Change has been on my mind a lot this past week. Here in Tucson the temperatures are slowly climbing as the desert gears itself up for summer (this past week averaged highs above 100; but it’s a “dry heat”). My work placement responsibilities are also changing as we move beyond the school year and into the summer. I also have the looming shadow of my return home and the transition from YAV life back into “normal” life. So many things are changing and my head has been slowly struggling to wrap itself around this new, shifting landscape that is my life.
Before I delve into that I just want to comment on the weather. To everyone back home in Kentucky, I am glad that I don’t have to deal with the humidity this summer. Please enjoy that for me. To everyone else, dry heat is still hot. It might be more enjoyable than that drowning feeling you get walking out into 110% humidity but 105 degrees is still 105 degrees and I’m sorry but that’s weather that’s not fit for man nor beast!
As most of you might know (if you’ve been paying attention) part of my placement responsibilities included helping to provide an after school program for elementary-aged students for two or three hours Monday through Thursday. Since school wrapped up a couple weeks ago, we have transitioned into a summer program in partnership with the College of Public Health at the University of Arizona. Each summer, the public health program sponsors a series of week long summer day camps focusing on teaching children aged 7 to 11 about different aspects of personal health (healthy eating, germs, sun safety, tobacco prevention, etc.). Normally this camp happens on campus in the Rec Center, but renovations therein cause the college to look into other venues to provide this camp. Because of our partnership with the Service Learning course in the Public Health program’s curriculum, the school reached out to the Primavera Foundation to see if we could host the camp at Las Abuelitas. Fast forward to today and we are on the far side of the first week of camps with two more coming in the future. I’ve been anticipating this summer program for a while now and I am extremely grateful for the partnership with the College of Public Health. During the school year my coworker, Cody, and myself were responsible for all aspects of the after school program we were running. From planning to discipline we were in charge of administering this program. Now we both have a chance to step back from the leadership of day-to-day activities and simply get to help the students bring their vision of the summer camp to life. It’s been a great break. I still get to interact with kids (and despite my normal avoidance of anything kid related, I do enjoy working with the buggers), but I’m not one of the “head honchos” that has to know everything going on at every moment. This past week was a great reprieve for me and I’m looking forward to the next two sessions.
In addition to changes at work, I’m also looking at the transition back home and, almost simultaneously, into married life. Why not make all the big changes at once, right? While I am eagerly anticipating a return to my old Kentucky home, I have conflicting thoughts and feelings about my time as a YAV coming to a close. There have been points during this year where I’ve contemplated calling it quits. There have been points where the last thing I wanted to do was go back to the house to deal with my community. There have been points where I’ve been ridiculously happy (especially during the winter where it didn’t get much below 40 degrees) and enjoyed what I’ve been doing and learning. There have been highs and lows and I have learned a lot about myself through them all. I wonder if those changes will translate into life back in the real world. I wonder how this experience will stick with me as I traverse the years to come. I wonder how I will reflect back on this year in five years, in ten years. The only way to find out is to live my life, to take the changes as they come. To try to apply the things I’ve learned in a context that is not sheltered under the umbrella of the YAV program.
Transitions. They have been coming in droves over the last year and a half; they will continue to come as life moves forward. Even though some of the coming changes have me feeling slightly apprehensive I know that God will be with me, guiding my steps and preparing me for things I can’t even imagine.
And so we go.