The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely mine and not connected in anyway to the United States Peace Corps.



It's something everyone experiences.  And some people are better at handling it than others.

I had always thought I was one of those people who is good at handling their stress I mean, I laugh pretty easily, I'm a 'go with the flow' kind of person... but I've discovered that I'm just really REALLY good at ignoring my problems (ie: I'm good at pretending I have nothing to stress about--it's what got me through ugrad).

But when it comes to dealing with people instead of papers ignoring my stress is not really possible.  Especially when the stress comes from needing to find a cheap, clean, safe place for  a 16month old baby and his mother to live before the shelter closes in 5 days.

I know it's stupid and selfish, I even already know the answer but sometimes I wonder--why haven't I left yet? The oldest women who has come through our shelter was 56 and the youngest was 23 and I, I've been responsible for all of them--and their kids. And for those of you who know me, I'm barely able to be responsible for myself... and I kinda hate kids.  Well, hate is a strong word, I really can't stand being around babies or young kids for long periods of time.

*sigh* Right then. Self-pity party over. 5 days. I've got some resources to look up.



It's a constant emotional roller coaster, with considerably more downs than ups.  And the only thing getting me through the extra month that i'm staying is the fact that i get to go home oh so soon.

And now I have a decision to make, and it may be the most grown-up decision I've ever had to make. It's a big girl job, with a big girl salary and it's mine for the taking--if I want it.

My logical side is screaming at me, telling me I'll never get an opportunity like this again, that it would be a great step up in the non-profit business world, that it would counter-balance my science bulging resume and potentially make me a candidate for the type of east coast school of public policy I still dream of getting into someday...

but there's this quiet voice, pulling at my heart; never quite giving up, forcing me to acknowledge that while i may have come to a point where i've accepted everything (and more) that seems to fall under my current job description and i've made a considerable impact during my 8+weeks down here----i am not cut out for this type of work.

Really, i have handled everything this internship has thrown at me, from accompanist to errand girl to non-profit incorporator. It's the case worker bit of the job that just drains me. Drains me to the point where I think it might be making me sick.  No, seriously. I'm so emotionally and mentally drained by having to be the constant support system, constant positive motivator, constant driving force behind these women's recovery that it's wearing me down.  I used to never get sick and now I've been sick on and off for the past 4 weeks.  My own body is giving up on me, and it's only by sheer will power and immense sense of duty (apathy took over my compassionate side about 3 weeks ago) that I'm able to give the woman currently staying in the shelter the emotional support she needs to get through each day.

But the job i've been offered isn't for being a case worker.  and I've grown to like this town and it's people, crooked politics and all but most of all, I've come to really care about what happens to this women's shelter.  and that is where I'm stuck.


people person? probably.

Is it weird for an atheist to like going to church?

I should probably clarify.

It's not the religion part that I like about going to church, in fact that's the one thing most likely to stop me from going.  I can't stand the lectures (sermons) about living a good life/doing good deeds in order to get to heaven, or how it's the devil that makes people do bad things, or that we have no control over our own life and we should embrace that lack of control.  Obviously, my dislike of such subjects stems from the fact that I don't believe in an afterlife, supernatural beings, or (for most situations) blaming anyone other than ourselves and our choices for the situations we find ourselves in.  But this is not a post about why I'm an atheist, so I'll get back to the point.

I've been thinking about it recently because ever since I've been down here, I've been going to church every Sunday.  Which, is quite often for a 22 year old--atheist or not.

It's not a requirement of my internship that I go, I started going because I find faith interesting. Plus, the Sunday school kids kick me out of my room by taking over the room next to mine at 9.45am every Sunday morning. They're loud.

And even though I've been the church pianist for 7 of the 8 weeks that I've been down here (meaning I do now have to go to church every Sunday) I think I would still go even if they found another pianist to play for them.  Which, is a weird realization for an atheist to have.

But here's what I've learnt about churches, or smaller churches anyway.  You really get to know the people that go. And when they're people like the ones who attend this specific church, you start to care about how their week went and how their trip was and what new story they have to share with you about their life and not only that, but you enjoy seeing them every week and you miss them when they're not there.

So here I am.  a fairly hard-core atheist, of almost Richard Dawkins like atheism (though having gone to a parochial grade school, high school AND university, I know what it's like to have unwanted views pushed on you and try to refrain) who actually enjoys going to church, purely for the community aspect. Will wonders never cease.


let's talk about that M word.


It's something i was raised to not talk about--it just, isn't an appropriate topic of conversation in most situations.  Unless, of course, you're telling a friend about a great sale going on in the mall, i mean, that's just being a good friend.

But put someone who frankly, feels kinda awkward talking about money problems in a situation where she's the one who is supposed to be raising money for an organization (ie: me) . . . and there are some issues that need to be addressed.

1. Telling people that your organization is having financial difficulties is not something to be embarrassed about.
In fact, if you are a non-profit (especially one that is just starting up), it should be expected that your organization will be having financial difficulties and desperately needs money. You should probably just get used to it.

2.  When your boss drags you along on a business lunch/fundraising meeting learn to adapt a poker face.
Maybe it's just a southern thing, or even just a texas thing--hell, it could be a living on the border thing, i don't know anymore--but people tend to be fairly open and really nosy. Put those two things together and you're going to learn a lot of things you probably didn't expect to hear.  Tip for those of us who have horrible poker faces, it's the eyes that betray us--learn to sneeze on cue, that way you'll have your mouth covered and your eyes closed!  It's perfect.  I'm still working on this one.

3. Just because your boss does things one way, does not mean you have to do things that way too [as long as you're getting the same (or better) results].
My boss is a fan of what she jokingly calls B.M.W. fundraising (Beg, Moan, and Whine) and it works for her, even though it occasionally grates on me (especially during business lunches--see issue #2).  But, I already know I'm not going to get anywhere using that method, which brings me to issue 4.

4. Use what you know to get what you need.
 My science background means I'm fairly competent at laying out a logical argument and I actually like tables and graphs, i think it makes the information easier to read.  So what do I do when I need to get money for my organization? You guessed it--basically, I bore people into donating me money.
            Along with this one, use people you know to get what you need.  I'm guessing you don't know all the available resources out there--call 411, go to your local chamber of commerce, call local churches, you never know where your resources are until you find them. And then...

5. Follow up on resources that say they're interested in helping out.
It may be embarrassing (see issue 1) and it'll definitely be frustrating, but once you get a lead on a source for help you HAVE to follow up on it, even it means calling back . . . again.  A gentle reminder by phone or email once a week never hurt anyone but let's be honest with each other--a restraining order is not going to help your cause.  Don't turn into the crazy stalker from the local non-profit.

and last, but not least--
6. Accept donations graciously.
I'll be honest with you, the first time I got a grant awarded to my organization I wanted to jump up and down, pump my fists in the air, and tell the whole wide world what I'd just accomplished.  Needless to say, that would have freaked out the treasurer who was handing me the check. So, i just smiled, shook his hand and saved the victory dance for when I was alone in my room. I've come to learn in the past 4 years that bedrooms are perfect places for spontaneous dance parties--victory or otherwise.

So how goes fundraising for my non-profit?  Well, add it on to the ever growing list of responsibilities I have to handle and it kinda gets lost in the pile. But, I'm proud to say that in the 6 weeks that I've been down here, I'm just short of raising an even $1,000 for the women's shelter--which isn't a lot, but it's something. and hopefully once this pesky 501-C3 status is figured out I can start applying for the big grants.

Right then.  Back to work!