This is the Beginning

A friend of mine asked me to keep a blog going while I was out here, in London. At first, I was apprehensive, mainly because I have a very hard time committing to something. I will definitely abandon this blog after a few days. Maybe even after today. But for the time being, I will try my best to stay active.

Also, I figured that I’m in a city with no family, no close friends, and really no one to rant to. Or at least, no one that cares enough to listen. So hey, why not try a blog again?

So for those of you (probably only Annie) who are willing to sit and read the mindless ramblings of a young woman, alone in a foreign country: Enjoy.

Today was a tough day. It started out just as unremarkable as the others. Get up, take a shower, travel an hour to work. The usual. But I did some case studies today. A case study is a process by which one of our homeless clients sits with us and tells us their story on how they became homeless, and how our charity has helped them (in a nutshell). And as hard as one of the stories was to hear, it wasn’t really what changed my whole perspective on the day. Listening to one of our clients talking got me to think about all the things that I had done in my past that were life threatening. He made me think of my family, and what rough circumstances they are going through. It made me question whether I was doing the right thing, being in London helping strangers, rather than being at home and assisting those closest to me.

It was all hitting hard. The want to talk to somebody, but realizing that I really don’t have any one here. I am on my own for the first time in my life. Sure, I moved out once, but my family was a 20 minute drive away. Not a 13 hour flight.

As I was getting ready to get back on the tube and head back home, I mulled all of these negative emotions over in my head. I sat there thinking, “I just wish I could have some sort of sign that I am doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I am where I need to be.” And as I was thinking this, I nearly knocked over a poor old man trying hard to get down the steps and onto the platform.

I was about to assist this lonely and troubled stranger, but somebody else got to him first. I passed him by. Standing there on the platform, I didn’t notice that the old man, who was nearly blind, could hardly speak English, and walked about 2 feet a minute, was walking up to me, trying to ask me a question.

“Is this East Ham?” He asked, muffled by the commotion around us.

“Yes, a train at this stop goes to East Ham.”

“Oh, good. Thank you, thank you.”

The train approached, and he glanced at me again “This train go to East Ham?”

“Yes, sir. It does.”

“Thank you.”

I got on the train, and he was led on by another stranger. He ended up sitting across from me. I (creepily, perhaps) watched him as we passed stop after stop. I could tell he was nervous, and confused. He probably couldn’t hear where we actually were on the line. So I finally got up and sat next to him.

“You said you need to get off at East Ham?”

“Yes.”

“It’s not for another 6 stops. I’ll let you know when it comes up, and I’ll help you get off the train.”

Needless to say, he was overcome with relief. He tried talking to me over the next 20 minutes, trying to tell me about his home, his children, some cleaning people that go through his house. But honestly, his accent was so thick, and he talked so quietly, I didn’t understand what in the world he was mumbling to me. But I did catch this: “You are a very good person. Thank you so much.”

And I realized at that moment that I am needed here, too. I am where I need to be. I was overwhelmed with emotion, I just wanted to cry, right there on the tube. But I composed myself, helped this little old man off the train, and continued my journey onward.

In all honesty, I still feel unsure about myself at the moment. I feel lost, confused, and lonely. But I feel that as long as I immerse myself in my charity work, all will be well.

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