I live according to the academic year. I think in terms of semesters and summers, homecomings and spring breaks. Maybe this is because I grew up in a college town. Maybe it's because I secretly hope to be a perpetual student. Maybe it's because I've managed to keep one foot in Neverneverland and avoided--up till now--the kind of job that would force me to think in calendar or fiscal years.
All that is to say, November is the month where you get one brief weekend to take a deep breath of relaxation before plunging deep into chaotic Holidays. November is not a month of transition.
But it was in November that I started my internship at Palmetto Place. It was a difficult time to make any sort of change. It felt awkward and clumsy and I couldn't imagine I would get anything accomplished before winter break.
Now, I wouldn't have had it any other way.
In the last month, I have been helping to sort Christmas presents for the kids in our shelter; to organize volunteers to supervise fun activities for the kids while they're out of school; to gather craft supplies and bingo prizes; and making two of these:
Snowman pinatas. They're sort of goofy and misshapen and I'm honestly nervous they will collapse under their own weight as soon as they're strung from the basketball hoop. But as I have spent each day here at Palmetto Place overwhelmed by the generosity of our community members, I have gotten swept up in the holiday spirit like never before in my life. It has been so exciting to transition at the time of year when people are eager to share the gifts they have to offer.
As a graduate student, I don't have a lot of free time or excess cash. What I do have is a nerdy glee over silly homemade projects. I'm grateful to be able to make these lumpy pinatas, while one of our 5-year-olds stirs my paper mache paste and tells me rambling stories about her day. I'm even more grateful to be here in the last month, to be reminded--by those who have shared their excess resources of time, energy, money, or Christmas gifts--of the kindness still present in this sometimes bleak world.