A Sense of Belonging... Just in Time!
It always happens like that, doesn’t it?
As soon as you feel comfortable in a routine, finally settled in enough to call something your own with confidence, it’s time to move onto the next challenge, the new changes that will bring who knows what. This is how I feel today, as I enter my final week of my stay in Baltimore.
When I got to my bus stop this morning, knowing I was at least 2 minutes behind the bus’s scheduled arrival, I knew that I would still catch it because I’d finally waited enough mornings to know that it’s always a few minutes behind, and that it always stops right in front of me, not at the bus stop, so I can stay still instead of pacing!!
When I got off at my stop, I didn’t need to double check my map or even take my headphones off to hear the stop name. I recognized the corner before we even turned it, and the bus driver didn’t need me to request the stop; she knows my face by now and gives me a friendly wave as I step down.
And yet, it is my last week here that I finally feel like I have a little sliver of space here in Baltimore (and Towson, too). Despite all of my efforts to maintain a routine of working, exercising, seeing friends, and leaving time to see new places, it is only today that I felt I had settled into something familiar. That’s alright though; it’s a warm feeling, one that always seeps back in even more quietly than I remember it.
Today feels like a lot of that feeling mixed with nostalgia. My godmother sent me an old video from my 3rd birthday party in Caracas, Venezuela, one of the last times my whole family and circle of friends were together before we could no longer visit. Watching that video on loop transported me, took me to another life that I may have lived had my parents not moved to the U.S. It makes me miss a lot of people and things, and makes me wonder how well I could have gotten to know them if I had grown up there instead, the same way I’m wondering now about how much I’ll miss Baltimore and how things could have played out differently with more time, different circumstances.
If I weren’t presenting at this conference next week, would I have found a way to stay longer in D.C. to volunteer with that Latino youth center I had approached days before my internship with IDA began?
Or, had I not learned about and applied for the Moellership grant, would I have considered volunteering with IDA in another capacity later on?
Some people may find these questions stressful or too time consuming, but I twirl them around in my head and on pages, endlessly delighted by the possibilities. I’m overwhelmed with the thought that any one of these paths could have made me feel fulfilled in a different way, and I still get to be thrilled with the moment I am in now. How very lucky I am to have this privilege, to soak in the opportunities I’ve encountered and know that I can’t choose a wrong one. This week I finish my on-site research for the Global Partners Committee, although I know there is still so much to learn. I’ll be able to see (some of) the fruit of this labor in a workshop at the organization’s conference later this year, and I’m so proud to play a part in others’ understanding of dyslexia around the world, how the policies, assessments, treatments, and history all differ between various countries. I’m feeling more confident in the way that I think and discuss my field of interest, and I’m ready to put it to the test in Toronto next week for my conference!