May has arrived the last full month at our work sites and I’m already having moments of nostalgia for the experiences of this year. During certain routine moments of the day, I think of little things that I’m going to miss in the future, especially the things that I know are unique to the Bronx or the Augustinian program. I thought I’d share a few of them…
7:00 AM weekdays- Hopefully around this time I am stepping out onto Andrews Ave. for a morning run. Running in the Bronx is not the easiest thing to do, but it is often an interesting one. I enjoy watching the streets wake up and come to life. When I head out, it’s rather quiet; there are just a few shopkeepers sweeping in front of their stores, sleepy-faced people waiting for the bus, and crates of chickens uncomfortably waiting in front of the live poultry shop, but the longer I trot along, the more the obstacles and noises increase and, before I know it, the sun is shining strongly and another day is in full swing. The path back is filled with kids in uniforms, rushing parents, street vendors, people with flyers, buses, car horns, and maybe some lively music. It’s a good way to start the day, especially when one of those kids or parents shares a smile and greeting, helping me feel like I am part of the community that I work in.
2:30 PM weekdays- I will be the first to admit that afterschool at St. Nick’s is not a piece of cake, but the way it starts off never fails to bring a smile to my face. No matter who you scolded or put in time-out the day before, all is forgiven, and this time of day is marked by getting nearly trampled by a group of kids rushing to hug you, hold your hand and tell you they missed you. It is really one of the sweetest things I have ever experienced. They also say the funniest things, as I’m sure the rest of you working with kids has noticed. One kindergartener told me he couldn’t help biting his cheeks while eating because his eyes were not in his mouth.
5:30 PM Mondays- I really like Monday nights. Sara, Jackie, Alyssa, and I get out of work and head next door to the priests’ for dinner. It is fun sharing a “social hour” and meal with our neighboring Augustinians. There is a nice mix of distinctive personalities around the dinner table, which can make conversation quite engaging at times. After dinner we have our community meeting and prayer and I think it is an excellent way to reconnect and regroup, especially if we had conflicting schedules over the weekend. I think our Monday night routine is reflective of the benefits Augustinian community life: we enjoy each other’s company (over a good meal, no less), discuss and hopefully resolve whatever issues there might be and then are able to share our faith with each other.
These are but a few of the many moments that I will miss when this volunteer year is over, but they are the first that came to mind and I hope you enjoyed reading them
Bronx, NY 2005-2006