Thursday, August 27, 2009

hells to the yeah

4:43 this afternoon, I get a phone call on my cell.

"Hi, Molly, this is Mark Higgins from the Seattle Times."
"Oh! Hi! How are you?" Bolt from the newsroom to get perfect reception, crossing fingers.
"I'm doing well. I just wanted to talk about your schedule for when you're gonna be working with us."
"Wait, you mean I GOT IT?!" Almost fall off the landing into the parking lot below.
"Well, yeah, I have a note in front of me that says you got it - -"
"-- I'm glad to break the news..."


So yeah, I got the internship.

I mean, I GOT THE INTERNSHIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seattle Times, baby. I'm movin' on up.

Only sad thing is that I don't have anyone with whom to celebrate. I had a chocolate milkshake, but what I really want is a hug. And some joint jumping around. That'd do it.

Love always,

Sunday, August 23, 2009

PT for me

Remember Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls?

Port Townsend's bigger than that, and there's no Taylor to ruin it, but it's got that same delightful small-town feel. The first week I was here, I put a bio of myself in the paper, and that evening when I walked in a coffee shop, the girls were like, "You're the new intern! Your picture was in the paper!" Yep, small.

I have been so blessed in my time here. Everyone I interview for a story is interesting, friendly, and welcoming, as are all the people in the shops. And they're willing to make connections for me.

Take this morning. I went horseback riding for almost 3 hours through the forest by Anderson Lake because the man I hiked with and interviewed last week about trail maintenance has friends in the Back Country Horsemen and gave me one of their numbers; when I called them up, they offered to take me as soon as our schedules allowed. And they're so cool! Conversation on the trail this morning was never dull or forced. And my horse was beautiful.

After that, I went on board the Lotus, a hundred-year-old yacht owned by a truly wonderful hippie lady here in town. 5 minutes after we met, she invited me to spend the night because she and the friends who were volunteering their time to restore the boat were having a girls' night, with good food and piña coladas provided. I couldn't do it tonight, but she's offered me an open invitation. Sleep in a bunk in one of the freshly-painted staterooms and wake up to reflected sunlight dancing on the ceiling.

How on earth did I end up here?

I may never leave.

Love always,

Monday, August 17, 2009

I could be like Degas

..if the next thing I shoot is ballet.

Love always,

Sunday, August 9, 2009

a full heart and heavy thoughts

This has been a hectic week.

Last Saturday, Michael (friend from church/Spain) came up to visit Port Townsend, which made for an awesome day. On Sunday, we woke up at 4:30 and caught a ferry in Kingston to make it to UPC by 8:30 for training for camp. Sunday afternoon was spent at Michael's house in Laurelhurst; from there, I went to roommate Katie's house in Bellevue for Sunday night and Monday, then off to Talia's in Shoreline for Monday night, then back to Michael's for Tuesday afternoon. All this chaos because Camp Arnold, where Camp Side by Side takes place, had an outbreak of norovirus the week before and had to shut down for 5 days, causing our camp to start on Tuesday evening instead of Sunday. Whew.

Got to camp, got settled in, played an incredibly complicated series of water games with the volunteers when it was way too cold to be in a swimsuit. Got to bed, could barely sleep all night, then up at 7:15 to have chapel and breakfast before the campers arrived.

Okay. Camp Side by Side is put on by UPC for kids with cancer and their families. Each kid has a buddy - one of us volunteers. For the entire week (3 days this year), you are given over in service to your buddy. You do whatever he or she wants. You're their best friend.

My buddy was a super-high energy 6-year-old blonde boy named Connor*. Within 10 minutes of arriving, he was climbing up the ropes that held the sign-in tent to the ground. A half hour after that, we were down at the fishing [tank], where we caught - no joke - 13 rainbow trout in the space of 2 hours. I'd never fished before. I think I'm good for a while now - fish are slimy and disgusting, especially when you have to hold them as someone else tries to get the hook out of their insides.

So that kicked off our three days together. Connor is go-go-go. And that's what I wanted; when I applied to work as a buddy, I said I wanted a bouncing-off-the-walls little boy. No girls; I'm not down with playing house and dolly and all that pretend-we're-princesses crap. But knowing that I was getting a little boy, I should've thought more about exercise. I ran the entire 3 days. Ran, and fell on the ground when he killed me with his sword (thank you, medieval theme), and held him up as he went through the monkey bars, and carried him when he didn't want to do anything.

It was exhausting, but there was something in that exhaustion...pride? At doing everything and not holding back? Maybe. Freedom, too; I could be as wild and ridiculous as I wanted, with no fear of judgment, because hey - the 6-year-old told me to. I complained and laughed simultaneously, therefore, when Connor's dad put him up to putting me in the dunk tank on Thursday morning. All for the kids, right? I changed into a swimsuit and took a (brief) hot shower afterwards, after giving Connor and all the other conspirators cold, wet hugs.

The exhaustion was emotional, too. Connor's a moody kid. Middle child, his younger sister has cancer, and camp is not a good setting for kids who're easily over-stimulated. He'd be the sweetest, happiest kid one moment, and then he would lose at carpet ball (BEST GAME EVER) and take off running for the other end of camp, pouting as hard as he could. It took its toll on me, but I got my frustrated cry out on Thursday evening and was okay the rest of the time. We slew the dragon on Friday afternoon and played harder than ever during freetime. One last program, one last dinner, and the families were off.

It was a strange feeling. I'd expected to feel relieved - finally, no more running and consoling and being constantly excited. But I was sad to see them go. And sad that camp was over, that we'd been gypped out of 2 days with our kids, and that I was going back to Port Townsend, far away from the other buddies that had gotten to be such good friends so quickly.

And now...I'm in this funk. I want to debrief, like when you finish a mission trip. I want to talk about why camp meant so much to me, what it did to me to see these families struggling with kids who are so young and are inexplicably stricken with this horrible disease...but no one knows what I'm talking about. There's too much to tell. I can't put it into words. I remember this feeling from the height of my Ghormley days - there's just no place like camp, and no friends like the friends who share that experience with you. Mountaintop experience, I guess. Back down in the valley, I have no idea how to put what I learned into practice.

I want to go back, that much I know. I want to "stop the world" for those families, as one mom memorably put it. But it seems like so little, in the face of what they're up against. How does playing dragon with one little boy for 3 days help his family cope with their 4-year-old daughter's bout with cancer? How does it change anything?

What's that line from Narnia again? "No one is ever told any story but their own." Guess it's God's business to worry about the future. There's comfort in that, somewhat.

Love always,

*not really.