Sometimes in life (a lot of times actually) we get thrown a curveball. This trip was supposed to be about me and the personal fulfillment I get from doing volunteer trips. I hope to take away as much from a local community as I am there to give. This time, however, might be a little different. This trip, I have already discovered, is going to be about patience and self control. I have always thought of myself as a pretty patient person. It takes a while before I get irritated with people. I rarely get offended by people because I live under the philosophy of, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.”
Rebecca is from California. She has done several volunteer trips and hiking trips. She has done several trips with REI (the outdoor clothing company) and “lives for REI clothing.” She was in a car accident that left her in a coma for a year. She is from Rodondo beach L.A. area and started in the film business when she was 12. In her 20’s she did anything she had to do to get the next big break. In her 30’s she had the accident. Her parents decided to sell her place and went through all of her journals. She now believes that journaling is dangerous and that I (who she just met) shouldn’t do it. She is one of two children born into a strict Jewish household and she drives a red Honda Accord that she got when she traded in her Element. She is afraid that her hair is graying too fast and asked for my honest opinion on the matter. I was nice, not honest. According to her, Californians think that the Midwest has the nicest people thus offending the four other people with us by adding that the East Coast people are rude and always in a hurry. She then preceded to offend our team leader, a native Appalachian, by saying that they were all fat and lazy (paraphrasing here). She proclaimed that since I was there by myself as well that we should be roommates and we would take the room at the end of the hall. She would be on the bottom bunk and I could take the other bed. THIS WAS ALL IN THE FIRST FIVE MINUTES OF MEETING HER! I did end up with a room of my own.
I like to think of myself as a good friend and listener. I am not really very talkative especially when I just meet someone. I like my quiet time and quite honestly, sometimes just being by myself. I knew right away that I was here to work on my patience. Although I thought I was a patient person, I need to realize that I have many areas that I need to work on and this week I am putting patience at the top of my list!
People do and say things because of gaps in their own personality. Maybe she is lonely, maybe she has a new outlook on life since her accident. Rebecca is very chatty and has no boundaries as to the questions she will ask you. She has personal space issues but she is here to volunteer. We are here for the same reason and for that, I owe her my patience and listening ear.
I woke up this morning and opened my blinds to check the weather. Across the road was this sign tacked to a tree outside my window. I will look at it every morning before leaving my room!
So for now, I am laying off the fastball and waiting for the curve.