve around me. At the same time, it feels like I have been working so hard for a long time and I’m finally seeing the result of all of the effort, which felt like it took so much longer than it should have to appear.

Back in January, pretty much on a whim, I applied for a summer job as a dialogue facilitator at Seeds of Peace. They’re most well known for their program that brings Israeli and Palestinian teens to Maine for a few weeks each summer to help them get to know each other, talk about the problems that exist between their countries, and try to establish relationships that may one day lead to peace. They’ve expanded to other countries in South Asia and the Middle East, and the organization is well known and regarded in the conflict resolution world almost as the hope of civilization. A while back they started a similar domestic program for teens in Maine, and more recently in Syracuse, to help address the growing problems these communities have experienced as their demographics have changed (primarily due to immigration, with most coming to the US as refugees and asylum seekers). It’s been a dream of mine to work in the conflict resolution field as a practitioner, and part of the problem with living in DC is most of the work is administrative, with little direct impact on or involvement in projects. Having spent last year being turned down for job after job, I really didn’t expect to hear anything back. But I did. And now in five weeks, I’m headed to the most picturesque camp you’ve ever seen in Maine to work as a facilitator with their domestic programs.

It’s hard to describe the feeling, but I was so run down from spending so much time not quite doing what I’d wanted to do professionally, and being told repeatedly that, sorry, another person had been hired to do what I had set my mind on as the perfect job, that I just lost my passion for what I’d invested so much time and energy to learning about. And now, it’s like I get to carry around this little light inside me that says yes, you’re good enough, and smart enough, and are going to have an impact. I’m so grateful to the people in my life that kept believing in me even when I was sure they were lying to make me feel better, until I could be the confident lady beast I’ve always been again. This is the start. For the first time in a long time, I can see where I’m headed, and it feels SO good.

So now we leave for Peace Corps in four months, and there’s so much happening in that time between loving DC, Seeds of Peace, and our impending month long road trip vacation extravaganza that I can’t ever stop being excited. It’s a little exhausting in the best way. Kyle wanted to go to Oregon on our road trip, and since our PC staging got pushed back a week, we had the time to add in a few days in Portland and the Oregon coast. Beach camping in a state with almost more craft breweries than people? Hell yes. I’ve been using a website called Roadtrippers to plan our journey, and I’m having so much fun just plotting our route (Kyle does not quite understand my compulsive need to figure out where we’ll be and what we’ll do on a daily basis, but I just don’t want to miss anything!) You can see where we’re headed here.

In the meantime, it’s my favorite time of year in DC and despite the humidity, I’m going to miss the hell out of this place and the people in it. Going to spend the next few weeks wringing out every drop of awesomeness out of this city before I have to leave it for the foreseeable future.

* Side note of accomplishment* The charity clothing exchange I helped organize was this weekend, and for it being the first year it was a pretty good success! We raised $560, half of which will benefit EWI, and are donating hundreds of items to Martha’s Outfitters. And it was really fun. Plus a picture of my herbs, a perfect spring day in our (communal) yard, and my favorite from hospitality suites at this year’s Rotary District Conference.

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