Thursday, March 25, 2010

March 29 (my birthday)

Since this time last year, things that I did for the first time (in no particular order):

1. I got officially engaged on my birthday last year

2. Obtained my associates degree in justice administration for social work

3. Went to Haiti

4. Spent the summer volunteering with youth in Winnipeg

5. Met friend of 3 years in person for the first time

6. Moved to Edmonton

7. Learned how to play chess

8. Started volunteering at the women's prison

9. Went to Washington DC

10. Went to Ethiopia

11. Met Biruk's sisters and extended family

12. Ordered a drink-with lime- in Amheric

13. Climbed through rock-hewn churches in Lalibela

14. Experienced an Ethiopian hospital

15. Ordered Kosher food on the airplane

16. Experienced several miracles (the laptop, Biruk's ring)

17. Started my internship working at the prison

18. Was hit on by a girl (I made it a long time until that happened!)

19. Started a Bible study

20. Became an aunt

21. Obtained a job in my field

22. Got married

23 things for the future:

1. Get regular massages

2. Finish my internship

3. Earn my bachelor's degree

4. Volunteer again

5. Play soccer again

6. Go to Cuba

7. Get a job in the criminal justice field

8. Move from Canada

9. Speak Amheric fluently

10. Finally frame my art and display it on our walls

11. Touch a dolphin

12. Learn how to make yogurt

13. Go to Spain

14. Be more conversant in Spanish

15. Go hiking in Banff

16. Drive a standard/stick-shift vehicle

17. Return to Phi Phi Island

18. Have a wedding anniversary with my husband every year

19. Record our own answering machine message

20. Go out dancing in Edmonton

21. Learn how to make biscuits and gravy

22. Submit a story for publishing

23. Be happy

Friday, March 19, 2010


There is a woman who is a regular at the chaplain's office. Not because she has scheduled appointments and attends them, but because nearly every day or two there is some issue she wants to talk about.

The first time I met her it was at the request of the prison administration for a medation. The second time I met her, she was pretty emotional. I listened to her complain for a while and she was fine with that. She was willing to be open and share about what was bothering her, and was fine as long as we talked about her hurt. However, when I brought the conversation around to her response- what she should do about the situation, what is her responsibility and how she could make changes- she actually walked out of the room and slammed the door.

In conversations with others who had interaction with her, they reiterated that this is common of this woman; fine with complaining about her situation, but unwilling to do much about it.

While I'm fine with listening to people vent and realize there is a need for that, I'm also not going to let it stay at that. If you came to me to talk about it, I'm going to challenge you to make changes- either in your thinking or actions.

I started a Bible study at my internship, and part of it is an artistic portion. So I was going through the art supplies there, and nearly began to drool. The fantastic color pallet of the color pencils, the many charcoal supplies- pencils, erasers, and sticks. I haven't drawn in a long time, but lusting after these things made me imagine all the things I would draw and color and smooth...
So instead of reading or vegging out infront of the television for my relaxation, I think I'm going to draw. Not sure what I'm going to do with the pictures, but that's not the point.

Yesterday marked being married to Biruk for one month. It flew by so fast! But I'm happy- so happy.

Friday, March 12, 2010

3 credits more

I recieved an email back from the registrar at Taylor.
It's been decided that I only need to take one more psychology class- Thank God!
That was stressful. I am fine with taking one more psychology class, instead of 12 more credit hours. I just don't want to take it right now. I have enough on my plate with my internship, work and the classes I have right now. So, maybe I'll graduate in August. I think that's the best, because my internship probably won't be over until the end of May, perhaps very beginning of June and to graduate in May I would have to be done by mid-May.
The more things went on, the more clear it became that I had tried to do everything I could to ensure that I was on the right track, and my academic advisor was the one at fault. It was looking really bad- saying she didn't know I was pursuing a major when there were probably 25 or so emails copied to her, some addressing her in person, the emails were all about me completing my degree.

I truly hope that no other student at Taylor was treated in such a way.

I have the best job in the world. I am a community youth worker, which means that I take youth who are in group homes or a type of program-run living arrangement in the community. The youth are from different situations and vary in age and need. My job is to take these youth on outings in the community; either to help raise their self confidence, enable them to be more independent, ensuring that they get enough attention and that their needs are being met, or giving them as normal a childhood as possible.
That's the philosophy, how it pans out in my work is that I get paid to go swimming or bowling with the youth. Or art museums. Or the zoo. Basically, I get paid to do fun stuff with kids, talk with the kids and then have minimum paperwork (really, not as much as most social work jobs) to turn in.

