During the weekdays I am a fourth grade teacher but on the weekends I am Rosie the Riveter. Living in Esopus has created a new sense of determination and strength inside myself. This semester I experienced a new transition in my life which has brought me so many challenges and opportunities. During the week I teach a classroom of 25 students, I dress professionally and really have a lot of new responsibilities. However, on the weekends I am still the same manual labor loving girl. This past weekend I was able to paint the stairs that lead to the choir loft in the main retreat house. As tired as I may have been from a long week of school I still had that amazing feeling of taking a step back and admiring the hard work that went into making a space more beautiful. I truly feel more like myself when I am able to do work and make a space more inviting. All you need sometimes is a little hard work and determination. Esopus is the one place where I am willing to push myself in order to achieve a goal that may seem out of reach.
Right now at this moment in my life I feel incredibly blessed and loved. I know that I am not the same person that started this volunteer program back in August. I am a better and stronger person. I have become more comfortable with waking up early every morning and getting ready and excited to step into that classroom everyday. I have learned how to bring the hospitality side of community into my classroom and share my love with my students. I have gotten pretty good at preparing my own lunch and snacks for school. I also learned so many new things and checked some big things off my goal list. I learned how to drive stick shift and tackle the riding mower. I also met so many new incredible people from Marist schools all over the country. I have been able to form bonds with these people that I may have never encountered before if I hadn’t been a part of this community. After all this when I look back at the crazy blur that is my life I feel so grateful and honored to see amazing and happy memories that come flooding into my head. I'm really lucky to be able to come home to such a beautiful place and have such an incredible Marist family supporting me.
So as crazy as my life may be right now I know with all of my heart that this is where I am supposed to be. Right here, right now with these people in this place having these experiences and letting them molded me into the person I am today. I am forever grateful.