Sunday, August 29, 2010

Orientation/ Disorientation

This week has been… well, here’s a short list of adjectives:

AWESOME, overwhelming, rejuvenating, exhausting, refreshing, stressful

Each day has been packed full of workshops. From breakfast at 8 a.m. to when vespers ended at 9 p.m., there was constant talking/ thinking/ extraverted activity. We talked about race, gender inequalities, economic inequalities, discernment, personality conflicts, culture shock, and more. If we weren't meeting together in a large group, we were discussing the topics with our small groups. Or we were eating. Or worshipping. Or hanging out until the wee hours of the morning once we were done with the work of the day. Whew.

(As I found out this week, I am an ENFP on the Myers-Briggs personality scale, but even extroverts need alone time.)

Unlike discernment weekend when about 60% of our time was “creative discerning play time,” this week was INTENSE.

Ironically, one of the topics touched upon was how to take care of our bodies while in times of change and stress. (Note: there are people going all over the U.S. and world; there are challenges that vary by the site.) Well, my body has undergone a lot of stress these past few weeks – saying goodbye to friends and family, traveling, trying to pack for this week, and just the overall stress of getting ready to live for a year in another country. The physical side effects are starting to show as I am physically and mentally exhausted, but thank goodness for Sunday afternoons. (Nap time!)

Each site went to a different church this morning for a commissioning service. The Northern Ireland site went to a small Presbyterian church in downtown Haverstraw, NY, and on the way back, we got to take a detour to see the Hudson River!

The main reason this week has been so refreshing (and which has helped me get through it) is the other YAVs. It has been so much fun hanging out with both national and international YAVs this week. (There are about 62 of us total.) From hymn sings at 11 p.m. in one of the dorms’ lobbies to one of the Kenyan YAVs throwing a perfect round of Cornhole, it’s been full of priceless and extremely memorable moments.

I fly out tomorrow evening to Belfast, and the journey will have officially begun.

So while this orientation has been slightly disorientating, in the long run, I will hopefully be able to draw upon all that I have heard and discussed, and the friendships that have been forged will continue to grow.

Love to all!

In grace and peace.

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