I didn't think it would be this easy to find a job in my field, or that I would get such a perfect job. I was pretty much accepting that I would have to work a night shift at a group home to get more experience in my field.
I prayed about it and asked that God would make clear whichever job he had for me. All the other jobs had problems or I wasn't offered the job; but this one was better than I would have even asked for. I feel so blessed!

Monday, March 08, 2010

If I Could Transfer Again

I recently recieved an email from my school saying that I have not taken, nor am enrolled in all the courses I need to graduate. Really? You waited until NOW to tell me.
It's very, very frustrating.
I thought I felt okay about it, but after getting off the phone with the registrar, I'm just as, if not more upset. The registrar didn't know I was pursuing my major, she didn't have my file. But, as I brought to her attention, I remember meeting her and have seen dozens of emails CC'd to her. She said that she meets lots of people and recieves countless emails. Really, you actually just said that out loud to me? Customer service is not your forte, I see.
Nice example of a friendly, personal atmosphere and why a student would want to attend this university- except that they forget who you are, that you are a student there and don't keep up with things to ensure that you are on the right track for graduation. And as my academic advisor- that is your role! Your entire job as an academic advisor is to ensure that the student is on the right track for graduation- I think it's clear to see you didn't really do anything in that job description.
I think that I was as cordial as I could possibly be and managed to voice my frustrations at the institution of Taylor University, while recognizing the hard work that some individuals have exerted to make up for the way the institution has treated me. My academic advisor has yet to climb out of the deep, deep hole she dug herself in and I would not consider her to be an individual who has helped me at all, or gone above and beyond in this respect. Furthermore, she has only aggrivated the continued disregard for students that I have felt from Taylor University throughout my time as a student there.

In a dream world, my life experience will be considered and working as a missionary and taking a discipleship training course will be the equivalent (I would think more so!) as a 3 credit-hour Evangelism and Discipleship course. They would say that I have everything I need to graduate and the little details that are not even courses will be smoothed over and I can graduate and be DONE!

I submitted the documentation and followed the format for paperwork for my internship, but somehow I am not 'registered' for it. Guess what? That was supposed to be taken care of through the registrar's office. I just forwarded about 8 emails concerning my internship to her- 7 of which she was carbon copied on- although she claims to have had no knowledge of this.

My internship- which I have nearing 150 hours completed- is still going well. I led the Sunday service yesterday; it wasn't really planned, just so happened that I was the only one available. I did the wrong lesson, however- confusion about what lesson was done last week and what lesson was planned for this week. I don't think it matters two much if the healing of Naaman with leprosy happens before or after Elisha tricks the Syrians when God blinded them.
I really enjoyed it; was able to spend more time with the women and felt that they responded really well. We actually went over the allotted time- and I'm not much of a public speaker.

I am supposed to begin my new job today, pending some documents. The position is of a community youth worker, which is right in my field and I am really interested in it. It seems pretty low-key, not as much paperwork as many social work positions have, and I can determine my own hours based on how many cases I want to take on.

Biruk came home the other day with a dining room table and 3 chairs. He loves shopping at a near-by clearance store; our coffee table was 80% off because there was a scratch on it, and our dining room table was nearing 95% off because of scratches, which Biruk believes he can fix. And, because there were only three chairs instead of 4, buying all three was cheaper than buying one that was part of a set of four. And, we lucked out in finding a box-spring mattress exactly the size of our mattress- which because it is a strange size it was hard to find anyone to want to buy the box spring. We got it for a little over $30.00!
We've been waiting to finish furnishing our house, but Biruk found all these great deals and now we feel more settled in.

I must admit, being 'settled' is not a feeling I have had for a long time and part of me screams against it. I'm postponing getting a dresser- we found a nice one for a cheap price, but I couldn't buy it. It would be the last item for our home, we would be settled in.
Biruk helped by reminding me that we wouldn't live in Edmonton for forever, and that after two years or so we would go somewhere else. It's still hard for me, and I don't want anything 'tying me down' to stay here. But part of it, I'm sure, is that I haven't lived anyone place for a while, I keep shifting around and my feet don't want to stay put.