Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April 15th
I made it stateside! a car, 3 buses, 1 plane, 3 trains, and a final car ride has taken me to DC ( you gotta love the adventures of economical travel). That was two weeks ago.

I spent 4 days with CJ in Washington DC. My time was tranquil. I slept, went to city things ( aka cultural e events) in the evening with my dear bro. A poetry reading at intimidatingly cool cafe ( maybe I have been living among mountains, trees, farmland and sheeps too long, everyone was ethnic, gorgeous and uber hip ( see, I don't even know the cool word for cool) ). The poetry was the same. We spent Saturday at a art walk in a "sketchy" neighborhood in DC. Antocostia is not a place where urban grunge coffee shops and vintage clothing store make it a place where white people can live in a "sketchy" part. Its where normally I would need to lock my doors and find the nearest interstate entrance. I was humbled in my stereotypes as I saw the beauty these people living in poverty and oppression, saturated in violence could create, the community support and identity they fostered.

I was able to stroll in the cherry blossoms, and free museums to add to the bliss stated above.

Easter was remarkable.
We, the ADAMS Family, known for our fondness of sleep, and time optimism actually made it to a sunrise Easter service on time!
The Parents joined Cj and I for the early morning trek to Arlington Cemetery before dawn. As the sun rose over the thousands of marble reminders of lost lives, we sang about and celebrated the hope we live for, creating a juxtaposistion that brought stillness to remember that the pain, confusion, and brokenness is not the end, He arose!
There were doves involved- I kidd you not.

The rest of Easter continued with good ol fashioned American traditions of lots of food and napping . A picnic at the Lincoln memorial with a phenomenal concert celebrating Lincoln's 200year legacy and civil rights movement ending with Colin Powell ( a 1st generation Jamaican immigrant- did you know that?) swearing in 105 new American citizens- my heart swells- I'm proud to be an American.
It was all too much to summarize, it almost is a disservice to try, but alas, I must not neglect my blog. :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

heartbeats and deep breaths

Corrymeela and all the people within it have continued to teach, stretch and fill life here.
I led my first group two weekend ago. I was responsible for planning the team building activities and making sure everything was ready and continued to go smoothly for the group. The group was a team going to Kyrgyzstan with habitat for humanity. It was challenging and mostly successful weekend. I learned more about how to lead adults with experiential learning. Its not easy to convince a group of adults to "play along" especially so the can learn about themselves and how to be a team.

Another large group of school children( 60 -14-16 year olds) came and I helped with the ghost walk where we take the kids to a old Abby at night that is surrounded by an ancient graveyard. We read them a story about its sordid past beforehand, then other staff dress up in black and wander amongst the graves while we walk through. Its quite entertaining.

When I had a day off I visited the little island off the coast here. Rathlin has many claims to greatness and fame for its 6 mile girth. I enjoyed walking the roads in the persistent wind, savoring the rugged Irish scenes of stone cliffs, and shifting greens landscapes . I made sure to embrace the moment and read Irish poetry to my comrades, much to their chagrin as we strolled.

The week skipped past to the weekend where we had the opening of the volunteer housing, the Coventry. This was quite the event, which was attended by the president of Ireland, we all were able to shake her hand. I learned that Prince Charles, Mother Theresa, and the Dali lama have been their other building openers. They have their eye on Obama for the next one.

To make sure my days were fully used I had 3 other groups on Friday, the day of the presidential visit. I worked with a group of polish immigrants who are homeless in Belfast. A homeless agency raised funds so they could take some of them away for the weekend and give them some respite and health screening. It was humbling how thankful they were for the opportunity to be warm and dry. The one thing they kept saying over and over was how much it meant to be respected. So much of life I take for granted.

As the polish men were leaving a group of school children arrived for a day of cross community work. I spent the afternoon painting foam eggs and playing games in hopes of having the children speak with each other( protestant/ catholic schools) .

My last Corrymeela group arrived Friday evening. 35 kids from Belfast (cross community work) and 20 from Glasgow Scotland ( additional sectarian issues). I spent the weekend running games, washing dishes, making tea, perfecting my ghost act and sleeping any spare moment I found.

Sunday afternoon after waving goodbye to the last bus, I spent the afternoon in the most beautiful spot I have ever seen on a picnic with a newly dear friend. It is on a low cliff edge, surrounded by cherry blossoms, oak trees, and the remains of an ancient church. An idyllic way to reflect on my journey thus far.

As I reflected, I realized Monday meant I had to come to terms with the fact I was leaving. This morning after playing scrabble and talking waaaay to late into the night I packed my luggage eager to be heading home, but with a heavy heart to leave so many great people.
I am in Dublin tonight and with a hope and a prayer I plan to be back in the US of A tomorrow. I will be spending the weekend with my brother in DC ( easter yay!) and then will be finishing with a trip to Mass. with me mum to check out Smith and places to live amongst other details that arise when you move across the country.

Recognizing how long this summary is, reminds me how full life has been. I feel like this time is so far from a closing as its more a part of an unraveling.