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February 26, 2007

third time's the charm!!!

ARGH! This is the third time I’m writing this blog entry. I had written a beautifully long blog too (well, it might not have been beautiful, but it was long!) The first time I accidentally went onto another website without opening up a new tab, and the second time it logged me out of the U of M system. But I’m determined to get this done! As I’m sure you can see, I’m rather far behind on my blogs.

Anyways, onto my story!

I was wondering what I should write about in my blog entry today, and one thing came to mind that is affected me and many other people right now. Many Christians now are going through Lent, as some may know, and I decided to write about my own personal experiences so far with this event this year. Now, I know that there are other people who are reading this entry who aren’t of my religion or do not follow a religion at all. I know that religion is a very touchy subject to address. Don’t worry, I’m going to try not to be disrespectful to the people who fall into either one of these categories and not make this a preachy blog. This is actually one of the first times I’m recognizing Lent and doing something for the holiday.

Continuing on with my blog, one of my friends who happen to be a Lutheran like me said she was going to give up using the elevator for Lent. Since we all live on the 12th floor we have become quite reliant on the elevators (can’t blame us!). So I thought this was a good idea and decided to join her in taking the stairs only. I feel really good about myself now, spiritually (for my own reasons) and physically because as I’m sure you can imagine, it’s kind of a workout to climb up these stairs!

Well what is rather ironic is that while we were chasing a group of our friends who were taking the elevator to the bottom floor, my friend tripped on the stairs and sprained her ankle! She is quite alright, she’s a tough girl, but now she is forced to use the elevators. I however can still be seen climbing up and down the stairs, huffing and puffing.

Another one of my friends has been joining me as I climb up the stairs each morning, although he is not religious. He says he is doing it to “pick up the slack? that my injured friend left behind. It’s really nice of him to do this because now I have a stair climbing buddy again and I really like the company!

But the main point that I bring up this story is because of the relationship I have with my friends. I have a nicely diverse group of friends here with many different backgrounds and beliefs. I especially like listening to what everyone has to say, what they have seen, what they have done, what they plan on doing, what they believe, and in general their own thoughts. I get a glimpse of who they are, and it’s like I can experience what it is like to live another life. Just listening to people talk can make it seem like I’m living more than one life. And likewise, I enjoy telling other people what I have to say. We all can learn a lot from each other that way that we might never have figured out on our own. I know I have been changed by the people who I’ve listened to, and I can only hope that I have impacted other people’s lives positively.

What I especially like about my friends is that we don’t criticize one another for being one way or having a certain belief. I believe that it is very important not to condemn a person for who they are and what they believe until they have really gotten to know that person more. One needs to understand why a person chooses to live their life as they do before they can make any judgments about their lives. It’s like the how the saying goes, “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes?.

I feel that many people make suppositions about people too quickly, and far too often negative assumptions. Stereotypes, a subject commonly brought up in class, can aid these pre-existing ideas of people. I try to challenge myself and others to see past these ideas that a life a person is leading is the wrong lifestyle to follow, because it maybe only based on the idea that they are leading a different and stranger life than is deemed normal in society.

I try to instead listen to what a person has to say about their lives, and in turn I usually learn something new and exciting. Only after I have heard a person’s story can I fully understand them and determine if their lifestyle is indeed a bad one to live or not. Only then I can decide if they need help and redirection.

So that is my blog! Rewritten 3 times! I hope it was enjoyed!

February 16, 2007

The Orientation Meeting for the Children's Hospital!

As I'm sure many of the other people who attended yesterday's orientation meeting for the Children's Hospital will comment on their day, here is what I experienced:

My last class of the day went longer than I wanted it to (we had a midterm) and I had to run out really quickly to drop my things off at the dorm and get to the bus stop in time. When I got there, I had a little less than an hour to get to the hospital, and the bus was no where to be seen. So i decided to walk part of the way. I got well past half the way before the number 2 bus reached me.

So I got on the bus and rode the rest of the way there. On the bus I meet up with Alex and Jackie (sorry if I butcher your names!!!) and was quite pleased to know I was on the right bus going in the right direction! I have had bad instances in the past...

