Saturday, September 18, 2010

Meet Some Key Characters

Shalom once again!

I thought I'd take a brief moment to introduce you to a couple of important people pictured here to the left-- meet my new roommates, Elise and Luna (for those Harry Potter fans out there, that's Luna Lovegood). We now make up a happy little family here in New Haven, and some of y'all don't know them. So let me start by sharing our friendship love story...

Elise and I don't know exactly when we met because we'd heard about each other for some time before we actually had a face to put to a name. We guesstimate now that we've known each other for close to a decade. Our fateful stars aligned at Camp Gailor-Maxon when we were campers, but we became the close friends we are now my first summer on staff as a counselor. Elise is technically two years my senior, and she is a Hoya, meaning she graduated from Georgetown in 2008. By my first summer on staff, Elise had already been a counselor for two summers, so she took me under her wing as a kind of trainee. I have a very special memory of one night when all of staff was sitting on the front porch of my cabin, and some of my girls (it was Camp II so they were approximately 12 and 13 years of age) were having some issues typical of girls that age- one of them was homesick, so the rest felt homesick, everyone's stomach hurt, and it was all very dramatic. I went into the cabin to offer a nurturing presence and guide them somewhat firmly towards sleep. I came out some time later, exasperated and exhausted, and Elise, in her infinite wisdom, looked at me kindly and said, "Gracie, you are a good camp counselor." That is the kind of supportive and sincere friend that she is.

Now Elise is here pursuing an MAR in Ethics, which makes her an aspiring-ethicist. She's spent the last two years in her hometown of Memphis, TN working for Congressman Cohen in his district office, and gchatting me in her spare time ;-). She, too, hopes to pursue a PhD in hopes of becoming a professor, though ultimately she might like to move into administration as a dean- or who knows? Maybe even CHANCELLOR.

A side note of our friendship love story is Elise is a large reason why I am here. Two summers ago, after her last summer on staff and after my second stuff on staff at CGM, I was sitting on the couch in my parents' house talking to Elise on the phone and researching graduate programs in religion. By then I knew I was interested in some kind of master's degree as an extension of my undergraduate degree in Religious Studies, and Elise had majored in government and theology at Georgetown (she's a huge nerd- she also minored in Mathematics just for kicks). She was beginning her work in government, but had a feeling she didn't particularly want to make a career of it. So we began talking about graduate programs. She made me promise that, in a years' time, I would make her start studying for the GRE, begin her personal statements, start applications, etc. and that we could go through the process together. And a year ago, we did. I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to have someone to walk through the process with--bounce ideas off of, read through personal statements, commiserate over the expense and anxiety, etc. However, when all applications were in and all was said and done, Elise and I didn't think we'd end up in the same place. I really was hoping for/expecting to end up at Emory in Atlanta, and Elise was thinking Vanderbilt in Nashville. But, through a series of events, circumstances and signs, we both ended up with a generous financial aid package from Yale. We came for Admitted Students' Day, confirmed one another's confidence, and here we are.

My other roommate is Luna. Luna is a year-and-a-half yellow lab and she is a constant companion. It is such a joy to have her to come home to, and there is something to be said for the purpose and responsibility caring for another creature brings. It keeps one grounded--it keeps one sane. She also brings me joy. At night, we've got this little routine--Luna will hop up into my bed whilst I'm preparing for a night's repast, and I'll come in and we'll snuggle while Elise gets ready for bed. Once Elise is ready, Luna goes into her kennel for the night. She's very good at keeping your feet warm while you read hundreds upon hundreds of pages a week for class, she's very good at playing fetch in the dog park a block-and-a-half from our house, and all of the other dogs love her... sometimes too much. She's a funny one, full of antics, which I will relay as time progresses, but for now, know that she is becoming an intimate part of my life and I don't protest in the least.

Before I sign off, I'd like to say that these two are a monumental portion of what is making my transition here so smooth. I am a creature of community and very much value my role in that community. Thus, transition is exceedingly difficult for me--change does not come easily. But having someone who has literally watched me grow up, who has grown with me, who knows my ins and outs, my attributes and shortcomings, my joys and fears, it's like being able to take a little bit of that home community with you. With moving so far away from so many that I love, it's like pulling a rainforest plant up by the roots and just throwing it onto a mesa and expecting it to take root. Having Luna and Elise is like having a pot of soil to rest in and thrive. We are building a family here, in a home we call are own, and are taking care of one another. It's a blessing that I am thankful for every day.

Much love.

PS- Like those pictures of Elise and Luna? You should go to and check out some more original work by our awesome friend Ellen Coleman.

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