12 Days of Gratitude: Day 10

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward

October

This was a doozy of a month. So many things happened in October, both happy and not-so, and I’m still feeling the aftershocks.

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The Peace Corps Jamaica office, all boarded up in preparation for Hurricane Matthew. (Photo: Country Director Paul Sully)

It came with a bang…er, rather, a promise of a hurricane. I rang in October trapped inside of a hotel in Kingston with all of the other PCVs – nearly 70 of us. As Hurricane Matthew ramped up into a Category 5 superstorm headed on a direct trajectory for Jamaica, things got scary, stressful and confusing very quickly. Being in that hotel went from sort of exciting – we always trained for potential consolidations, even had drills, but didn’t think it would ever happen – to pretty awful in a matter of hours. People cope with stress and anxiety in many ways, and some of them aren’t conducive to being in close quarters and in quarantine.

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Alec and I playing Moving Bodies in front of everyone.

Thankfully there were many moments of light in the darkness! Dan, one of my PCV friends, quickly organized an improv troupe and encouraged anyone with an interest in trying something new to join. I’m so glad I joined. We had several days of practice, which basically entailed playing silly mind games with each other, and eventually performed at a PCV-organized talent show over dinner on our second-to-last night. I don’t remember the last time I laughed that hard. I’m so grateful to Dan for bringing us together and for teaching me how to do something new. I’m grateful for all of the fun people who decided to participate and made improv so fun. Oh, and I’m really grateful that Hurricane Matthew decided at the last minute that he wasn’t feelin’ Jamaica (does not negate the hurt I still feel for Haiti, as they were hit hardest by the superstorm).

Also, this video makes me laugh. Can you understand what they’re saying? Leave a comment below if you’d like me to translate:

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A few days after the Hurricane Matthew fiasco, my friend Melissa got married! She and her husband George had their Jamerican Peace Corps wedding at the same place where they hosted Camp GLOW. It was lovely, quirky and so much fun. We played kazoos to welcome them down the aisle, they serenaded each other and their guests with a beautiful cover of the Beatles’ “When I’m Sixty-Four,” and we all danced and ate Indian food together, reveling in love.

I’m so grateful to have been a part of their special day. It was a special day for me, too!

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“LGL” Let Girls Learn

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The week after Mel and George’s wedding, I helped co-facilitate our first-ever Let Girls Learn Workshop. I led training sessions for about 60 people, both PCVs and their Jamaican counterparts. For opportunities to grow at work and contribute to projects that I care about, I am grateful.

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More visitors! I was blessed with a ton of visitors in 2016. Two of my best friends in the whole wide world, Addie and Jade, came to visit for a week! As you may have read in this post about their visit, we were robbed almost immediately after they got here. It sucked. It still does. But they were so supportive and I’m so glad that we had each other to lean on.

I’m grateful that we had the opportunity to spend so much time together, that we were able to relax on the beach and enjoy each other’s company rather than choosing to wallow or let our vacation be ruined by one desperate individual’s threat of violence.

Funny how easy it is to get stuck on bad moments like that one. When I sat down to write this post, I was upset because I had lost most of my pictures from this part of the year because of my phone being stolen. That toxic memory was looming over my intentions to be grateful. Still, I find myself grateful for my support system, for the ability to acknowledge that I’m still upset over it, and for the grace to forgive myself.

October, you kinda sucked, but I’m grateful that you happened.

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