back home baby

So many of my friends from Holy Cross are out doing great things and changing the world. Carrie is doing reconciliation work in England, Rebecca is teaching at a school in Harlem, Margaretmary just got back from a great environmental research internship in Oregon, Kate is teaching science aboard a schooner in Long Island Sound, Colleen is off to Oxford next week to begin her graduate program in medieval studies, and finally, Miriam is moving to intern in India for the next year. I’m so proud of all of them. Everyone is moving on to bigger and better things in exciting new places.  Me? I have a great VISTA placement…but I haven’t relocated to an exciting new location.

Yes, that’s right. I’m back in Wallingford, where I’ve lived all my life.

Let me preface the rest of this post by saying that I am truly grateful for my parents. I moved back home after graduation, and they have been incredibly supportive of my goals and job change for the next year.  My parents have always been incredibly supportive of me. I don’t have to worry about paying for food or rent (very helpful for my finances as my VISTA stipend does not go very far), and there’s always someone at home, be it my parents or brother or the dog, if i need someone to talk to.

That being said, there have been some challenges associated with moving back home.  At home, I have one obstacle that I never had to face at college.

Yes.  At home, I have to battle my brother for attention, food, and, most importantly, the television.

When I left for college, I was 19 and my younger brother Ryan was 12.  As the baby of the family, Ryan was easily pushed around by his two sisters (Kaitlin and me). If Ryan attempted to do something that annoyed either one of us, we could easily frighten him into submission.

Unfortunately for me, Ryan is now at least 5’10, seven inches taller and much, much stronger than me.  Now, when I try to force him off the good TV so I can watch Teen Mom on DVR, he simply doesn’t budge because he no longer fears me.

Not to mention that we have very different tastes in entertainment.  My brother likes playing war-like video games (stuff in the vein of Call of Duty but not actually CoD), and I like watching trashy MTV reality shows and Criminal Minds.

Plus he likes to eat my leftover pad thai.  That just ain’t right.

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first post as a vista!

Sorry that it’s been so long since my last post! I’ve been all over the place: family vacation on Long Beach Island, Pre-Service Orientation in Philadelphia, and adjusting to my new job….plus getting used to living with my parents again after college (which is fun for the most part, but also equally challenging in other ways even though my parents and I get along).  I didn’t relocate to Hartford because I already live in Connecticut, so right now I’m also adjusting to my commute and whatnot.

So far I am really liking my placement! The site I work at does some really great things for Connecticut youth, and as a result is definitely an organization that I feel good being a part of, if that makes any sense. There are two other VISTAs at my site, Johnanna and Julia, and they are both wonderful. It’s like having a built-in support system, and it’s been a real relief that I am not going this alone.

Another benefit of actually starting VISTA is that I can actually explain what exactly I am working on this year.  Basically, VISTAS are supposed to build capacity in organizations so that the organization can expand its services and better serve its community. By building capacity and improving organizational services, VISTAs hope to eliminate poverty in their communities.  I am working in the Quality Assurance department at OPP. The basic function of QA at OPP is to constantly improve the services that we provide to youth members.  My specific project this year is to build a network of nonprofit QA professionals to strengthen OPP QA’s professional knowledge and strategic partnerships. I am trying to achieve that by making a LinkedIn group and possibly scheduling in-person meetings.

Otherwise, my post grad life has been relatively uneventful. While I do miss HC to pieces, work has really kept me from missing school too much!

PS:  Just want to  plug my fellow HC alum, former roommate, and dear friend Rebecca’s blog about her year as a Jesuit Volunteer. Rebecca is an amazing writer and even better person, so check her out! You won’t regret it!