Today I send you to the blog of Kikipotamus the Hobo, a blog I read on occasion. I think you’ll enjoy it, and you can find a comment I made under her writing. (If you do enjoy it, you can find the link to her blog on my “blogroll” on the right column.)
So I’ve been on the road for 4 weeks now, with one more to go, and I think I’m ready for it to be over. It’s just exhausting! I don’t think it’s really the driving or even the sleeping in a new place almost every night — it’s just that I rarely have down time to “be.” And for me, I need some of that to help me keep on going.
I love to travel, I do, and I’ve really loved getting to see so many familiar faces of family and friends, but it’s just hard (for me, at least) to be working all day, talking with people I’ve set up meetings with (I actually love that part) and then trying to engage people passing by my display who have never heard about LVC — and then I get to my host house and want to be social and chat and spend some quality time with them, but by the time that’s all over, it’s at least 10, usually 11, and I hardly have any time to myself to recharge my introvert batteries before I need to get to sleep to start the day all over again!
Plus, I miss DC. As much as I’ve lived in a variety of places these past 18 months, there’s something to be said about a consistant community to be around. Even being in a place as short at 7 weeks, I developed a community I was comfortable with. But here on the road, it’s “me, myself, and I” changing locations every day (or two) and entering into a new community where I get to meet people that I’ll (likely) never see again. I’ve gotten used to the changing of communities in which I’m a part of, but the lack of community, that’s very hard for me.
So I look forward to this time next weekend when I’ll be back in DC, reuniting for a Saturday evening out with my fellow short-term recruiters (I wonder if they’re feeling similar things) and then connecting with the many others from DC that I’ve missed during this month-long pilgrimage. I still won’t have my own room or my own bed to sleep in, but I will have a place of comfort, peace, and love — I’ll have a home.
(For more thoughts on home, click for one of my previous posts.)
It began one Thursday night in DC. We were looking for something to do, so we thought about heading to a concert. The website said there were still tickets left, and since it was only about 4 blocks down the street, we decided to go, no matter the outcome.
We walked the few blocks, past the main entrance and started to stand in the long, long line. There were people talking about it being a sold out concert, people walking up and down the line looking for tickets, but we didn’t care. We didn’t have much better to do (well, we could have been working, I guess, but we really needed a break of some sort), so we decided to stay in line anyway. The talk sounded like the line of massive people was simply for will call, but how could that be? There were so many people in the line. So we figured we just stand in line until we got to the front.
It was a “hipster” crowd, so the people watching was prime. I, with my longish, flowing hair, kind of fit in (at least much more than I would have 18 months ago), but it was still a fun crowd to watch and overhear conversations of. One of the guys in the group in front of us had no money, and it seemed like he was a bit of mooch in getting money to possibly buy a ticket (since he didn’t have one himself). And of course, the cool clothing that I’ll maybe one day have myself.
When we got closer to the front, I stepped out of line to see if there was any signage, and, to be expected, a nice 8 1/2 by 11 in. sign declared, “TONIGHT’S CONCERT IS SOLD OUT!” I relayed the information and we walked back to the record store that we had seen when we started waiting, but unfortunately it was closed. Our night was over, lasting maybe 30 minutes or so, but it was a great time. We agreed to do it again sometime.
As so extreme urban queuing was born (EUQ for short, which I particularly like because it’s QUE backwards — I would have liked it to be QUEUE backwards, but I didn’t want to be too greedy). I think you should try it sometime. It’s fun, and you still have the rest of the evening ahead of you. And it doesn’t have to be for a sold out concert — you can just stand in a nice, long line, and then duck out when you get to the front. There are so many possibilities to be explored. I’d be interested to hear if you have more ideas :)
So as you are (or you should be) aware by now, I’m on the road now, talking with people about my experiences with Lutheran Volunteer Corps. As part of that, I wrote a longer reflection about LVC and the issues around LVC that are important to me, as well as describe a bit about the program. As always, the LVC website is a great place to get the basics of LVC, but I thought you might be interested in reading my little “sermon” about my experience with LVC and why I support its mission.
Depending on your desire, you can pick from two options:
They’re exactly the same, except the “religious” one is a bit longer with a Biblical context inserted into the main idea. I’d read one and then maybe look at the differences because reading both really wouldn’t be that exciting.
