This post will be different from most…maybe I’ll do more like this in the future, I don’t know, you tell me. But I felt this was a necessary post, as well as a special occasion (sort of).
Exactly a year ago yesterday, I worked my last day at Providence Row. There are no words to describe all of the experiences I had with this organization to illustrate how much this place has changed me. All the people I’ve met and hopefully have helped in some way have made such an important impression on me that it’s led me to where I am today. It’s pushed me to discover what kind of person I want to be, and where I want to be.
They say volunteer work is supposed to be a selfless act of service to others, but they are wrong. It’s a completely selfish act in a very good way. Sure, I may have cooked for others, listened to them, converse with them, try to help them in any way possible, but what volunteer work really does is help and change yourself. Hopefully for the better.
Providence Row helped me rediscover my passion for helping others, it kindled the fire of my want to travel and volunteer more. It taught me to be more patient and understanding, open-minded, and forgiving. They taught me how to be grateful for everything I have and to stop complaining over things I didn’t have. It reminded me of why I wanted to go into nursing in the first place.
Even the atmosphere around me feels like those last days at Providence Row. I don’t know what it is. The angle of sunlight streaming through my windows? Sipping tea as I prepare for my day? Something about today reminds me so much of last summer, it’s making my stomach ache from missing London, my friends, and Providence Row. I feel like if I wish really hard, I’d look out my window and see the English garden of my host family.
As much as I want to sit in my bed, wrapped in my blankets, and cry on my pillow over the pain and longing I feel for last summer, I must push onward. Sometimes, I feel like the only thing keeping me going is the idea that I’ll be in London again very soon, visiting or maybe even volunteering with Providence Row.
Some might think I’m crazy, missing a homeless center so much. Especially my friends who actually work there. I’ve told them once or twice how much I miss it there, and I believe they called me a “nutter.” It’s hard work out there, for sure. You risk getting punched, yelled at, cursed at, and even stabbed (that’s a bit extreme, but they don’t check for weapons…very trusting), and yet amongst the stress of it all, I absolutely loved it. It’s the only time I’ve worked so hard and never felt like I was actually working.
But I’ve got to keep pushing on. I need to face what’s really important now: school. I’ve got to finish, get some experience, and finally move out to London. It’s the only logical thing to do. Why live in a place I don’t want to be, and dream of another every night? I’m the only person who can follow my dreams. And that’s exactly what I will do.