Posted on June 2, 2016
Until we meet again
The time has come for us to say goodbye. That is a line I remember from one of my favorite books, Anne of Green Gables. The girls were saying it to each other repeatedly when one of their teachers left the Avonlea schoolhouse. They would say it over and over and collapse into tears. Anne said she never expected to cry so much because she never really liked the teacher anyway.
I haven’t been crying yet, but we have said so many goodbyes lately because, yes, we are leaving Chicago. The timing has never been better, the stars are aligned and I am taking the plunge into international teaching. This way, I can satisfy my craving for travel and give Bean a stable existence as well. I am getting more excited as the days pass, but I am trying to take things one day at a time.
As the day gets closer to leaving, there is so much about Chicago that I will miss. It is a beautiful city filled with so much to see and do and experience. I am looking forward to returning here and visiting with our dear, dear friends and seeing the sights and sounds of this place.
Here are a few things I will miss the most:
This has been my neighborhood for the last twelve years. When I originally came to Rogers Park, I had no idea it was the most diverse neighborhood in Chicago. I just knew that I liked the fact that our apartment was close to the lake, public transportation and the rent was affordable.
Since then I have gotten to know the neighborhood so much better. We have made life long friends just by riding the train and going to a French Meetup. We have made excellent acquaintances by walking the streets, shopping in the grocery stores and going to the library. We have had beautiful experiences by visiting the two weekly farmers markets, planting gardens, walking and playing along the lakefront, and so much more.
It is hard to believe that the years passed so quickly. I will always be grateful that I ended up in this neighborhood and not another. It leaves my experience in Chicago overwhelmingly positive. I spent last weekend just walking around and seeing everything I love, the parks and play areas every few blocks, the walkability of the neighborhood, the new and old unique restaurants opening around the university. If the world wasn’t so big and interesting, I would not want to leave.
When I applied for a job at Misericordia, it was with the intention to turn down any offer I might receive. I kept that intention until I was given a tour of the campus. Immediately I changed my mind and decided that it was a great place to work. Nine years later, I still feel like it is a good place to work.
I have worked at organizations specializing in assisting individuals with developmental disabilities many times in my life. I have never worked at a place that run so efficiently, where the residents are encouraged to live as normal a life as possible. The adults that live here are amazing. They participate in the Special Olympics, work outside jobs, sing in the choir, dance in the troupe, and have a fuller social calendar than I do. They are happy, content and positive adults. Their families amaze me. They have been through so much and yet they give so much for the wellbeing of their loved ones.
Everyday brings challenges when working in this field, yet the quality of the staff and the commitment of the administration to providing the best possible life for the residents living here continues. At Mis, I have been able to interact with some of the best co-workers I have ever been around. I am thankful that during my time at Mis, I was able to come to a relatively positive work environment. I never thought there would be a place I could work for than two years. I shocked myself every year that I stayed. Imagine my surprise the first time I came back from vacation and found myself happy to go to work.
Misericordia friends, I will always be thankful for how you have enriched my life throughout the years. The way you strive to fulfill the mission of our workplace is truly praiseworthy. While none of us have done the job for money, may blessings come into your life as you continue to bring joy to the lives of ‘God’s most vulnerable people’.
If you have ever been a part of church culture, then many of my feelings may be familiar…
When I walk into the doors of our building, I am immediately overcome with the feeling of how much I LOVE this place. The people waiting at the doors to greet you with smiles on their faces make you immediately feel like you are the one person they have waited to see all day. Everyone still believes in dressing their best when they come to church. It is a delight to see little girls and boys looking like little princesses and princes. Bean has loved dressing in her church dresses and getting compliments every time we go.
I suppose what I like so much about this church is that even though it is huge, one of the largest in the Chicagoland area, with people from varying backgrounds, everyone is made to feel welcomed. From the doctors and executives to the ex-drug addict and ex-offender, there is a place for you.
ACOG was THE first church I attended in Chicago that I actually wanted to tell people where I went to church. I came right after my divorce and the birth of Bean. I was looking for somewhere to hide and heal. It became so much more than that to me. The people became like my extended family. Bean and I started to attend and work in the Children’s Church Department. She was immediately adopted, as was I. I felt like I found something worthwhile to do, work with the children. Even when I really did not feel like going, because Bean loved her teachers and classes so much, we got up at the crack of dawn, dressed and took the long train ride across town to church.
It has been amazing to see the children grow from youngsters to young people. It has given me a glimpse of what I have to look forward to with Bean. All of the things that we have been apart of during our time at ACOG, I have NEVER seen such professionalism and dedication presented every single time. They do not believe in doing anything halfway. The church is always doing something to benefit everyone: Friends and family day, new members convention, theatre group, praise dancing, college tours, sports teams, summer camp, daytimers, French class and so much more. I have truly been in awe of this church community. As I have told many people, it is the work in the community that this church does that attracted me to it and why I have continued to come to ACOG.
ACOG Children’s Church department, know that you are in our hearts in a special way. We will never forget your kindness, generosity and love for Bean and I. We will miss you dearly. Blessings.
There is so much more I can say about this wonderful place I have called home for so many years. If I sat and thought about all of them, I would never leave. However, the time is right and the opportunity calls. I am saying “YES!”