Tuesday, November 12, 2013


At the moment, I have a lot of random things playing around in my head.  Some of them are deep, and I'll be saving those for when I have more time to write.  The rest is mostly silly stuff that I've seen or experienced the past few days.

Random Item #1:
I suppose this isn't the best thing to be known for, but there is some truth to it.  I've been ragged on and teased about my driving many times since I've been here.  (It's not because I'm a poor driver. I want to set that straight.)  Some of the incidents you know already (the petrol fiasco, parking ticket), but most of it comes from my inability to learn the roads around Belfast.  I've never been all that great with directions and such.  That's what a GPS is for, right?  Well, when picking up the mums and children, we have to drive all over the place.  I've been here just over two months, and I'm just now beginning to learn how to get to
the right houses.  I blame part of it on the poorly placed street signs (if they're there at all) and on the fact that streets in certain areas all have the same name (Oldpark Ave, Oldpark Road, Oldpark Street, etc).  For the most part though, it's mostly that I can't remember all of it yet.

One day, one of the buses went to pick up "M," a 7 year-old boy, but was pretty late getting there due to traffic.  After apologizing to him for being late, he says, "Yeah. Sometimes when Andrew takes a wrong turn we can be late too."  I wasn't even on the bus that day! In fact, he hadn't seen me in at least a week.  Yet, he still knows that I have a reputation for getting lost... 

However, I do need to mention that "M" is the same boy who asked one of my coworkers if they wanted to see his pants (underwear).  Upon telling him that she didn't really want to see his pants, "M" says "Here look!" and pulls down his trousers anyway.  He is also the same boy who decided that he was going to change into a new Halloween costume in the middle of our afterschool program...while everyone else was in the room...and wearing nothing but his skivvies underneath...twice.  (And it would have been more if we hadn't stopped him.)

But that's not the only time one of the children has brought up my driving.  Just today a boy asked me, "Why do you drive so slowly?"  Well, first of all kiddo, I'm driving a massive bus on these tiny streets.  Second, I don't know where I'm going, and third, it's rush hour.  

Random Item #2:
Did you know that Oscar the Grouch used to be orange instead of green?  Whaaaat!

Random Item #3:
The most fulfilling part of this job is obviously working with the children, but it doesn't always feel this way.  There are times when children drive me up the wall.  Most of the time, though, things are pretty settled, and everybody is enjoying themselves.  Yes, this is nice, but the truly great feelings come when one of the children suddenly acknowledges how much you are appreciated.  For example, Sam, one of my fellow volunteers, will be leaving us on Saturday, so she has been saying goodbye to everyone.  As she said goodbye to one boy tonight, he said that he was really going to miss her, and I could absolutely tell by the way he said it that he meant it.  There have been a couple of moments like this for me too.  These moments are the reason I'm here.  They inspire me to continue working for these children because I am making an impact.  Quakers gives these children a break from the harsh reality they live in and an opportunity to just be happy, playful, and loved.  Most of the time, I won't see the impact I've made, but every now and then they give me the gift of knowing what I mean to them.

Random Item #4:
One of the babies on Monday had a cold.  Never before have I seen snot bubbles of the caliber he was blowing out.  Actually, I don't know if I've ever even seen a snot bubble in real life.  It was amazing!  I almost didn't want to wipe his nose.

Random Item #5:
Feel the nostalgia!

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