People have asked me what do my days look like...wellll, I will try to give a little picture of My Typical Day - Well, really no day is typical here in the Shelter but I will try. :) *Don't forget to play the song that I attached while you read because that song got me through a lot of the hard and frustrating times*
I try to wake up around 6:30 – 7:30 depending on whether I had evening shift the night before or not. I try to dress as quietly as possible without waking up my roommate who thinks that I am crazy for liking the mornings; then I head out to have some “me” time. With about 30 people in our house I have come to covet being alone. So I have found a few spots that I go to get away. One is called Bickers Wharf; there I can sit on some steps that go right up to the water and watch the boats go by as I listen to the waves lap against the stairs. Conveniently there is a cute café right there in case I want to get a coffee AND I have found that they are some of the cheapest coffee drinks that I have found here so that makes me very happy :D
The other spot that I have kept a secret from everyone else is triangle shaped piece of land that juts out into the water where I when I sit there I can feel totally alone. There is grass and often people come to walk their dogs so I get to get doggie fixes too J I love that spot so much as I can really get away and feel alone – something I have found vitally important to my sanity. It’s not that I don’t love being with people but when you are constantly meeting new people in the hostel and then you come home and everywhere you turn there are people you find yourself having no patience for anyone. It’s kind of funny to me actually how annoyed I have found myself getting at little tiny things. I am not exactly the neatest person but I have found that I am a lot cleaner of a person than I thought when living in a house with people who have not grown up the way I did and think that it’s perfectly acceptable to leave their dishes exactly where they finished eating, not clean the dishes they used to make said meal, start their laundry but don’t realize that putting it away is also part of the process (honestly, sometimes I wonder how some people have any clothes to wear), or just don’t stop to consider that if they do not put the furniture back after working out or watching a movie, who is going to do it? I know that most of these things are small but when you have a lot of people it really magnifies the problem. And honestly I found myself really, really struggling with this area because even though I would wash other peoples dishes, or straighten the living room a thousand times a day or wipe the table I was extremely upset while doing it. I would grumble and complain to myself and other people about how irresponsible some people are and though I should have felt good about being a servant I never did. But last week I had a really great conversation with a girl who I met salsa dancing and she had a similar experience with a roommate until one day she had the epiphany that she was the only one hurting in this situation because the person/people causing the mess are not bothered by it and simply don’t see it but here we are getting all worked up about it and for what? She said that she realized that either she just needed to clean up after her friend happily or let it go and not touch the mess. And I realized that I very much needed to do the same. Because no matter how “right” my actions where with a bad attitude I was losing all of the blessings of serving other people. So I have really tried implementing that and already I have been a happier person. No, it’s not always easy to walk through and ignore a heap of dirty dishes but at least I am determined to not get upset by it.
So after having time alone I usually come home and try to work out or make breakfast and go to work. We have several different shifts that we rotate so here is a list of those:
Morning café – starts at 7:15am and ends at 1:30pm
Afternoon café – 1:30 to 6:30pm
Evening café – 6:30 – midnight
Morning reception 7:45am to 1:30pm
Morning/Afternoon reception 9am-3pm
Afternoon/evening reception 3pm-9pm
Evening reception 6:30 – midnight
Cook shift 2pm-8pm
Sleeper shift 10pm to 7am
Hahaha, you all may be yawning by now but some people have asked me for details so HERE you go!
My favorite is Morning café even though it is early because I get to ride through the city when it is all quiet and the sun is shining bright, I get to see almost everybody in the hostel cause they all want breakfast, and the once the shift is over at 1:30pm I have the rest of the day to do whatever. I actually have to say that café is my favorite shift no matter what time – I thought that I would like reception but it’s actually really stressful sometimes and if you do it several days in a row you start to really get impatient with people. You meet so many people in one day and most of them come at busy times so you are just trying to get them checked in, checked out, charge their phone, switch their beds, explain where the windmills are, and that NO, they DO NOT get a student discount while there are 10 other people waiting behind them. I like making connections with people but since I really struggle with multi tasking I have to cut out the small talk to avoid mistakes which make it a pain when you are trying to balance the register and computer at the end of the shift. The other day I was really stressed because I had a very manipulative fellow trying to get me to give him free stuff and a young, wisp of a boy came up to check out. His attitude had been rude from the first moments when I accidentally assumed he was from Northern Ireland, when in fact he was from Scotland. But this particular moment he was feeling extra cheeky and was giving me issues about turning in his voucher (the pass for our hostel) - I had had enough of his attitude and leaned over the counter, looking him square in the eyes, and told him that a little manners went a long way and he really needed to change his attitude. The quiet that fell in the reception area was impressive and my colleague looked at me with surprise and a hint of admiration. After he had been properly checked out and I had finished the line of people behind him, who were definitely on their best behavior, Jenny (my co receptionist) told me that I could take a break and “take as long as you like”. Honestly, though, I don’t feel that telling him off was wrong. But I have come to realize that cultures are SO different and people are raised SO differently so for me to get offended by the actions of someone is silly because I may be taking it totally wrong. For example the Dutch and German people are notoriously honest and blunt and for Americans it can be quite shocking and disconcerting at first but once you get used to it, it becomes somewhat comforting because you don’t really have to guess what they are thinking or wanting because, by golly, if they think it, they’re going to say it J
So after (or before) shift I usually try to workout, which consists of doing Insanity right now. I am so grateful that one of the girls here is a basketball player and trains like a beast so she motivates me so much. You would think that with all of the biking that we do here we would have no problem keeping in shape but one of the things that I was super surprised with when I settled in to living here was that the level of health-consciousness is extremely minimal. Chocolate spread and chocolate sprinkles on top of already buttered bread is the preferred breakfast or snack and aspartame is in almost every drink as well as other products. My ability to buy food is limited so I have really struggled with maintaining my nutritional goals and have been really struggling lately with trying to get back on track; you know everyday setting your goals and then walking out of your room and realizing that keeping those goals is going to be sooo much harder than you thought when you were sitting on your bed planning your day.
The rest of the day could be filled with our MTP (Ministry Training Program) - usually on Monday, Wednesday, and/or Friday and consists of practical and spiritual training. We have “small group” on Tuesday mornings, which consists of eating breakfast together and sharing about our week, doing a project around the house, or doing something fun together. Dinner is everyday at 5:30pm and thankfully is not mandatory, as many days I just need to take that time and be alone. Dinner for the staff is held at the hostel that you work at and is followed by a devotional that the managers prepare. We take turns cooking so dinner always has a different flare depending on who cooked it, where they came from, and how much cooking experience they have.
Any extra time during the day is sure to be filled even if you had no plans starting out that morning because there are always people wanting to go to markets, parks, out to grab coffee, swimming, museums, watch a movie, or play music together. I find that when I am in my room it is very hard for me not to here the people go by and wonder if I am missing out on something exciting that’s about to happen.
Anyways, once again there is so much more that I could say about my day but I am late (again) at getting this out so I will post this one and start right away on my next one that will be talking more about some specific stories regarding the work that we do here because lately I have had some really cool encounters.