Saturday, March 24, 2012


So our time is up in San Francisco. We're waiting our flight to take us back to MSP; people are reading and playing cards and eating; and I can't help but feel grateful for my experience as a leader on this trip (TWICE, incredibly).

Notably, these next few days are typically the time that melancholy sets in. We've had seven days of incredible service, learning, reflection, and honesty in this beautiful city. We've lived in the Tenderloin, visited the Mission, Castro, Noe Valley, and Fisherman's Wharf. The organizations we worked with: Project Open Hand, PAWS, GLIDE, SF Women Against Rape, San Francisco Food Bank, and the LGBT History Museum--the people we've spoken to: Jason Villalobos, Beth Pickens, Alan Gutirrez, and Tommy Dillon, have permanently changed our outlook on the queer community, on service, on each other.

There's no other way to say it. We've changed irrevocably. You've heard of the idea that you can never step in the same river twice--that's how this trip makes me feel. The feelings I had after I left last year and before I left this year were a precursor for how I feel now.

And that's recharged.

We all need to be recharged every now and then in order to keep going, especially in the nonprofit world. Burnout is such a serious issue. We say we can take on more--we can do this--a few extra hours a night won't make us any more tired. But that's a lie.

I'm grateful that this experience has been a break from life at Hamline. I know now that I can go back to my life in Minnesota with a renewed sense of purpose about the work I do--for the second time.

To San Francisco: thank you, again.
To my co-leader, Savannah: you rock.
To my group this year and last: you make me see things about myself that make me a better person.
To Hamline: keep making these trips happen--students need opportunities like this. Service is such an integral of the Piper experience, and no student should graduate without experiencing another city through the eyes of service.

Lastly, to you, the readers: keep doing, questioning, growing, reading! Please ask me more about this trip if you're interested in going one day!

In love,

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