Monday, March 29, 2010

a little more reflection.

"Janae is on a mission to be that voice of social change and show people what they are capable of."

A friend of mine wrote this one day in January 2010. I have no idea if that friend knows I've seen it nor if that friend reads this, all I know is that I have come back to this sentence over and over in the past few weeks and have tried to really see myself for who this person sees me as.

I have not updated this much since I got back from tour. And by much I mean I've written what? one post in the last few weeks. Whoops. I think the reason is because it is so extremely difficult to put what the pay it forward tour does for a person into words. I could ramble on about the logistics for days, but sharing how much I actually saw people grow and challenge themselves over the course of a few days is inspiring and incredible and I am not nearly eloquent enough to put that into words. It is an experience that changes people. The only thing I can say about it is that I am very lucky my sister went on a tour so that now when I go home my parents won't think that I have been holding things back from them because I am sure my sister will have just as hard of a time explaining the transformation that goes on as I have had.

A few things I have heard from participants:
"I have never felt happier for an entire week than I did when I was on tour."
"I have never been so comfortable around people who were strangers only a few days ago. Thank you for letting me be myself and liking me for me."
"People told me I'd leave this trip with 40 new best friends and I totally doubted them. Now I have to go back and tell them they were right."
"I think you will change the world."

Leading an experience that allows people to open up, feel comfortable, push through their comfort zones, talk to people they may never have met otherwise, understand each others backgrounds and stories, interact with people who are in entirely different places (literally and figuratively), and share their best and worst times is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. The sentence that my friend wrote about me in late January feels very true post-tour. You may find this narcissistic of me to say, but this is my spot to rave about my life, so I guess I am narcissistic today. I truly feel like the rest of the core (the people that lead the bus with me) and I put our participants in a position in which they got a glimpse of the wonderful things they are capable of, even at a young age. I will forever be indebted and grateful for this experience, and am always going to wish you all could have it.

(If you are in college, high school, middle school or an adult who wants to go on a tour as a community member, please let me know and we can get you on a tour!)

Something I forgot to even think about before tour: this is my last college tour. Big things are changing in less than a few months. (More on that later.) Also, pictures and the logistics I dissed a little bit before will be coming up within the next week sometime. I've been keeping busy with job applications, meeting up with friends from my tour and others (so so so many of my friends lead other tours so it's been exciting sharing our own buses stories!) and trying to catch up on homework and sleep. In other words, I've primarily been trying to avoid the "real world" and am instead living on the "tour high" you get post-tour. So, this is my apology to those of you to whom I've promised calls and stories to that I have not yet given either. I'm trying to catch up on all of that this week!

Thank you for being patient with me. I'm so very lucky that some of you read this and want to partake in my life via these little updates. I'll leave you with something a boy said to me on the trip: "I love life. Life loves me." "How are you feeling today?" "Happy."

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