I’ve been challenged to think lately, which has been good timing, since I’ve also had the opportunity to do a lot of driving on my own, which has given me ample time to do said necessary thinking. One thing I was challenged on a little while back was how I view people who do things I don’t necessary agree with (the thought process was a little more complicated than that, but let’s simplify for space considerations). So I thought, and what it came up with wasn’t really anything new, but was simply the ability to apply something I already did in my thinking to new situations.
The original topic was smoking — how do I feel about people that smoke, especially those who are addicted now and can’t do much about that? It was a tough question to begin with, especially since I have a button on my backpack stating, “Kiss me! I don’t smoke.” Firstly, I personally find the act of smoking kind of disgusting, and it’s pretty much a turn off for me “romantically.” But, I also realize it’s more than that.
A smoker is more than their smoking. We’re all more than our actions, though our actions, in some ways, do speak about who we are, but motivation is also an important part to the equation (i. e. stealing could speak badly about a person, but what if someone is forced to steal based on poverty or other forces beyond their control?). In a similar fashion, I am more than a pastor’s kid (if you didn’t know already) as someone else is more than an evangelical Christian as someone else is more than an engineering student. We’re more than our economic class, our skin color, our addictions, our hosing status. Our attributes definitely speak in some way to who we are, but we’re all much too multi-faceted to be pigeonholed into these one-dimensional categories.
I think the quote from The Muppets Take Manhattan is something like, “Peoples is peoples,” even if it’s never really made sense to me until now. You can know a lot about someone, and obviously the more you know about them, the more you know them, but one can only know so much — and really, we don’t even know ourselves completely, do we?
Remember that we all have flaws, and even some things one might see as a flaw another might find as a positive attribute. “One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure,” to get even more cliche. So try not to judge (someone times you can’t help it, but you can do your best), and work toward tolerance around every corner. Don’t we each have the right to be who we want to be anyway?
As you may or may not know, this past Sunday I began my (epic) journey around and through the states of Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Michigan. I’ll be away from DC, my current home, for just under 5 weeks, with the current plan to sleep in about 25 different beds/couches during my trip to about the same number of schools. With the exception of MD and WV, I’ll be stopping by at least one college or university in each of those states, and I’ve already been to 5 in only 4 days (one of them being Sunday which I spent in DC and driving). It’s quite the adventure, I must say, and I don’t think I’ll be able to reflect on it fully, if at all, until it’s all over, but it’s been a lot of fun.
Being on college campuses and with young people is energizing for me. It’s taken some energy to pull out the extrovert side of me necessary to find people interested in LVC, but once I’ve gotten up the activation energy (a great science term) to start the conversation, I’ve had some great conversations. Today I asked a student what his interest in social justice issues are, and he simply said, “Peace.” How beautiful is that? Seeing students at a stage where they are energetic and willing to commit to create change is so exciting. Connecting with people — students, faculty, staff — at the colleges and universities I’ve visited so far has been quite amazing, as it has let me see in a new way that there are so many people out there with a passion to create — they may not do it with LVC, but they will be partners as advocates of social change work to dismantle the oppression and disparity in our country and world.
Today was an especially fun and great day as I visited the campus of Kentucky State University, an historically black college in Frankfort, KY (and somewhere that has definitely never heard of LVC). There were lots of students interested in making a difference — in fact, more people signed up to receive more information there than any of the other schools I’ve attended thus far. Also, there were some moments with no one to talk with where I just observed everyone around me, and it made me miss what I had last year @ Shalom. I’m not sure how to say/write this without it coming out sounding poorly, but I really feel in a comfortable place surrounded by African Americans, and it’s just exciting to be in a place of education and thoughts of the future. I definitely see myself returning so such an environment again one day.
The traveling has been good, too — I’ve listened to a lot of my CDs in the over 800 miles on the road thus far (I’ll probably go about 4000 before it’s over) and have been driving a little faster than usual, but still safely. I’ve realized how much easier it is to drive in the day time than the night time. I’ve been able to see some fun sights, like the cities of Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati, and the state capitol of Kentucky today in Frankfort. It’s not driving along the Pacific Coast Highway, as one of my coworkers was doing this evening, but there is beauty to be found in the Midwest (even if some tell you otherwise). It’s given me a chance to do some thinking, too, about an assortment of topics, some which will likely show up here one day.
As I continue my journey, blog entries might be few and far between, but know I’m thinking about you and enjoying my time on the road (even if I’ve already spent more than $100 on gas).