I think it is pretty apparent that I needed a Spring Break. The perk of being a teacher! Ya get 90% of the days off that the students have off. “Just wait until the summertime”…that’s what I say to myself during the year. [p.s. still looking for a summer gig sans students. If anyone has a hook-up/suggestion/idea, let a girl know!]
I decided to write my fulfillment friday about spring break – not only for the obvious reason that I am ON it, but because during college I contribute the experiences I had during spring break as the most memorable times of my life. So this post will require some flashback 🙂
My first year of college can be summarized in one word: Transition. Funny, because my first year out in California can be summarized the same. In the fall of my sophomore year, I came across an application for Fordham’s Global Outreach program:
“Global Outreach is a cultural immersion and service program where Fordham students learn about various issues of social, economic, political and environmental injustice, while living a simple lifestyle that fosters communal and spiritual growth. We send teams of students consisting of approximately ten students, one student leader, and one chaperone to live, work, and learn with partnering organizations in approximately thirty locations throughout the United States and countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.” – Fordham’s GO website
I sent in an application and interviewed days before I flew out to San Francisco to run the Nike Women’s Marathon. I remember going to the interview right after my last run that Thursday. “You’ll hear back on Monday,” she told me. When I got off the plane coming back from the marathon, I had a voicemail that I checked immediately and called back. “Kerry, I would like to know if you want to be part of our team. You stood out because you are the only person I know who has ran a marathon!” [haha] I was going to Guatemala. My mom’s reaction was “Kerry, we just got back from San Francisco. It hasn’t even been 5 minutes and you are doing something else.” Story of my life.
This team had to meet weekly from November to March, but the relationships we built have lasted a lifetime. The Global Outreach program was based off of the Jesuit principal of cura personalis, men and women for and with others. The relationship building in Guatemala, along with my eventual involvement with the Global Outreach Board for two years and as a leader for the Global Outreach Ecuador the following Spring Break, has led me down a path that has brought me to California. Through these journeys, I walked away with key experiences, memories, and friendships that truly changed my life.
I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to put into words what I experienced – but also, not take away from the original intent of a program like Global Outreach: empathy, awareness, and action. A lot of what I journaled is still in New York, along with most mementos.
There are very limited pictures of my travels, because the point of the program was never to be tourists. The only pictures I have are paintings I bought that hang in my classroom. Pictures that my students quickly realized where they were from, especially if there are from South or Central America, and has opened up many discussions with individual students about “where have you been, what did you do, what did you see,” but also “when are you going back!?!”
So my fulfillment has to be the memories and awareness from the Global Outreach program and the journeys I have had as a result of them.
What decision in your life set you down a path that you never envisioned for yourself, but ultimately, has changed you for the better?