We got there with plenty of time to spare and got all settled in. I was rather impressed with how well they treated us there, giving us snacks and beverages. I remember the chairs were very comfortable as well. So we all sat down, and waited as other people filtered in and commenced with the orientation.

I learned quite a bit on what to do and what not to do while volunteering there. I'm so used to cuddling a child at the nusery, hugging them, playing with them, and kissing them (when they had their boo boos) and here we can't really do that. We cannot also get too attached to them. That'll be hard. But all these restrictions make sense. The chances of us seeing them every time we volunteer are very slim, so we don't want to hurt the kids in that way. Also, if we feel attached to one and we want to do something for them, like buy them a gift, then the others kids will feel left out. Being that I am so used to a regular nursery setting, this will be rather tough for me to get used to.

After we all got let out, packed up our stuff, handed in the forms we signed, we all went outside into the cold. Apparently those who ran out to the bus stop were able to see the number 2 bus leave. So we all had to stand outside in the cold until the next bus came by, which was about 30 minutes later. I started to feel my legs being pricked by the cold, and soon wasn't able to feel them at all! I don't think I was more happy to see a public bus as I was that night!

I appologize to all of my classmates who are reading this and have heard the story 10 times already from other people's blogs! I'm sure it gets a bit repetative and annoying after a while! eck...

February 12, 2007

My Nursery Experiences

The place that I want to volunteer at for credit for this class is at the Children's Hospital because I have had a lot of dealing with kids in my past. For the past 3 years or so, I have been volunteering for my church's nursery back in my hometown. I would go there every Sunday and watch over the little kids as their older family members would attend the sermon. In those three years I have gone through all sorts of things a kid can dish out on you. I have had to change diapers, I have had to take care of a few sick kids, watch over children only a few months old, rock a sleeping child, clean up all the toys the kids enjoy taking off the shelves, making sure the kids are safe, and the list continues! It was rather crazy, and certainly stressful. But at the same time it was very rewarding.

I remember near the beginning of my volunteering in the nursery, I met this new born child whose name was Neils. His mother was one of those mothers who weren’t so worried about leaving the nursery attendants a few month old child, so I got to know this boy quite early on. What was amazing that I witnessed in this child was that I got to see him grow! I was so amazed when he started to crawl. Soon afterwards, it seemed within weeks, he was able to walk! And almost miraculously, he was soon speaking! It was limited speech, but nonetheless quite remarkable! Last I saw him (about a month ago) he was actually speaking in full sentences!

What I took back from this experience was the miracles a child can bring. For example, it always amazes me how quickly a child can learn. I am currently enrolled in a French class and I’m having some difficulties learning the language. It has taken me about 7 years to arrive to the level that I’m at right now, and here is a 3 year old child able to speak practically fluent English.

I sometimes watch the little kids in the nursery, and wonder what they will become when they get older. Who will become an artist, a scientist, a teacher, a doctor, or even a parent? But I didn’t like to think about it too much, because then that would mean by that time, they’d have lost their childish innocence.

This brings up the other ways a child can bring about miracles. They can somehow make life much more uncomplicated and trouble-free. They helped me be reminded of how important the simpler things in life are. As college students, we are always on the run, worrying about if we will turn in our assignments on time, if we failed a test, and so on. I would get so caught up in all the stress. Watching the children play in the nursery reminded me of when times were simpler and easier for me. Back then I did not know about all the problems and issues that affect me know. As children I did think about wars, I did not think about deaths. I did not worry my mind over issues like racism, sexism, and sex-orientation; I would play with anyone who was willing. I didn’t care about money, could do without trendy clothes, and I wasn’t a witness how corrupt people can be. When I turned on the TV, I would see my favorite shows and characters, not the deaths, the crimes, and the materialistic media that I see now.

Oh, to be a child again, not to have the troubles I experience and see now. Obviously I cannot go back to those times, but perhaps being around a child I can be brought back, just for even a second, when I youthful and happy.