What a busy/stressful/exciting/strange week I've had. A week ago today, we said goodbye to one of my housemates and a fellow BVSer, Sam. She finished her two years of service to Quaker Cottage and has impacted the lives of hundreds of young boys and girls. She has been a part of my Quaker Cottage experience, so for her to be gone now feels like losing more than just a housemate. I am incredibly thankful that I had the opportunity to learn from her. She truly understands what Quaker Cottage is all about. Outside of work, she provided me with a smooth transition when I first arrived. Because of her, Eva, and Steffi, I never felt alone or afraid to be me. For these things and more, thank you, Sam.
A week and a day ago today, we welcomed Becky, a new BVSer, to Quaker Cottage. Whenever someone leaves or arrives, the house changes. Everybody brings their own vibe to mix, and it has been interesting seeing the ways things have changed in just the first week. We no longer have Buffy marathons, but we now have an 8000 piece puzzle in the works. Yes. 8-0-0-0. Looking at the masses of pieces all over our living room is seriously daunting. It should be a fun year!
This week also brought Cooking Week Round 2. This was my first cooking week exclusively by myself, and I would lying if I said I wasn't nervous. I wanted to cook something fairly easy, and after much deliberation, I decided to go with meatloaf. My supervisor had been attempting for a long time to get one of us American volunteers to cook meatloaf, and for whatever reason, no one had. It seems like many people here have never had meatloaf, so even though it's meatloaf, it was an absolute hit with the mums. No exaggeration! They loved it! Each day, I received compliments from them on how good it was or requests for the recipe. However, the highlight of the week came when I received my first marriage proposal. To be honest, I didn't even realize what had transpired until about 10 minutes after the conversation had taken place. The conversation went something like this:
Mum: "That was a delicious meal. You would make a great husband."
Me: "Oh, thanks! It was a pleasure to make it for you!"
Mum: "Do you fancy getting married?"
Me: "Well, hopefully someday, but I'm not looking for that at the moment."
Can you see how in the moment I thought she had simply been asking if I wanted to get married someday? Thank goodness I answered the way that I did! Think about how things would have continued had I responded with "I would love to get married" or anything of that nature...
But that's not the end of it. The following day, I learned of a second admirer. This time, the mum was a bit more subtle and simply asked if I wanted to go to the cinema with her. Although I liked her approach more than the previous, I had to tastefully decline.
So besides meatloaf and marriage, a few other surprises and funny moments popped up this week. On Wednesday, for an unknown reason, the power went out for our area on the mountain at around 11:30am. I had just finished preparing lunch, so I lucked out there. Unfortunately, we had no idea when the power would come back on. Our evening afterschool group wouldn't be able to come up to Quakers if the building was cold and dark, so we decided to make a trip to Belfast Castle and play games in the garden. It was a pretty chilly night that night, and I wasn't really looking forward to going back home to a house that is cold even when the heat is on. We do have a fire stove though, so Becky and I popped in some coal and sat with candles burning in the one warm room we had. The power didn't come back on until 5:00am the following morning. That was 15ish hours of no heat besides the fire we lit. Thank goodness for lots of blankets!
The award for funniest moment of the week goes to one of the bus runs. I was up front driving, and one of the boys we picked up was sitting behind me. We were chatting some when out of the blue he asks, "Are you Jesus?" Now, this could have been a really cool moment where he goes on to explain that the reason he thinks this is because of how I am kind and loving to everyone, but no. His reason? "Because you have Jesus coins." .......huh? What are Jesus coins? I still don't know. It was a bit scary though since I really did have a pocket full of coins, and he had no reason to know that. Anyway, now I'm Jesus and a lady's man.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of joining a group of young Quaker Friends for a Thanksgiving meal. I'm an ocean away, but I still got a taste of home for Thanksgiving. How great it is to have a family amongst (mostly) strangers!