Monthly Archives: May 2011

Seriously Lousy Timing

Last night was by far the best so far.  I went out with the Getz’s to a Memorial Day picnic and met a bunch of great people.  We played a few games of wiffle ball and spent the evening talking.  It was really a good time.  At sunset, we went outside and caught the manhattanhenge, which is the semiannual occurrence at which the sun lines up with the east/west streets in Manhatten.  I have a couple of nice photos, but for reasons I will soon discuss, I cannot post them now.

So, like a said, a great evening.  Most of the people were from Apostles Church, which I will definitely be checking out next Sunday.  Tonight, I was suppose to be attending a community group with a bunch of people I met yesterday.

Unfortunately, I’m currently immobile.  I mean, I’ll be fine, but for the next day or two walking will likely be near impossible.  I pulled something in my back playing wiffle ball, and now I can’t move.  That’s why I can’t go get my camera and upload photos and why I can’t go out tonight.  I must say, lousy timing indeed.  I’m trying not to think about it, basically because I’m really bummed.  I finally met people, had a good time, and the first night that I have plans, I can’t go out.  I don’t mean to complain.  In fact, I’ve made a point of not thinking about it all day, although I’m pretty sure that has more to do with my not admitting to myself that the pain has gotten worse throughout the day.

Prayer for recovery would be much appreciated.  Can’t say I really understand the time of this.  I finally connect with some folks, and now I can’t go out.  Kinda stinks.

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Sunday Endeavors

I was really looking forward to church this Sunday for several reasons, but there was one reason unique to this week.  Like I said earlier, I don’t know a lot of people in the city, and I knew church would be a place that I would be able to connect with people who would understand what I’m doing this summer and begin building relationships.  I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to join a small group or something for a couple of months.

I went to a church that Jeff recommended, and it was a good experience, although I’m not sure I’ll be going back.  Of course, I’m not sure that I’m not going back either.  I spoke to a couple of people at church yesterday, but I still don’t really know how everything is set up.  I read something about small groups online, but no one said anything about it yesterday.  The girl I spoke to after service invited to an event the church is having this Friday, and while I didn’t quite get what it was, I think I’m going to go.  It will give me an opportunity to find out what they’re all about, but between now and then, I think I’m going to have some conversations with Jesus about where I should get connected.

I’ve been in lots of different churches with lots of different kinds of people in different size congregations with all kinds of different styles of worship.  I like that.  I think it’s really cool to see people sincerely worshiping and seeking God and see them do it in totally different ways, but  I also have a strong inward aversion to church-hopping.  I’m here for three months, which is enough time to go someplace, get settled, and build some relationships.  I don’t really have the time or interest in taking a month to visit various churches in the city, which to a extent would be cool.  I would learn a lot by observing, but not much in terms of getting to know people or having any system of accountability.

After church, I came to the church I live in and enjoyed a nice long nap.  (fyi: I can’t go to the church I live in because service is in Portuguese).  In the evening I had a rather comical run-in with a bug.  Gerald and Miriam were out showing some friends around the city, so there was no one here to kill it.  I ended up turning all the lights on, dancing around the fellowship hall, and calling my mother for directions about how to catch it.  I hate actually killing bugs, although not for the dear humane reasons that some people cite.  I mostly just don’t kill them because that requires that I actually get close enough to the bug to touch it.  I ran to the kitchen to grab a pot to trap it, and then resolved that it would be better to use an empty trash can.  I figured I could throw the trash can from a longer distance with greater accuracy.  Mind you, during this whole fiasco, I’m still dancing around, now talking to my father on the phone, and still in pursuit of just one bug.  Anyways, by the time I emptied the trashcan the bug was gone, although I did stuff a towel under my door to make sure it didn’t make it into my room.   I’ve been facing bugs and spiders my whole life, I should really be over my fear by now, but I’m not.  At least I have the sense to recognize how silly I look, even if it isn’t enough to break my fear.


A Weekend

Given that I spent last weekend back on campus for commencement, the last couple of days serves as my first official weekend in the city.  To a degree, it’s slightly overwhelming, at least in the sense that there is more to do here than I could ever see/do/visit, but in another sense I also really don’t know what all is available to me.  I have a couple of friends from school in the city, but I’ve only met a couple of people since I’ve been here.  My goal this weekend was to hopefully make a few personal connections with folks.

