Friday, January 28, 2011

Most of the time, I enjoy my experience here in Tucson. The city, with its very agreeable weather and tons of character, is great. My four roommates are, quite possibly, one of the biggest blessings in my life. If not for the year as a YAV with them, I otherwise would not have gotten to know any of them. Even though Ali, Luke and I attended the same conference years before becoming roommates, we had no clue about each other. Each of the people I live with has pushed my way of thinking, comforted me when I've been upset, made me fall over laughing, and overall just been an amazing presence in our 1229 family. Most of the time I'm energized by the lessons I learn here, and by the thought of being able to share them in a variety of venues, and help others to open their eyes to the tragedy that is "the border towns." Most of the time I can understand this year of service, realize it will shape me in some way that I may never fully comprehend, and recall why I decided to do it in the first place.
Like I said- most of the time, I enjoy it here. Yesterday, however, I wanted to buy a one-way ticket and never look back.
Yesterday, I woke up sick. When I'm sick is when I'm also most home-sick. So, I went about my as usual, and left during work to go to the doctor. Upon leaving it hit me that I really couldn't afford to go to the doctor, as the deductible alone makes up 1/3 of my monthly stipend. Luckily in normal months the stipend has been enough to cover the bills, food, personal stuff, and even have a bit left over to save for a rainy day- or in this case- a sick day. On the drive back to work from the doctor I started thinking:
Why did I decide to do this, anyhow- what a stupid idea... spend a year without an actual income, so that when something happens I'm 15 again asking mommy for help. I'm just playing- I'm ready for "real life" to start again.
I'm so frustrated with crummy insurance... but I guess I'm grateful to have insurance, and a mommy to call when I can't even afford the co-pay.
I was more financially sound two years ago upon graduation.

It's a good thing I didn't write this yesterday, also- because I probably would have left it right there, with the message being "my decision to do this year of service was stupid- i'm playing for a year and not doing anything real, and I can't even afford to take care of myself beyond just the basics."

Luckily though, I slept on it. err--- laid in bed trying to remember what it was like to breathe through my nose, and thought about sleeping, is more like it.

And this is real life. It started a quarter of a century ago for me. I know when I am settled down- whatever that may look like- I'll be glad to have had this experience. I know right now I'm glad to have this experience. I meet so many people that, after the small talk questions of "what do you do?" and find out what I'm doing in Tucson this year respond with something along the lines of "Oh, I wish I could do something like that." And I could- I wasn't turning down anything that wouldn't still be available to me after this year. I'll make ends meet for now, and return to a steady paycheck and a normal routine someday. But right now, my eyes are more opened to the world around me. The ills and beauty of people, nature, and policy have come alive to me in the desert here, and I'm happy to be here to have it bring me life.

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