Sunday, October 09, 2005

I am the worst blogger in the world.

Now that we know this, let's go on. It's getting really interesting here. Aside from feeling (and being) academically behind all the time, all of my fault lines are shifting. I'm standing on a volcano. And it's exactly what I want.

Quick recap: Left Olympia August 12. Spent two weeks with a friend in the Central Valley, visiting hardware stores, tearing up her floor, hurting my back, and camping on the coast, bonding with each other, God, wild creatures and space aliens. We had an incredible time. Her rector and I are long-time friends as well; we met when I was 16. I'm now 80 miles from them. I can drive out on random weekends and see family. I love that. I'm going out this Saturday, I think.

Got here the last week of August... I remember it was a Thursday. Orientation started the following Tuesday; I think the 29th. I threw my stuff onto the middle of my dorm room floor, and went on with exploring. It's still a royal mess in here.

I'm here to do school, and I love it and want to--and there are so many distractions. (I ought to be reading right now.) I finally started calling spiritual directors--first I'd meant to, then I had to. The ground is shifting under me. I don't know if that's a direct response to what I'm learning, or just what happens when you're in this place, and everyone around you is charged with change. I'm thinking all the time about what I want to do when I'm done here--at the same time, planning ways to make school take longer. There's so much I want to experience, try on, have time to suck at before I need to be really good. I'm aware that people will be watching me closely--and I want to rock my own world as well as theirs. At the same time, I know that it starts with simple trust. All I need to do is walk out into the ocean. God will take care of surrounding me with water. (The temperature, taste, and critters swimming in it aren't up to me.)

Went to a presentation last Thursday, after Community Night (Eucharist and dinner). I'd seen Karen but didn't know her; she's ahead of me, and we'd never talked. She spent five weeks last summer working in South Africa, at a shelter/school for kids who have lost both parents to AIDS. I found myself asking in all seriousness, who do I talk to if I want to do this? She and I are meeting Wednesday to discuss contacts and funding. (The main expense is travel--I looked online when I got home, and round-trip airfare between SeaTac and Johannesburg is $2100. Once you get there, it's obscene to think about money--these people don't have enough food, and the exchange rate is 6 rand to the dollar.) I'm serious about doing this. I was thinking about something like Bishop's Ranch or Holden, and still should write to them. But I've had it in my head for years that I want to do HIV/AIDS work in Africa, and never really followed up on it--either I felt like I couldn't, or whatever. This just dropped into my lap. It's possible.

I went to St. Aidan's in San Francisco last Sunday. I'd wanted to, but felt shy about it because that's where we stole Nedi from. (Non-Episcopalians--the former priest at St. Aidan's is the current suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Olympia, living and working in Seattle.) My mentor goes there, and told me it would be fine. It was. I overheard a couple talking, at the bus stop by the Glen Park BART station, about how late the #52 was. Aha, I thought, they'll know--and went over to ask them about it. They said that it's a second-run line--that means it gets pulled to other routes if there are problems. Oh.

"I'm from Olympia. That doesn't happen there."
"Where are you going?"
"St. Aidan's."
"We are too. Do you know Nedi?"
"I've met her twice."

It was that easy. They showed me around, introduced me publicly as a first-year CDSP student from Olympia... and then took me to a Thai place for lunch in downtown Berkeley. (They live one BART stop away from me.) It was about as friendly as an inquisition could be. They invited me to their stewardship dinner--one of them chairs the committee--and I went, Friday. Everybody is so warm, so inclusive. I went to Good Shepherd in Berkeley this morning, and missed the joyful chaos of St. Aidan's. I'm leery of committing to them--in my heart or verbally--before they know who their new rector will be. I'm not just looking for a place to hang out on Sunday mornings--I need a community I can get neck-deep busy in, and trust to do discernment with me later. I love these people. I've been once and I have friends. That wouldn't happen everywhere.

I need to read and get some sleep. Spent four hours yesterday in a faculty member's garden at the far (west) side of San Francisco. We got a lot done and had a good time and talk together--and I'm embarrassingly sore. Need to start swimming, or something.

Peace, love, and blessings to all. I'll try to keep this up once a week, from here.


Mimi said...

Wonderful update!

Glad things are going well, and that you have found some near and dears so far away!

Catherine said...

How wonderful! I knew that you would make friends right away!
I have always wanted to go to a third world country to help people in crisis or trouble. I think it is wonderful!