I’m back!!! Finally! Is it really Friday? Seriously, this week is such a blur, but for a very, very, very good reason. Now I would tell you all about my week, but this is the weekend and the first rule of the weekend is that you do not talk about work. So I cannot talk about this week, not one mere hour of it. Get it? If you don’t, I’ll break the code for a second and say that this week was all about work- 24-hours a day, for the past 4 days. Okay. Maybe I have to talk about work a little bit, so here it goes…
This week, over 150 people from across the country- that are attached to my non-profit organization in some shape or form- traveled to good old Chicago for the launch of our new initiative to help make positive, healthy changes in schools for the benefit of the students, staff, and surrounding community. With the generous support of the Chicago Bears, we were able to work with two urban elementary schools on projects, such as painting their cafeteria & new mural, making improvements to the playground, building a brand new fitness room, taste tests of new healthy fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and energizing fitness activities. Oh yeah, and the kids had a blast with the Bears mascot too!! More pictures & videos will be posted soon so check back on our website at www.ActionforHealthyKids.org and our Flickr page, http://www.flickr.com/photos/actionforhealthykids.
I could tell you all about the week’s events- from how my alarm went off at 4:30 am three days in a row; to all the running around Chicago that we partook in; early morning and late night prepping; and how sore my mind and entire body are- but instead, I’ll say that every moment of it was A.MAY.ZING. and worth all the exhaustion. Why? Two reason: 1) The KIDS and their excitement & happiness; and 2) The people- old friends and new friends- that I had a chance to spend this week with. As one of our 150 volunteers said, “This week was recharging!‘ I am recharged. See, this is the past of my job that I really do enjoy…the reason I took a chance and moved to Chicago for the position in the first place. That was over 2 years again. Wow! Actually, Wednesday marked the 2-year work anniversary. I began serving the organization in Columbus, Ohio in July 2007- ironically officially beginning with my AmeriCorps*VISTA training here in Chicag0- but I didn’t begin my employment with national until September 29, 2008.
This week I had a great opportunity to spend time with two former colleagues of mine from Columbus, Shelly & Jan. Not only was it great to see and catch up with them, but I also enjoyed witnessing- for myself- how much I’ve grown since I was living in Columbus and first moved to Chicago. As I said to Shelly, “I don’t even feel like that person anymore.”
I will never tell you that moving/living here was easy. In fact, it’s been down-right difficult for me, especially in the beginning. I have never felt so out-of-place in my life. I have never struggled so much to find where I belong. But, I will always, always, always carry this adventure with me: The struggles & the successes.
During the activities that occurred this week, I had multiple people (men & women) point out my smile. It was “you’re always smiling”, “you always seem so happy with that smile of yours”, and “there’s that smile of yours again”. Much to my surprise, I even got hit on by two different guys- one (cute guy from Seattle) in an elevator when I was E.X.H.A.U.S.T.E.D.- but I’ll take it. I was so taken back that I went back to my room and Facebooked my dear friend, Adriana, saying “I think I may have just gotten hit on in an elevator. Maybe?” It’s just been sooooo long since I’ve been hit on by a normal (at least looking, non-homeless) guy. Sadly, I’m being serious about this.
I’m realizing that my tiredness is drastically affecting my writing in this post (my apologies) and so I’ll make my point. Happiness is the most attractive quality one can have. Confidence is the best accessory. I am grateful that I encompassed both this week. I don’t always carrying one/both with me when I wandered through the city streets, and hardly ever during the work hours, but I’m very appreciative for the differences that this week’s schedule entitled me.
So I guess the lesson learned is to enjoy what you’re doing and you will ultimately inspire, not only, others and yourself. Smile because you will make the world around you a better, happier place- for yourself and others.