Friday was fun.  Gerald and Miriam Steele were missionaries in Brazil and Portugal and are now here pastoring the Brazilian Church.  They live half a flight of stairs beneath me.  On Friday, they took me out the Brazilian pay-by-the-pound lunch buffet, which was great for two reasons.  1) It was just a good lunch and 2) I never would have gone in their alone not knowing how to get my food or what the various dishes were.

Brazilian lunch with the Steele's

Despite being able to move into the church last Saturday, I still was unable to fully unpack.  The new carpet was put in several days ago, but there was a big wedding this weekend.  I was told that my room was going to be needed to hold the food.  Turns out my room wasn’t going to be needed, so I was finally able to empty my suitcase and scotch tape a couple of old photos to the wall (mostly 1-2 year old Christmas card photos I swiped from my mother’s refrigerator door last time I was home.)

On Saturday, I joined the Getz’s for an afternoon picnic at Central Park.  It was a beautiful day, not too hot.  The park was pretty densely populated, but it was still nice.  I had a really good time talking to Christina (Jeff’s wife).  In the evening, the Getz women showed me where to go shopping downtown, which was excellently helpful with the whole getting-my-bearings-on-where-I-am-actually-at-and-knowing-how-to-find-my-way-home-from-wherever-that-may-be objective.


Make a List

There’s something exciting about watching projects starting to take shape, but there is also something difficult about recognizing progress when nothing’s finished.  Last night, I sat down to do a write up of my work this week.  An hour and half later, I had 3 page memo, and I realized that I had actually accomplished something.

As a planner who usually makes a list before I get started, it felt good to finally have something written out.  Just this time the list came afterward.   Last Tuesday, I started working without any short term goals and tried to envision the skeleton of database, which has already grown to 45 pages.  While most of the information I was importing came from other spreadsheets, let’s just say it was sufficiently complicated.  Ctrl + c and ctrl +v just wasn’t going to cut it.  Tedious editing and formatting in excel leaves you without much sense of accomplishment, at least until you realize everything else that you were able to do because of that detailed administrative work.

The best part about finally having a list, albeit a completed one, is that it puts me a place to make the next one– a to do list for this week, and mind you, a to do list with much more exciting projects because the grunt work is more or less done.  I have volunteered myself to build two websites (an exciting but mildly intimidating task for a girl who just learned how to blog), but I have some good ideas.  I’ll master html emails this weekend and create newsletter template by Monday (or something like that).  By the end of the summer I might have to officially forgo my tech illiteracy title and start fixing my own computer problems.

It’s been a good week.  It all feels slightly less overwhelming now that I am officially moved in, the carpet is finally being put down, and I know how to find my way home.  A couple days ago, I went on a long walk near my apartment and for the life of me I could not find restaurant/shops/people.  I found out last night that I was suppose to turn left, not right at the first stop, which apparently makes all the difference in the world.

As a extroverted people person, I quiet and solitude I get during the work day and evenings is starting to get to me a little bit, but I know that this won’t last for long.  I’ve been given the names of a couple of groups I can connect with this summer, and on Sunday, I’ll meet some folks at church and hopefully connect with a small group or something.

I think my problems are about to quickly shift from not being quite sure what to do next to having too much to do next.  All and all, I think I’m in a good place for this week.


Unzipped Suitcases and Weekend Travels

After a week of not being able to move in, I finally got the green light to unpack, sort of.  I’m living in a children’s classroom at a Brazilian Church in Queens.   The carpet still has not arrived and has since been further delayed because of next weekend’s wedding.  So in short, I’m still not unpacking.  I will need to evacuate the room for the wedding and still wait for the carpet to arrive the week after.  I don’t really mind though.  At least now, I can finally unzip my bags and spread out a little bit.


The church I'm living in

I’m basically still just working on the database compilation project I started last week.  It requires a lot of tedious cross-checking and some idea of what my spreadsheets are going to look like when I finally enter all the information I have (and the information that I’ll have in say six months).  However, I have begun keeping notes on a couple side projects.  One of our goals for the summer is to formalize NYIC’s internship program.  I’ve been discovering, for example, that just because two trains run in the same direction and are the same color doesn’t mean they are going the same place and the importance of immediately learning the exact street you live on.  I figure my record of misadventures (which will undoubtedly continue) will prove pretty valuable when it comes to sitting down an writing up the specifications for NYIC’s internship program.

