Posts Tagged 'volunteering'

Some endlessness

Man, I’m tired of writing. This blog has been suffering for it, as you can probably tell (or not, because you probably have way more interesting things to do). I write to get paid, I write for volunteer efforts (I’ve signed up for a few and they’re panning out quite nicely) and I write ‘home’ to all the wonderful people left behind. So many letters on so many screens…

I’m also tired of introducing myself. I think that’s one thing I’m taking away from this whole move: living in a place where you do not know _a single person_ (other than Beloved, without whom I think I would have crawled under the bed and starved from sheer anxiety,) is exhausting. If social work-outs would lead to muscle growth, I’d be the hulk by now. So many new people in so many new places…

Still, I’m pleased to report that efforts made are paying off. I’ve met the first (of what I hope will be more) wonderful people. The kind that you just sort of naturally ‘fit’  with. It is a luxury to have those people (that’s lesson #2 of The Big Move, I think: Value the good folks) and I treasure them.

As to other opportunities to meet and to cooperate and to act and to make things happen: I wonder how much of it is the side effect of living in a high turnover place. People come and go here all the time and so holes fall into existing networks and this creates a space to move in and move with. Maybe. Or maybe things are working out because they are, with no discernable reason. Lucky me!

I keep thinking that maybe by now I’ve been ‘here’ long enough to develop a more or less qualified opinion of ‘the better and worse’  of this place, but perhaps rule #1 of The Big Move should be ‘ It’s (not better, it’s not worse, its) different.’ Which it is. One of the most ‘different’ things is that I really need to stop showing up precisely on time, That’s just ‘not done’  around here: I’ve not been to a single event that started as announced. I’ll give it my best try, but I am terrible at being late, so I don’t know if I’ll succeed.

 

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Developments and travel pictures

Guards at a gate

We’ve paid our last NVC-bill, the one for the IV-package. We’ve sent in the last of the paperwork for the IV-package. All we can do now, is wait. Once the NVC checks all our stuff, finds it complete and sends it to the consulate, we can start moving again.

Beloved has had his last day at work, so he’s home too now. I am happy to no longer be responsible for the largest part of house keeping and am curious what it will be like to spend so much time together for the next  month or two.

Next week I’ll join a class on dog behaviorism and body language at the shelter I volunteer at. More quality time with lovable pooches!

We took a trip to Rome with my family and it was great. My feet are still sore. Pictures accompanying this post are from said trip and were all made by my relatives. Please don’t steal them.

I’m negotiating a freelance writing project, which I hope pans out.

I’ve heard rumors about my resume traveling the US and going interesting places (like Stanford *squee*).

Next week we’ll organize an Open House to attract someone to buy our house from us. Fingers crossed on that one.

Inside the Colosseum

Saint Angelo’s castle

The Trevi Fountains

Tasty foods

All The Puppies

Shelter Dog by Steven L Johnson, under a Creative Commons License. (not one of our dogs)

A post or two ago, I mentioned that I would start volunteering at the local pet shelter. Today I spent my third half-day there and, well, what can I say… It is fulfilling work. I come home tired and filthy and happy that I’ve made the world a little bit better with the help of  disinfectant, scrubby brushes, bowls of kibble and some well-placed rubs, pats and scratches.

I’ve also learned I like dogs. I used to have reservations about the dogs that I thought I would like. I used to tell myself that I’m not a terrier person, or that many shepherd-type dogs are just not a good match for me. Now that I get to interact with a pretty wide variety of dogs (among which a fair amount of as-of-yet intact males), it turns out I think Jack Russels can be adorable and cuddly, pittbulls can be goofy and silly and shepherds can be insecure and needy. It is an eye opener to see that there are very few dogs that I do not feel affection for and do not, as far as I – a relative stranger in their lives – can, get along with. Just today I had a very stressed, neurotic, older Belgian shepherd crawl under my arm to find some peace. After that, I spent time with an male pitbull (built like a fighter, I think his head is 50% of his total weight and he’s all muscle) who was so happy someone gave him attention that he did the silliest little dance while trying to get as many rubs as he could.

Another lesson is that life as a shelter dog just isn’t fun. Even in our shelter, where they get high quality food, private indoor kennels, shared outdoor kennels (if they like other dogs, otherwise they alternate) and four trips a day to one of several fenced-in fields with play equipment, the dogs are bored and starved for attention. It is lovely to see how a dog perks up when he gets his weekly weighing moment and gets to spend some fifteen minutes in the kitchen with the staff. He gets called and talked to, he gets petted, he gets some treats and some play with a toy. When the next dog needs to be weighed and this one needs to return to his kennel, the ears droop, the tail sags and all the joy seems to evaporate. Back to the incessant barking of his under-stimulated neighbors, back to a concrete box with nothing to do but bark or sleep. It makes me want to cry and I’m not even the one who gets locked away as if I were an inmate who had committed a crime.

Obviously, the staff works hard (with help of interns and volunteers) to give all dogs attention. Quieter hours are often spent with some extra grooming, a walk off the shelter terrain or play time. It’s just not enough for most of them. It becomes a cycle quickly: a dog that is harder to handle stays in the shelter longer where he does not get enough training, enough attention and enough exercise. The dog becomes bored and starts acting out. Barks more, may become possessive of food, starts jumping, displays overly dominant behavior. Then, of course it becomes harder to adopt the dog out.

Anyway. Dogs love humans. They love you, reader. If you have some love to spare, please consider volunteering, fostering or adopting a shelter pooch. I promise it’ll make you filthy, sore and very, very happy.

That was a long vacation from blogging

Much longer than I thought it had been. Things have happened, as they do, but I didn;t feel like writing in the moments I had time.

We received NOA1 on our visa petition and have learned which office handles it. Beloved sent in his grad school applications after several rounds of back-and-forth while I played editor. We’re awaiting further action by authorities on both counts.

As a a reward for all the hard work, we spent a few weeks in the American Southwest, which was amazing in all senses of the word. We had some of the best food we ever had (Lola’s Kitchen in Barstow, CA) and some of the worst (a Thai place in Flagstaff, AZ). We saw utter decadence (golf courses in the desert) and poverty to the level of kids in diapers in near-freezing temperatures and dead dogs left in ditches. Also, the Grand Canyon is officially big.

Last week I said my informal goodbyes at work. Next week I’ll go back for some drinks and a slightly more formal farewell. I have plans to volunteer at the local pet shelter and take some classes. Learn to program. See if I can find more volunteer work. Take long walks with my dad. Write some fiction. Cook more and better food.

There is no interest in our house as of yet. We hope to see some in the new year. If it remains quiet, we’ll see about renting it out, but we do hope to sell it.

We had our customary Orphan Christmas in two parts, this year. One raucous party night til 4 AM with way too much food, a lot of wine and Mario Party on the Wii. The other night was quiet, vegetarian and had an intense round of Illuminati. Another night was spent at my parents, with turkey and Phase 10.

This week, I hope to post some of the more interesting holiday pictures. If it takes longer, it’s because Beloved and I are spending a fair amount of our time off immersed in the universe of Skyrim. Also, if I get my way, we’re totally going to go to a zoo.

Hope you are all well and that we may meet again in 2013.