Exciting news!

For the past week, I have worn a clunky boot to stabilize my foot. Apparently 2 months ago I broke a bone near my big toe, and although there was some pain I was able to walk around on it and teach Jazzercise. According to my doctor, it’s called a tibial sesamoid fracture. Below is a picture I found on the internet to show which bone I’m talking about, and you get the added bonus of seeing my awesome accessory for the next month!

 

It’s crazy that I went to LA, D.C., and did various activities in El Paso with a broken bone. If the boot doesn’t heal it completely, then I can either have steroid shots or have the bone surgically removed. I do not want surgery.

But that is not my exciting news… 🙂

I am officially the new Middle School Coordinator for Ciudad Nueva starting this summer! Simon, the current Middle School coordinator, will train me until then to make sure I have a smooth transition. Accepting this job means I am committing to staying in El Paso for at least 2 more years.

I went to Pasadena, CA about 3 weeks ago to check out another non-profit to get new ideas to help better our programs at Ciudad Nueva. I am stepping into this position with a lot of ideas and motivation to change the program. Knowing that some of my coworkers will read this, here are my honest feelings:

It is simultaneously scary and exciting to accept this position. I had a long phone conversation with my friend Christi about it, and although I am ready to do it I am scared about the challenges ahead. I know it will be a hard year. The change means facing conflict, whether from people I work with, the students I lead, their parents, or other outside sources. I am not fluent in Spanish, which makes it challenging to connect with the students and their parents (and quite frankly, it is something I am self-conscious about because being fluent in Spanish would be so helpful).

This past Friday our staff had leadership training. One of the things we learned is that trust is the foundation of leadership. Without trust, nothing can be done. I am grateful that Ciudad Nueva trusts me to step into this position, and I’m grateful for the relationships I have already established among the students. But there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to build relationships with other community members.

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The Middle School team! (Angel, Simon, Gustavo, Gaby, and me)

Another thing we learned is the difference between managing and leading. According to their separate definitions, I am an amazing manager. I am good with a schedule, I like structure, am very good at planning, and can maintain programs well. It is not in my nature to see beyond what is already tangible, to envision and create goals for the future. It is hard for me to be flexible. There are a lot of things that I am not good at, but God chooses the least likely to do His work. I am faithful and confident that for some reason, I am allowed to do this job because God has a purpose for it. I will attempt to remain humble, and that I cannot claim any success as my own, but will attribute that success to the Lord who has placed me in this position.

So, I am overwhelmed, excited, scared, nervous, excited…and WOW. Two more years in El Paso!!! Other things are coming together, too. I have a possible living situation for next year but haven’t made any commitments to that just yet. Prayers for guidance are much appreciated!

Happy days!

 

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YAY Ciudad Nueva!

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The sweetness of home

I traveled from the southwest to the west coast, then all the way to the east coast, and then back to the southwest in a span of 2 weeks. Keisha and I drove to Los Angeles to check out another non-profit called Lake Avenue Community Foundation (LACF). We were researching new ideas on how to better our programs at Ciudad Nueva, and LACF gave us some great ideas! I feel encouraged, ready, strengthened, and motivated to enhance the middle school program at Ciudad Nueva.

Keisha and I also did a bit of sight-seeing in LA. We went to the Getty Center, Griffith Observatory, explored downtown and saw a few Hollywood stars (not the people, but the actual geometric shape on the ground), hiked up to the Hollywood sign, explored Burbank and walked the outskirts of Warner Brother’s studios, went to Hacienda Heights to hang out with Simon, picked up Bethany from the airport and went to Santa Monica Pier, and endured a bit of LA traffic (it was busier than usual because of the Oscars! I’ve never been physically near so many famous people in my entire life…even though I didn’t see their faces). The day before we were in San Diego, and we went to Coronado Island/Beach. I lost my contacts so I was forced to wear my glasses for the next 1.5 weeks. Since Keisha and I were being adventurous, we decided to spend the night sleeping in the car in a Walmart parking lot. It was definitely a bonding experience.

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And just as quickly as we arrived in LA, I soon found myself on a flight from Burbank to BWI where my mother picked me up at almost 1:00 am.

It was truly a gift to be home for a week. I looked forward to it for a long time. I attended Lissy’s wedding (I was a sobbing mess during the entire ceremony), got to be with my parents and have our tradition of Chinese food and movie night, ate brunch with Elaine, hung out with Carrie, reconnected with high school and college friends, and explored D.C. and Northern Virginia.

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Time flies when you’re having fun, and the fun ended too soon. As I said goodbye to my mom at the airport, I had to push aside the bitter, burning feeling that arose to the top of my throat. I focused on the process: checking in, dropping my bag off, walking through TSA security, and finding my gate. The feeling came back, so again, I pushed it away and decided to call Sierra because we had been trying to catch up for weeks, and we were able to chat for about 45 minutes. The moment we hung up, it came back again. It’s a feeling that takes awhile to shake off.

Home is easy, safe, fun, and comfortable. Those qualities make it hard to leave when I know the work in El Paso is challenging, daunting, and often leaves me questioning, “How can I do this better? How can I be better?” I know deep in my heart that I am called to live my life outside of my comfort zone. These challenges provide new opportunities for growth and learning, and I fully accept and welcome those changes. As a follower of Christ, I am not meant to live in easy and comfortable environments for the rest of my life.

I have no doubt that I am meant to be in El Paso for now, yet I cannot deny that being home felt good. I miss home. Perhaps I’ll move back to NOVA in the future, but for now, I am content with where life is at – in El Paso. If I were given the option to stay in VA and never go back to El Paso, I wouldn’t take it. The people I know and the work I do in El Paso are very important to me. The Southwest has become a home in itself. I love it, and I always will. Yet, nothing can beat being in the place where you grew up and in the presence of those who have loved you for many, many years.

And so, I am back in El Paso for another extended amount of time. I am sad, but not empty. I am full of hope for the changes that will be happening at Ciudad Nueva, I am encouraged in my faith, excited to continue developing friendships here, and I am motivated to continue loving the community of El Paso!