All in Volunteering

Support and Inspiration from the Sixth Grade

It has been just over a week since I left Lesvos to return back to the USA and I just got home on Monday. I took the longest route home, partially because it was cheapest and partially because I made a detour to see some friends on the east coast. Since getting back to Portland, it's been a whirlwind few days as I tried to get my bearings, as I pack for a move to the Bay on Saturday and as I try to say hi (and bye) to as many people as I can. One of the highest items on my to do list during my 5 days in Portland was to stop by my friend, Ms. Maynard's, sixth grade class.

The Tears That Did Not Fall

A month ago I was packing my bags for what I know was the biggest adventure I've had to date. A month later, I'm sitting at the Thessaloniki Airport, enjoying my last bit of genuine Greek food, waiting to take the second of seven flights to eventually get me back home to Portland, OR. Once I get back to Portland on Monday, I have 4.5 days to catch up on what I've missed, pack up what I need, and say my farewells as I leave for San Francisco on Saturday for 5.5 weeks of training. Yes, it's a crazy schedule. Yes, I chose to do it this way. No, I don't regret it (at least not yet).

The Worst Phone Call 

The mood around the bonfire when on night boat patrol is usually jovial as volunteers chat with each other in the warm of a cackling fire while keeping an eye on the horizon for a speck that turns into a boat. Usually. But not tonight. Tonight I made the worst phone call I've ever had to make.

I'm Glad I'm Here

Someone asked me last week, "How is your volunteer trip going?" I've been quiet. Not because I have nothing to say, trust me--there's a lot that's been happening, but more so because there hasn't been as much time to sit and write. Or I'm simply too exhausted to. Or more often than not, there's so much to say and share, I struggle with where to start.

Finding the Silver Lining at the Ferry Building

Saturday night. I was sitting at a bar with a fellow volunteer and new friend, Maria, having a glass of wine when we got word that hundreds of refugees were stranded outside at the port because ferries had been cancelled or rescheduled for the next morning. There was an abandoned building next to the port that they were camped out in as they waited out a pretty strong wind storm. They needed some help and supplies like blankets and food brought down, so we called a friend with a car and hitched a ride to the ferry building.

Taking Time for Myself 

I woke up today not knowing what day it was. It's Tuesday. The last scheduled day I worked was Friday. So what happened between then and now? Your guess is as good as mine--time has flown! First off, there have been more volunteers arriving, which means more people to hang out with, which means less time for writing and sleeping, but I'm trying to figure it out. No complaints--there are some really cool and interesting people here who I genuinely have enjoyed getting to know. After a long day of doing various things, grabbing a bite or a drink together is a great way to unwind, decompress, share experiences and get to know each other.

Change, Coincidence and Focus

Blogging is tough for me to do. It's something I want to do more often and on a regular basis but it requires time and thought and effort and energy that sometimes, much of the time, I just can't, and sometimes won't, muster up. I have tons of half-written blog posts floating around in my head that I just didn't make the time to sit down and write out. I honestly hope to get back to those half-baked mental blog posts and write them down at some point--one day, someday. When I write, it's for a number of reasons. 

From Stab Wound to All Smiles

While the weather the past few days have been reminiscent of spring days, sunny with a chill but dry, we do have winter days where the rain doesn't let up and the cold sets into your body. As a result, most of what we see in the clinic are colds, or what's come to be dubbed as the Moria flu (headache, runny nose, sore throat, cough). Every once in a while we do get something different, like a broken leg, sprained ankle, toothache, pregnancy issue and even a stab wound. Yes, stab wound. That's what happened the other day.

My Monday night was a special one. It was my first shift on my own at the clinic, meaning there wasn't anyone to ask questions to. I kind of knew what I was supposed to do but also had no idea what I was supposed to do--but it was going to happen. Fake it 'til you make it? And made it I did. From helping reunite two different families with missing family members to using my Hindi/Gujarati to act as an Urdu translator (very similar languages) to working with an incredible group of people, it was a good night. The highlight of the night was meeting David though.