These guys are my friends.
Sometimes it's easy to feel like you don't belong anywhere. Often enough I didn't feel like I fit in with my family, I didn't fit in with coworkers, and I didn't fit in at school. The first time I really felt like I belonged with people was in photo caravans. All of a sudden there were these people who shared the same interests as me. And they were really passionate! Like me! It was the most exciting time of my life. I grew so much in 5 months, learned I didn't really belong in my relationship, learned I didn't have to compromise what I really cared about in order to have meaningful companionship. And I felt fantastic!
Few jobs in my working life did I feel more outcast than in Flightline and at Sammy's. Currently, there are certainly those times when I feel like I don't belong. Walking through the office I'm sometimes talked to like I don't understand what's going on. I mean, I'm just the driver. Few people know I have a degree, few see my dedicated work ethic, and few imagine that I know as much as I do about the secret goings on of the school. When the salaried staffers are taking off at 4:59PM, buzzing about getting to happy hour and I'm just walking in for the night shift I feel a little left out. It also doesn't help that my job entails taking bus loads of kids to clubs downtown.
The other day I was feeling especially frustrated, not just because of work. But these students are incredible. They can tell in 2 seconds if you're having a bad day and they make you feel so much better. One girl gave me Swiss chocolate (the real deal), one boy is trying to help me find a new roommate, and some seem to think they have a right to the passenger seat. I actually look forward to Wednesday nights (In Cahoots) and Friday nights (lately it's been Fluxx night) because they get in these ridiculously infectious good moods. It's sad to see them go back to their countries. Some would seek me out before they left just to say goodbye- it made me feel like I was a significant part of their experience in San Diego.
We just got about 120 new students who will be with us for the next 6-9 months and so far so good. Because I welcomed a good 40 or so as they stepped off the plane I'm learning the new faces and names (and house families) quickly. And they recognize me. And with them I feel like I belong.