Tag Archives: Short term

or forever hold your peace.

Yes, hold onto peace with everything you got, even if you have to fight for it.

In a world where salt is a side dish and fish and chips go without ketchup and tartar sauce, something new emerges…

When I first went to college, I said I was never going to study abroad.  I can remember deliberately tuning out every time the questions in a admissions Q&A turned again to foreign studies programs and telling myself how exciting it would be to go to the same school with the same people for a whole four years.

Man, that’s changed.

It was so random that I ended up here.  I know how I want to spend my retirement, where I want to work, what I want to name my kids, where I want to go to law school, and I’ve been planning my thesis since freshman year, but I broke out old grammar textbooks to dust my mental cobwebs and write a 300 word Madrid application essay two days before it was due.

Coming into Wes, I wanted roots and stability.  I wanted all my close relationships to last.  In retrospect, I don’t think that’s even possible in college.  It violates the basic nature structure of the educational system.  Wes is 13 hours from home.  I get four months there, one month in Indiana, four months back at Wes, four more months wherever I so choose (so far, DC and NYC), and even if I hadn’t up and left this semester, my friends still would have.

Yes, I finally have those close relationships I wanted.  I know everyone in my net of people who would drop everything and run if I needed him or her, but knowing that your loved doesn’t mean the people that love you are always around, like, I don’t know, when you skip the pond and temporarily move to another country.

Life is transitory, and sure, someday, soon enough, I’ll find George Bailey and let him lasso the moon, have 2.2 kids, and live in the same place for fifty years, but before I get there, I’m going to see everything I can.

Because I think there is something special about short-term transitory relationships too.  I think about the hundreds of people I’ve met in my four-month-long homes and wonder about the impact I am having on them.  Is it even existent?  What will they remember?  These questions aren’t coming from a narcissistic point of view.  I’m just wondering if who I really am is reflected to everyone, and if it’s not, what’s wrong with me.

I want people to see Jesus in me, and not in a preachy Jaimie in a pink sweater kind of way, but in a way that shows that I care more about them than myself.  That’s a lot to live up to, and a lot to show when you only have a short time with someone.

If I’m serious about living for the good of other people thing, it really ought to be obvious.  Daily life doesn’t seem like that big of deal, until I think about it in a bigger picture.  I know a lot of people who have literally never interacted with a real Christian before, which means my freaking out about missing class because I mistakenly went to the wrong classroom and then not not knowing how to gracefully excusing myslef, sat stuck for and hour and half look a little out of perspective.  My every reaction ought to be reflection of Christ.

I’m around so many people who really don’t care about God or acknowledge His existence, and I totally get that, but in the very least, I want them all to see how I serve them because of what is happening in me because of Him.

So, I’ll grip every moment I have, knowing that the difference between short term and long term relationships, is that now, in the short term, I’m never going to get another chance.

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Table for 1?

I think I’ve figured something out.  I’ve been operating on a seriously messed up sleep schedule.  At first, I couldn’t sleep because I was using different pillows, which I realize sounds a little strange, but to me it’s no different then other people saying they need to get used to sleeping in a new bed.  Now, three weeks here, I’m drop-dead tired, and I can’t sleep.  I went to bed at nine, almost too tired to walk, and woke up at midnight.  Anyways, I think I finally resolved that the reason I’m not sleeping is because I’m thinking too much about the past day.  I can count on one hand the number of people I speak to on a daily basis, and that’s something that I’m not quite used to or fully comfortable with.  Since I usually don’t fall asleep without having detailed the events of my day to someone, I figure that’s why I drift off each night drafting some kind of letter (or in tonight’s case, a blog post).  Anyways, I figured I might actually rest better if I just turned the light on and wrote it.

I know the work I’m doing here in New York is for the kingdom and will have long-term implications, but like I said, the short-term solitude is getting to me a little bit (important side note: quietness to end shortly because of certain activities this week).  This morning I woke up a little late, but not unreasonable.  It was slightly awkward though, because a bunch of people were at the church (again, speaking Portuguese, which is why I don’t go to the church I live in).  I ducked out of my room when the hallway sounded quiet, because I hoped to avoid running into anyone on my way upstairs to the shower.  I slept late because of my crazy exhaustion and because I was going to an evening service, which kinda throws off your Sunday morning routine, but I was okay with that.

I spent most of the day reading at Union Square, which I discovered earlier in the week.  I have to say, so far at least, it’s my favorite spot.  Can’t totally articulate why, but it’s a comfortable place.  I sat outside and read Little Women until it got cold.  Afterward, I spent a good three or four hours researching law schools at Barnes and Noble’s.  That was certainly an experience in and of itself.  If I am going to go to law school, I want to start studying for the LSAT now, while I have some time.  However, I really don’t want to put that investment in unless I know I want to go, and right now, it sort of just seems like a good path to pursue.  I’ll do some more focused research this week, but I can say at this point that it looks like I’ll be investing some resources in some LSAT study materials.

view from Filene's Basement at Union Square

It really was all fun though.   When I woke up this morning, I resolved that I was going to go on a date with Jesus like how my dad took me out on dates when I was a little girl.  That feels a little funny and cheesy when I write it out, but it made the day fun.  It also made the awkwardness of eating alone in public less embarrassing, which is something else that has been challenging.  I’m here in the city and I know that I should be trying more restaurants in different parts of the city, just to experience it, but to be honest, I’m a little intimidated by the whole process.  Think about like the first time you walked into a Chipotle or a Starbucks and you didn’t know how to order.  It kind of feels like that.  Today though, today was better, because of my whole today-I’m-going-on-a-date-with-Jesus deal.  We hung out, read classic literature, researched law schools, and ended the day by going to (a new) church– a whole great and totally new experience unto itself.  Unfortunately, not a story for 2:09am, but I have a lot of thoughts on it, so I’ll definitely write again soon.

Central Park, another good reading spot


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.


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.