All of this comes after a rather action packed weekend.  I moved in on Saturday morning, but left Saturday afternoon for Wesleyan’s commencement.  I was only on campus for a few hours, but it was worth it.  The trip was also valuable it because it forced me to have to find my way around, which I personally feel is always better when you are trying to get to specific place rather than just walk around.

The trip still had its challenges though.  Getting to the vicinity of Wesleyan is easy, getting from a nearby location to campus, not so much.  I had to switch my departure plans last minute, and literally spoke to/called/texted 20+ people in an effort to get back to New York.  Eventually, a good friend of mine who cooks at school gave me a ride to the New Haven train station.

It’s good to be back though.  Now that I’m living where I’ll be living for the rest of summer, I’ll be able to fall back into a routine.  I’ve been in transition for a long time, so I’d really like that.


Feet on the Ground

Ah, getting settled…

My train arrived midday on Tuesday, and since then it has been an excellent mix of getting started, figuring things out, and getting lost.  I’ve been staying with Jeff (NYIC director) and his family, because the Brazilian Church that I’m living in this summer is currently being re-carpeted.  I’m suppose to be able to get into the room I will be staying in tonight, which will be nice.  I’ve been in the process of moving for about two weeks now, so it will be nice to finally fully unzip the suitcase and get comfortable for a while.

This summer is definitely going to be exciting and challenging.  A lot of the work I’m doing is focused on NYIC’s long term goals, which means I’m creating projects to do in the short term that we anticipate seeing the fruits from in 2-5 years.  This is great, but is most assuredly a new kind of experience.  Working on a project with few short term goals, is great, but it also means lots of planning to make sure the path you’re starting down is going to lead where you want it go.  I’ve only been working for a couple of days, but I have already gotten to the point several times where I need to really stop working and think about how the project I’m working on now will shape my work in month or two.  I’m finding myself in lots of situations where I really need to stop and pray, what’s next?  There are a thousand projects that would serve as excellent uses of my time, but a lot of them are really unformed, many to the point that even the first step is unclear.

Right now, I’m in the middle of creating a rather large database.  Think about it as a an address book that includes information on all your interactions with your contacts and includes an entire section on proactive ways to build relationships with people you are acquainted with, but don’t yet know very well.  I’m creating the structure and trying to anticipate what it will look like when it starts swelling with information.

Last night was my first time out exploring on my own– definitely an experience.  I’ve been to New York and small handful of times, but I’ve always had the advantage handicap of having someone show me around.  While walking around, I tried to related it to how I learned my way around DC last summer, but I don’t really think there is much comparison.  The sidewalks are much more crowded, everyone walks much faster, and everything is much bigger.  It’s very different.  That being said, it was still nice, although I will admit, it was nicer on the way back.  Finding my way back to my starting point after a couple of hours proved 1) Despite what my father says I really do have a sense of direction (love you dad) 2) I am beginning to learn my way around.

It will probably take a while to get fully settled, but I am getting my feet on the ground.


Departure and Expectations

Welcome!

Tomorrow commences the beginning of summer, which is always an adventure.  I put all my stuff in storage a few days ago and have one ginormous suitcase sitting on an empty floor, ready for what will undoubtedly prove to be a rather uncomfortable train ride from New Haven to New York City.

So happy it doesn't have to be <50lbs

This summer I will be working with NewYorkIsCalling.  I will be overseeing the ministry’s development with some long-term goals in mind.  Over the last seven months, I have watched plans for this position come together in surprising and extraordinary ways.  My family and I have been praying over this position since October, and despite other plans and opportunities in another city that I have long-since planned on pursuing, I am confident that New York is where God is sending me instead.

NewYorkIsCalling connects leaders, families, and students who love New York City and are committed to loving New Yorkers the way Jesus does.  The ministry does this by coaching leaders, tutoring children before placement exams, serving the homeless, working to alleviate sex-trafficking in the city, and doing whatever else it can do to meet the needs of communities in practical ways.  My primary responsibility with NewYorkIsCalling will be to put together a long-term funding strategy that will allow the ministry to pursue its mission in even bigger ways.

I will do my best to keep this updated, so you will know how it is going.  I’m not sure to tell you what to expect, because I’m not sure what to expect.  I suppose that’s why they call it an adventure…

What I know is this.  I’m here because of God and whatever comes next is up to Him, so with that in mind, I’ll just take it one step at time.