I’ve been blogging now for 4 years, if you can believe that. It all started when my ex-bf told me I should blog from Senegal. The next summer, I decided to blog about camp. Then I was off to LVC, and people seemed to be interested in what was going to happen next, so I just kept blogging. But now that LVC is over and DC is far away, my blog needed a little visual revamping. So, here it is: Songbird Sings.
When I first started teaching music to homeless women at N Street Village, no one could remember my name (…I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve been called Amy, Amber, or Brenda). So instead, the ladies would yell, “Hey Music Teacher!” across the courtyard. I liked that – it was cool to be known as the one who teaches music! Eventually, one of the women I grew closer with started calling me Songbird. She would remark to me how I’m always singing and always cheerful; so, Songbird it is.
My blog isn’t the only thing that needs revamping… I need revamping as well! It was an incredible 3 years in DC and there’s a lot that lies ahead of me. I decided early on that instead of working at Luther Place right up until school in late August, it would be wise to take a break. For awhile, I toyed around with ideas for my summer: I could spend it prancing around France, possibly re-attending the summer program in Paris that I did last year; I could be a nanny for my niece in Napa; I could roadtrip all summer and walk labyrinths across the country. I had plenty of fun ideas, but I settled on spending my summer in the great Twin Cities.
“You could do anything this summer, and you’re spending it in Minnesota???” I’ve gotten that from quite a few people. I was feeling a little iffy about my decision too. Right…I chose Minnesota over France. But the fact is that I need a therapeutic summer – something calm and comfortable…low-key, low stress. Being in the Midwest reminds me of my college days and even my roots (I was born in Decorah, Iowa!). Then there’s the bonus that most of my friends from college are in the Twin Cities. My remaining hesitancies about this location decision disappeared when I saw that the Twin Cities were listed in National Geographic’s Top 10 Summer Trips of 2011. Booya! (Okay, so maybe they just listed Minneapolis, but St. Paul is cool too!)
It felt like the right place to be, though I couldn’t entirely leave my super cute niece hanging. So the day after my last day of work, I flew to Napa for two weeks of baby time, wine, eating, and then trying to work it all off at the gym. Going straight to Napa – though the quick turnaround from work to leaving was stressful – was probably the best decision I could’ve made. In all of my sadness, seeing my sis and fam was really something to look forward to. We had a wonderful two weeks, taking Kaia (at 7 months old) on her first camping trip, and also going to her first baseball game!
Then it was the red-eye flight back to DC, one day to put my stuff into storage, and then a 20-hour drive to the Cities. You can imagine what a whirlwind it has all been! So, my goals this summer include: eating slightly healthier, exercising more regularly, spending a lot of time outside, and spending a lot of time with friends. I don’t have big projects that I want to accomplish, and I’m practicing saying NO. Sounds like a fantastically lazy summer, but I must say that it takes a lot of practice for me to figure out how to be still and relax. And I need to figure this out before heading off to Yale in the fall.
I’m living in community with several other people, and I’m also doing a part-time internship teaching art to kids, so you can look forward to more blog posts on those topics. For now, it’s 10am, and I suppose it’s time to get out of bed and start my day! As I go, I remember the advice Pastor Karen gave me in my grief of leaving DC – a meditation she does with the women at N Street:
Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know that I
Be still and know that
Be still and know
Be still and