I love the people I work with. They are exceptional. There are times, as there are in any job, that circumstances drive me crazy, but I feel I'm unbelievably blessed to work with the people I do despite the insanity that occasionally happens around us. I know that if I have a bad day or if I'm upset, there is always someone to hug me if I want to be hugged. There is always someone to talk to, and always someone who will listen. And that's pretty gosh darn precious.
A few months ago, Lisa and I were alone in the office in the morning, as we so often are. I think she had just heard I was applying for the social work degree in Christchurch. And she looked over at me and she said, "you know, Lara, you say you're afraid of a lot of things, but then you go and do things a lot of people couldn't do, and that's pretty impressive" To be honest, I never thought that my 2009 trek across Europe was all that brave. But it was pointed out to me on numerous occasions (once by my mommy!) that most people wouldn't just head off to mostly unfamiliar countries on their own. And they have a point, I suppose. I had never travelled on my own before, to that extent. I booked the hotels and got myself from the airports to the hotels, I booked a train from Edinburgh to London, and I arranged my own sightseeing. Though in London, I had my wonderful tour guides! But still, I did do a lot of it myself and that never seemed extraordinary to me because it's not me I am afraid of. When I'm alone, I know I'm in control, and I'm pretty capable of taking care of myself. It's being around other people that I have trouble with, but Lisa pointed out that I do all these things I didn't even see, because I don't think of them as exceptional. To have it pointed out that you don't always let fear stand in your way when you have a fear of...like...everyone and everything and you feel like it rules you sometimes, that's pretty awesome. And the fact that she cared enough to mention it meant a lot.
And then today I remembered the entire reason I decided to go back to studying in the first place, was because of Lisa. She started a Bachelor of Theology at ACU in 2009, and she asked me for help with her essay because she was nervous. And I remember getting so excited about the idea of helping with an essay, that I knew there was something in it. And despite not helping at all because Lisa proved me right when I said she could not only do it, but do it exceptionally; it made me want to study too. I looked into doing courses at ACU as early as last March. And then came the 2009 trek, New Zealand, and inevitability, and I forgot about that completely in all the arrangements and decision-making.
With all going to plan, I'm going to be leaving this safe, warm, comfortable place in a month and change. And I don't know if it's completely obvious how hard it is. I go to work every day...you know...when I'm not sick, and I laugh. We can sit at a table and poke gummi lollies with pretzels ala Michael, or we can watch Cassie eat an entire bowl of just cream, and Michelle and I can giggle about silly things, and I feel comfortable with them. And that is saying a lot. Just this morning before Gracie headed off to mass, she mentioned that she checked the program and lunch wouldn't be served until 2 which meant that I should probably eat something before I went so I didn't get too hypoglycaemic. That was so utterly sweet. I care about these people. And it's not just that. Not only do they make me realise certain things about myself, they have contributed to changing my life. Even if it is, ironically, the change that will take me away from them.
I went back and read the entry I wrote after I had only worked there a week:
The people I work with are just....awesome. Beyond awesome. It's so FUN. I HAVE FUN AT WORK!! I don't hate getting up early in the morning to be there. I LOOK FORWARD TO IT.
I am utterly sappy and sentimental, and I know it. But these people deserve it. I have been lucky to work in EF&S for two and a half years, and if I could bring them all with me to NZ, I would. Instead, I will be glad for my time there, and I will be grateful for getting to have those people in my life. It often surprises me just how much we are changed by the people we meet and let into our lives. I think the impact here has been obvious, and I am eternally thankful.