I finished my first week of my time at London Friend, and I am feeling good about it. I started on Wednesday, got to know the building, sat around for a bit, and Rita (the volunteer coordinator and one of my bosses) made me a binder with a list of tasks that I will be working on. Let's just get a feel for where I am: tiny building with a newly painted purple exterior. The first floor has a mini kitchen, mini library (two long shelves of books), fliers all over the place, a round table, a counseling room and toilets. Small, but not bad. Go downstairs, and you enter the basement. Frances has a desk, a counseling room sits next to her, and then through this tiny passageway you'll find Rita in a corner desk and then in the next space is where I am, the helpline phones, and some chairs. It is tiny. Low ceilings, and freezing. They are used to it, so don't realize just quite how cold it gets. I have started to wear many many layers, and bring gloves with me, and oh, drink lots of tea - it warms me up.
Some of my projects will be data input (which I have already completed, I am hoping they will have more), research, working on a poster/postcard for a group, getting in contact with local colleges, going with Rita to meetings and events, and I think some other activities. I got to read their business plan, I thought that was cool, fascinating to see a real one, not a hypothetical one. Oh, on Wednesday I stayed in the evening to participate in a training. This was run by Ash, a training on working in groups. I learned a lot, techniques, ways to bring compassion into the room even is someone is driving you up the wall! In a few weeks he will be back to conduct a training on working with difficult people...that shall be interesting too.
Wednesday and Thursday were pretty quiet days. I think Rita and Frances are getting the sense that I am capable of actually working, I put together a powerpoint presentation for Frances for their strategy meeting that met yesterday. It's neat to actually learn so much about the organization, I also asked questions of what her goals for their meeting was, what did she really hope to get across...things like that. From just one week of being there, I have gotten the sense that London Friend needs money. A lot of it. They have been around for 40 years, so I doubt that they will crumble now, but they are in desperate need of money, and people. I am surprised they are so small. One of their goals is to get their name out in the community more, I suggested making a facebook page. They have one, but it is not active at all. Frances said I could make one, I said oh okay yes I could do that. That would be fun, but then the issue of who would keep it up remains. So many things to think about when making just one decision.
I am going in tomorrow, because they are allowing me to attend the group, "changes" a coming out group for bi and lesbian women. I have never been to a meeting like this, and never been vocal in a group setting about my sexuality, so that shall be interesting. I think it will be fine though, so far the people that I have met, Rita, the volunteers, counselors, have all been quite friendly. I feel very relaxed there, a bit chilly, but I don't feel in the way or a burden for them. They want me to do stuff, and are committed to making sure I get something out of this experience. What more could I ask for?
On Tuesday night, before my internship my friend Grace was in town. She and her boyfriend have been traveling Europe for a month now, and stopped in London for a few days. It was so terrific, fantastic and amazing to see her. I went to high school with her in Oakland, so we go back a ways. She isn't Guilford kid, she is from home. So nice to feel that energy. We went to the Christmas Lights show, saw some cool performers, yeah UK Top 40 for letting me know what's hot here, and oh, I suppose I could mention that we saw Jim Carrey, yeah he lit our lights. Pretty AWESOME!!! That was really fun, unexpected, but definitely an event not to be missed, and I loved that Grace was here to share that. WE had a nice talkative dinner afterwards and then said goodbye. I can't wait to see her again and hear more about her travels.
I played football (cough soccer cough) yesterday with some flatmates. It was just what I needed to kick me out of my funk. Very fun, but very sore today, no lie. I believe I scored some points, made some nice passes, laughed a lot, and just had a great time. It was also a beautiful day, sunny and brisk.
Last night I attempted to see fireworks twice. The mayors fireworks on the Thames never started, super lame, it would have been so cool, but something went wrong I guess, so we left that. Walter and I then ventured out later to Victoria park and literally say the last two seconds of the show. Oh well, I guess it wasn't meant to be. We did however hang out at the carnival for a bit, and oH!!! okay, imagine a churro, now imagine it a bit thicker stuffed with custard, or caramel, or chocolate or strawberry??? Um yum!! Walter and I enjoyed some of those, such a treat! I also haven't been to a carnival that crazy crowded ever (but i haven't been to many carnivals in my day).
Mmm. Today was a lazy day, didn't do much of anything really. It's pretty cold here, winter has come, the city is festive with all of its lights.
I'm ready for my cold to go away, I feel fine, just the endless snot is starting to wear on me.
Clea and Mik arrive on Wednesday night!!!!! Dinner with Gwen on Tuesday! Pretty good week ahead. Be well dear ones.