Oh, Houston

I haven’t posted in quite a freaking while, mostly because I’ve been traveling, saying goodbye to friends and family and that’s not blog worthy.

So I spent 5 days in Houston (muggy, sweaty, Houston) for JVC orientation, with all the other JV’s (Jesuit Volunteers) who will be based out of Houston. There were about 57 people, mostly recent college grads, who will be living in 10 houses in 8 cities, mostly in the Gulf States. Ok, so every other house is located in a Gulf State except us. I will be living with 3 other people, most of whom also got “wait listed” in the first or second rounds of placements, and we’ve decided that they took the rejects, put them together and sent them as far away from anyone else as possible, hahaha. Ok, so obviously not, but we are all kind of kooky. More on that later.

The orientation was also part retreat, and each day we focused on one of the four pillars of JVC-social justice, community, simple living and spirituality. Some of the presentations were pretty awful, but a few were enlightening. Also, I realized that more than a few of my JV’s suffer from severe cases of White Guilt.

I had a revealing conversation with a girl who graduated a few years ago and left her job in a lab to do a year of service. She also had orange hair and several tattoos, all of which were whimsical, none of which were scary. We had a lot in common in how we view the world and she had a fantastic way of explaining JVC. You see, it’s actually quite selfish to take a year away from working, to be taken care of by a ministry that not only takes provides housing and health insurance but your mental and spiritual well-being, and just kind of figure your life out. I mean, yeah, I’m working with the poor and the miserable, but let’s all be very very honest with ourselves-I’m not dedicating my life to this and while I may positively influence some lives, I don’t think I’ll really make much of a difference in the greater scope of things. To be honest, that’s really not what I’m looking to do either. There’s a self-serving aspect to this kind of service. I’m not trying to say that everyone who does a year of service is totally full of crap, I’m just trying not to take my role in all of this too seriously. I also noticed that many of the volunteers had a tendency to romanticize and idealize the poor, and I’d really like to avoid that.

At any rate, it should be a wonderful year. I learned very quickly in Orientation that my community-mates are going to be very very awesome. I mean, we’re all a little silly and easy going. I’ll fill you all in on my first night and day later. (Spoiler alert! It’s pretty sweet.)

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About Maggie

Hilarious drifter. Well groomed bum.
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One Response to Oh, Houston

  1. Dave says:

    I’m glad that you don’t have any illusions about what you’re doing. The program’s as much for you as it is for the people there, maybe more. This positive-yet-cynical (read: realistic) attitude should keep you sane as much as anything else.

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