After living in England for about 2 months, I have adjusted very well to my work schedule, made new friends, and know exactly the latest time I can leave the house to catch the train in time!
This is my work schedule so you can get a sense of my daily life.
While I work hard and do a lot, the actual actions I do in my job here is not truly what matters. It doesn’t really matter if I had taken my youth club rock climbing instead of bowling. It didn’t really matter that I taught my Junior Church class everything I know about Moses crossing the red sea.
What matters more than a timetable of job descriptions is the small moments that evidence a sense of human connection. That moment when a Roma kid sat with me while he was sobbing and trusted me enough to open up about his life matters. That moment when a Rainbows girl gave me her picture she spent 20 minutes drawing matters. That moment when some youth club kids and I could barely breathe from playing football so hard matters. That moment when I trusted my supervisors enough to cry for an entire supervision meeting matters. These moments create value in the routine. They place a purpose behind every table set up and every meeting scheduled.
I feel so grateful for many of my daily interactions, from energetic nerf gun battles with my host brothers, to weekly hugs from the children I work with, to the call for justice spoken by quiet yet determined women gathered around a single candle.
I thrive in starkly uncomfortable growing pains. One reason why I wanted to complete a service abroad program was because it sounded challenging. I entered this year expecting to endure constant difficulty, leading to immense growth.
Since coming to the UK, a new discomfort has taken hold. I realize I am uncomfortable with the comfort in my life. My job matches my skills and interests almost perfectly, I LOVE my host family, I feel humbled with gratitude by the support I have from you and my host community, and I feel like I’m serving in a meaningful way. While this is probably what everybody wants to hear about their family/friend who randomly moved to a new country, it counters my instinct that says if I feel comfortable, I’m not trying hard enough and I won’t grow. I am here to evolve, not plateau. I am here to fail, not excel.
My initial response to a job I care about is to work as hard as I can, sprinting through fire and doing anything to achieve. I am now realizing that something doesn’t have to be difficult to have an impact. The powerful moments I have experienced are not the product of tremendous effort nor the ascent of a Phoenix from the ashes of treachery and defeat. They distinctly arise from two people simply being themselves. The value in oneself is so often overlooked and traded for concrete accomplishment and measurable improvement. Though I have not completely changed my personality or the way I view the world, Wolverhampton and its people have put their mark on me. Growth is not always obvious. Growth is not linear. And growth does occur when a person can be his or her full self.
The interdependence and belonging I experience in Wolverhampton has come so quickly and rooted itself so deeply into my core already. I can only imagine the love I will have for this placement by the end of the year.