First, the big news: Accepted for the 2018 Fellowship with IJM!!!!
2 years of education and I can’t even get my green stoll on straight!
Graduation was great. Done with school! It was a fast two years and it has been amazing to reflect on the transformations those 5 grueling semesters brought. Lots of growth and development and even some weed pulling. Thank the Lord those semesters are over and I can get into that therapeutic Oregon dirt!
Thanks for all the support Pa n’ Ma! Couldn’t have done it without yous guys.
Travel with family for the next week was all sorts of fun [including chiggers, ticks, mosquitoes, and threats of tenting in the rain]. My parents flew in for graduation then we met an uncle and aunt in Louisiana for a week of camping, then they ran off to Arizona to escape the thunderstorms. Dad flew back to Oregon to make hay.
Mom and I spent the next two days on an Austin adventure. The highlight for me was when mom and I went to visit Rancho Bayo Ranch where they breed Kiger mustangs- complete with 123 real live beauties!
Long haul home from Texas- we made it to Oregon after 47 hours on the road! We invested a significant amount of time in planning and chose to drive across New Mexico and Arizona, then up through California on 101. We stayed in Tucson the first night and finally understood what people were talking about when they said there was nothing in New Mexico. There was not much that was noteworthy the second day, either.
Except Ice Cream which is always noteworthy
We stayed in San Rafael, just north of San Francisco the second night. To save on money, I offered to sleep on the floor both nights. Which sounds great until realizing the small rooms both nights had a giant king sized bed with more closet space than floor space. Someone should let Airbnb folks they are missing a huge potential market of renting out closet spaces, too!
Third day was AWESOME! Hwy 101 is absolutely gorgeous from one end to the other! Having seen the Oregon coast, I knew it was going to be fantastic. I did not realize how beautiful the California portion would be, too. Redwoods and hills that were small mountains and no traffic! Apparently everyone else had heard about the slides we did not know about and avoided 101 for fear of construction or something because we made great time and had little to slow us down aside from the views.
I love these gals!
We stopped by Newport and then jetted home where mom had homemade hamburgers and freshly baked marionberry cobbler waiting for us. It’s so easy to forget the magic of the simple little things, like rolling in the lawn without thinking about chiggers, ticks, lice, fire ants, toxic waste, or whatever. And the taste of marionberries that only grow in the PNW. And the feeling of not sitting in a moving vehicle. And cool, grey Oregon mist.
And the sound of a house filled with family!!! Saturday with family and friends coming to welcome us home was tremendous. I forget how blessed I am and how much I love the sound of my people coming together in one place. After so long away, it was so great, even if only half of you all could make it! Perhaps more-so because I had the opportunity to talk to everyone who was able to come before they left. You who were not there were missed and I will track you down as soon as I can. Especially since I am happily back in the land of no reception where you can’t find me and I can easily get lost in the world of the garden as I remember what it is like to not be thinking of class assignments constantly.
2,550 miles later: the Vancouver Farmers [Market]
Sunday, the three of us “completed” our road trip with a stop at the Vancouver Farmer’s Market so we can say we went from Texas to Washington and crossed 6 states in 5 days. That was over 2,550 miles in approximately 50 hours. And with a record of 47mpg in little Trust Rusty the road warrior Civic!
We also stopped by some icons like Powell’s Books, the City Fair on the Waterfront, Salt and Straw [I’ve so missed olive oil ice cream!], McMenamins, and the one and only Thicket Nursery.
On that note, I am studying for the licensure exam before I lose more than connectivity out in the garden. That is the one thing I absolutely HAVE to do before leaving for training in D.C. this January. Oh, yes. By the way. I have accepted the fellowship with IJM in South Asia for 2018. Wahoo!!! I have been asked not to share location details online and can tell you more in person. Please- ask me!
Ok, now for the details you are all waiting for of what EXACTLY I’m doing, how long, where, what, and when: I don’t really know! More information will be provided at the end of June. For now, they have told me where I’m going, that I need to begin fundraising now, and when I need to plan to arrive for training.
The office I’m headed to has been working since 2006 to fight Forced Labor Slavery. There are strict laws in place there yet few people acknowledge the existence of slave labor When I spoke with them, they said they are entering into a phase of equipping the government to take a greater role in providing aftercare for victims rescued. The team is developing training and educational opportunities and I will be assisting them.
This is the work of IJM. I will be assisting with the Strength training.
Researching, developing, and evaluating is what I heard which is so specific that I wonder if I have the skills in my official Master Social Work toolkit to assist them. Really though, I need to go study up and take this Exam so I can get a job for the next 6 months. Work for 6 months to serve for a year? God willing. That would be awesome!
I am missing those of you not in Oregon, looking forward to seeing those of you that are in Oregon, so excited for summer adventures, and looking for work. Do you know anyone that would pay me to assess their agency? Survey their membership? Evaluate their programs? Pull weeds in their garden..?