I think I jinxed it. Before last week everything was going swimmingly and now nothing is. Well, okay, it’s not that bad, it has just been a nightmare trying to plan anything between all four of us in classes and working. Not to mention birthdays, holidays, and the end of the semester. Last Thursday Nick and I showed up around dinner time to take them out, by request, for real American meal- ze hamburger. However, something came up and they weren’t able to be home or have their cell phone to get ahold of. I was really disappointed that this was the second week in a row this had happened, and now I’m convinced I jinxed our success in actually getting together, which was like (10 for 10 before last week) I suppose trying to deviate from our normal Sunday time is where we went wrong. But schedules change, things come up, and people have to be accommodating. So instead of getting upset, I took Nick to Red Line Tap and bought him his first legal beer there. Happy 21st, partner!
On Friday, Terry and I visited our family. We had not seen them in some time due to scheduling conflicts and miscommunication and I was happy that we could finally meet them and talk. Before our visit Terry picked up some Dunkin Donuts and we agreed that the sweets would pair perfectly with the Ethiopian coffee they always serve us.
When we arrived Mr. Smith and Robert were there. The two were relaxing, as Mr. Smith does not work on Friday nights and Robert was on spring break. We talked about the weather, Mr. Smith’s job, George’s new job, Mrs. Smith’s new job, and everything in between. We learned George found a job through a family friend of theirs and was happy to be working. We also learned that Mrs. Smith no longer worked at the restaurant, but was now working in childcare, a field she had expressed she wanted to work in during past conversations. It is amazing how much can change in such a short amount of time. When we first met our family everyone was looking for a job and now everyone, but Robert who is in school, has a job. We also discussed how the dark, cold winters are a thing of the past and that spring is in full bloom in Chicago.
As much as I have complained in these blogs about the weather and that I am thoroughly ready to say “ciao,” to Chicago winters, springtime means many changes and good-byes. At one point during our conversation Mr. Smith asked if I had graduated, and I laughed, replying, “No, only a few more weeks”. I am excited, but the completion of the spring semester and graduation means a closure to many good things including regular visits with my family. I am not from Chicago, nor do I spend my summers nearby, otherwise I would continue to visit the Smith family. Outings in the summer, with the weather nice and Robert out of school, would be ideal for showing them more of the city.
As the coffee was poured and donuts eaten, with slight hesitation by Mr. Smith and Robert I might add, we continued to talk and watch T.V. When I reflect on this past semester, I am going to miss the couple hours a week I spend with them, for there is no pressure and time constraints, but the simplicity of being together and talking. Although, community service is not about the person giving, but about those being served, I am leaving with an experience I have completely enjoyed partaking in during my undergraduate studies. My hope is that opportunities at Loyola continue to present themselves to students interested in working with refugee populations, as the service is both humbling and fulfilling. Stayed tuned for next week’s blog on indoor ice-skating and how many times I will have fallen.