Hello World! Almost two months into my wonderful year as an FVM in Camden, I am really having a blast. The title, "I don't know how it happened," was sort of my theme for the day, for two reasons:
Reason One: I had a two o'clock appointment in downtown Camden, ten minutes from my house at the diocese. I knew exactly where I was going, and got there with a few minutes to spare. However, I couldn't figure out how to get into the parking lot, which was gated. This was especially frustrating, because I knew there was a way, since cars were in there, and I had parked there before. I went around the block a couple of times, to no avail. The last time, I made a wrong turn, and I ended up on the wrong side of Martin Luther King Boulevard. I wasn't entirely sure where I was, but I knew I was close. Two-thirty rolled around and I pulled out my cell (on speaker phone, of course) and called my housemate Alex.
"Hi Alex - I made it to the diocese okay."
"But then I got lost trying to park the van. I don't know where I am."
Luckily, I eventually realized that I was on the wrong side of the boulevard and hopped on over. I never made it into the parking lot, but I found a free spot on the road and made a botched, but sufficient, parallel park job. Forty minutes late for my appointment, I finally showed up at the diocese. Whew. All I could say to Chris when he got back from Philly was: "I don't know how it happened..."
Later, cooking dinner, I decided to cook the rice in the big pot instead of the rice cooker, because the rice cooker never makes enough rice. Well, I ended up pouring three and a half cups of dry rice into the measuring cup, when I only meant to pour two. I couldn't pour the rice back into the bag because I had used the measuring cup for water before rice. We had a lot of rice for dinner. All I could say was: "I don't know how it happened."
Independent of my continued misadventures, and because of them, I am really enjoying my time here. One of the highlights of my week is teaching Tae Kwon Do to the kids in the after school program, ranging from fifth to eighth grade. They just started learning their first form this week, and they are still getting used to feeling weird when they yell and punch. I remember that feeling, and it's exciting to see them getting over it bit by bit, being more comfortable in their own skin. I love it.
This Sunday at mass, the psalm was a song that the kids sing every week at Friday mass for the psalm, "Because the Lord is my Shepherd." When Isabella, a thrid grader, arrived at mass on Sunday, I asked her to sing it with me from the ambo. To give you some context, the choir is barely seen and hardly heard, and this was part of my continued attempt to improve music at St. Anthony's by making it visible. Isabella was completely competent, but the idea frightened her. I knew she wanted to do it, but there was a lot of stage fright. Fr. Jud, the pastor, gave her a blessing and told her that whatever she chose would be perfectly fine, but that he and God both knew she was certainly capable. Isabella ended up going with me to the front of the church to sing the psalm, and it was fantastic.
Being in Camden is frustrating for many reasons, but one that comes to mind is how much the music ministry lacks. We don't have an accompanist of any sort, and we have a limited music selection, between what the hymnal has and what the parish is capable of singing. I just feel like I am only learning how to minister to St. Anthony's, and not necessarily any sort of transferable music ministry knowledge. Who knows?
In the meantime, I will continue on, loving the people. I feel so much joy here, it's absurd. I know I am right where I am supposed to be, right now.
Peace and all good,