"Yeah, I'm new here."
This is what I have spoken regularly as if my mouth was on a loop. Tacoma has been really good to me so far. I'm not afraid of the constant rain or near vertical hill I live on that I walk up and down several times per week. All in all, moving here has been a piece of cake. After living in Japan and adapting to a foreign language, working a 14hr/day schedule, and grieving my grandma's passing alone I know that I can adapt to anything. Nothing in life will be more difficult than my summer overseas.
I know I have taken entirely too long to post but I'm afraid my activities are pretty dry compared to my last mission program. This list is some of what I've been up to since I arrived.
(8/22) The first week here was simple. I had the week off so that I could explore the community and stock up on household things that I needed. I attended a neighborhood festival and had time to acclimate to my new setting.
(9/2) My first day of work happened to be my birthday and I made a point of not telling anyone, not even my housemate. I wasn't interested in celebrating this year because I didn't have any friends to celebrate it with and I don't look forward to awkward "happy birthday"s from people I don't know. Surprise, surprise though, my boss and coworkers brought out a cake and bottles of wine after our all-day meeting. It was pretty great for drinking with strangers anyway.
(9/17) I attended the Children's Alliance advocacy camp in Federal Way for a few days. They call it advocacy camp but it should be called political action training. The first day we studied ballot initiatives, referendums, and upcoming legislation. We had workshops with legislators, a Seattle Times columnist, and more than a dozen contract lobbyists to learn the who/what/when/where of policy advocacy on behalf of our organizations. I also got to spend time with another Global Mission Fellow from Seattle who was at the training.
(9/25-27) The National Race & Pedagogy Conference is held every four years at the University of Puget Sound and I spent three days in workshops, round-table discussions, and plenary sessions listening to some of the greatest Social Justice Leaders of our time. Angela Davis, Winona LaDuke, Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Dr. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva all wowed me with their tenacity and decades worth of experience fighting oppression and documenting injustice in America.
My first few posts will be like this but hopefully I can write about more exciting things as the legislative session begins in the new year.