Sunday, June 26, 2011


God is good.

I started keeping this blog when I left for Spain, and it seems that it's mostly been a journal of transition since then. Of moving to new places and finding new niches and making -- and leaving -- new friends.

Throughout it all, God has shown his faithfulness in the people he puts in my life.

I was going to write earlier about this being the easiest first week I've had anywhere, mostly from the job perspective. When my editor first told me he was going to acquiesce my request for a higher salary (look, I negotiated like a grown-up and got my demands met!), he said it was because he'd talked to my references and felt confident that I would be able to learn fast and "hit the ground running." As soon as he told me that, anxiety kicked in -- what if I DON'T hit the ground running? What if I take weeks to get used to the pace and the community and the newsroom? High expectations mean for certain disappointment!! and so on, as I am wont to do in these situations.

But this week, I started to think that maybe I finally have a handle on this journalism thing. I stayed until 7:30 on my first day, chasing down the numbers to accompany my story, which appeared on the front of their B section on Tuesday. On Tuesday, I wrote two stories -- both of which were A1 above the fold on Wednesday. My story on Wednesday, with the photo, took up most of A1 on Thursday. And my fourth story for the week came out on the B front today. Minimal edits, and I felt satisfied with the work I'd done.

So yes -- best first week of a job ever. While I had some downtime, I wasn't bored and didn't feel useless; at the same time, I wasn't overwhelmed by the information I was expected to take in. Could it be that I'm becoming a real-live reporter?! wowza.

While work was great, though, there was still a twinge of loneliness. Nothing too severe (read: no crying); I talked on the phone with lots of friends, cooked my own meals, watched my favorite movies, read Nancy Drew and lay by my pool. But there was no human interaction outside work, and the people there didn't really go out of their way to talk to or befriend me. So I was really banking on First Pres to be a friend-locator.

As far as friend-locators go, this one's pretty magical.

Went to church at 9:30 this morning; it was VBS Sunday, so quite different from normal service, but I was still able to track down Tyler, the college/career director for the church and a former Ghormley staffer whom I remembered from my middle-school camp days. He invited me to the college/career age dinner & Bible study shindig at his house this evening, and I went -- not without first driving past his house twice, wondering if I really had the guts to go barge in on a group of strangers, but barge I did.

It was amazing. Sure, there was initial shyness, but I soon got over it and into good conversations. People think the reporter thing is cool (though they automatically assume they have a PR "in", sigh) and I told my story about seven times, but that was OK. Met people I recognized as campers from my Ghormley days; met people who speak Spanish and rock climb and hike and listen to Eddie Izzard and make inappropriate jokes at the wrong times; met people who felt familiar after knowing them for five minutes.

God shows his faithfulness by putting me in the midst of people I need to meet. Seattle, Spain, Port Townsend, Santiago, Olympia and now Yakima. Can't get away from 'em.

This is going to be a hard home to leave.

Love always,

Monday, June 13, 2011

just ahead

Well, that last post was a bit melodramatic and depressing.

I mean, yes, graduation is still anticlimactic and brews a good deal of uncertainty, but I'm not as disparaging as that post feels. The future is exciting -- it always is. I hate change, but as a good friend has often told me, it makes the world go round.

And besides, moving to Yakima isn't that big a deal. It's close to home, and not too far from Seattle. Loved ones reside in both cities, and history is bound to repeat itself in finding me solid relationships in Yakima. I've been very blessed in that so far. God followed me to Chile, and I'm sure he can find Yakima, too (even if it is kind of the middle of nowhere). And he's shown his faithfulness in the good people he's put in my life, to come alongside me and feed my extroverted spirit. There's always loneliness, but it's never been forever.

I've been thinking recently about all the parents I have in the world. So many people have stayed with me and supported me and encouraged me and offered wisdom and guidance throughout the years -- I wish all young people could be as fortunate as I am. My host mom in Chile Facebook-congratulated me on graduating, and when I visited my landlord-turned-hostdad in Olympia last week, he gave me a big hug and reminded me that he adores me and that I'm always welcome in their home. How do I find these people? How do they find me? Very, very blessed.

Then there's the teachers whom I still visit when I go home, who shaped me and put me on the path to becoming the writer and thinker I am today. I had such great teachers. Maybe someday they'll make a movie about them, like Dead Poets Society-style. They deserve it (just not the ending....yeah.)

Anyway. Just wanted to make sure no one thought I was a whiner all the time. Only sometimes, and I try to remain delightful while doing it.

One step closer to grown-up land...

Love always,

Friday, June 10, 2011

looking ahead, looking behind

It's been four years since I graduated from high school.

Time has flown. College was amazing, full of unique experiences and opportunities, and I feel like I missed out on rejoicing in all those. It went so fast - it's been almost three years since I went to Spain, a year since I was in Chile, six months since I was even a student.

What stands out to me most right now is how much I haven't grown. I've backtracked. Self-esteem and self-respect took a huge dive in Spain and have been beaten back down on a fairly regular basis whenever they start to grow again. I think I was stronger, more secure, when I walked out of the Tri-Cities Convention Center four years ago than I am today.

I wrote a poem back then - silly things, those, and I feel silly saying it, but I still have them all tucked away on my computer - about my Peter Pan birthday party. "breathless, as we were, on the cusp of adulthood," I wrote. Graduation was so exciting in high school; I was breathless then. There was so much leading up to it - senior barbecue, final projects, college acceptance (and rejection) letters, senior sensation, the Willy awards; all working to build anticipation and giddiness. And then the senior party right after it, where we exulted our accomplishment and ran on an adrenaline high until 3 a.m. Everyone was in one place, everyone was celebrating, and most of us knew where we were headed next.

College graduation is anticlimactic to the max. I got done with classes in December, so even being on campus feels uncomfortable and somehow illegal, like someone is going to see me and point and say "Hey, you're done here, what are you trying to pull?" The ceremony itself today - no rehearsal for it, nothing personal; we wrote our names on cards, handed them to the speaker as we walked up on stage, and he read them off as we proceeded past. Not even in alphabetical order. It was as if no one cared whether it went smoothly or happened at all, or whether we even showed up. Saturday's giant ceremony is going to be even worse - they don't even read your name off. That's the only one my parents can make it to, and what's it going to be? I'll be just another silly-looking black hat in a sea of thousands of students. They won't even be able to distinguish my face from up in the bleachers.

I want it to be a bigger deal. I graduated with honors (I think) from the University of Washington - that's still a big deal, right? I mean...I guess it's what most people I know have done or are doing right now, so it's not really a stand-out accomplishment, but I still want people to be excited about it. Mostly, people are dreading standing around waiting for the ceremony to start, or worried about parking and traffic.

I know that I'm lucky to have a direction and a job after this. Yes, it's in Yakima, and everyone makes fun of it, but at least it's a job. And in my chosen field, too. That's more than most journalism grads can say, I think. But I want to be excited about it. I was excited when I was working for the AP; I was excited in Chile; I was excited at the Seattle Times, and in Spain. I want that feeling again. My friend took a picture of my today after graduation, standing in front of the "Department of Communication" sign in the COM building in my cap and gown. I've got this great, slightly cocky smile on my face, like "Yeah, I pwned that, now let's see where else I can kick butt." I want to feel that feeling. I want to be on the cusp of something, something exciting and worthy of my attention and enthusiasm. Instead, I feel let down, somehow.

Seattle's feeling less and less like home. Olympia's not home anymore, and Richland doesn't feel quite right, either. Where am I going and what am I supposed to be doing now?

Love always,