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Monday, February 18, 2013

Happy V Day

Thursday, February 14, 2013

It's Valentine's Day and I am walking down West 49th street approaching a nearby Starbucks. I'm listening to "What is love?" by Vivian Green, the sun is shining, and my mood is mellow. It's Valentine's Day, a day of  love and romance, something I currently don't have. As I walk into Starbucks, I'm greeted by a nice barista who takes my order. A chai latte and coffee cake, and  a happy V-day wish made me smile. I thank her and see a dish full of chocolates wrapped in red and pink foil. I take a picture as I wait for my order. When my name is called, I grab my latte and coffee cake, and step aside to post the picture of chocolates on Facebook with the caption, "Chocolates anyone?"

As I leave Starbucks and get closer to the building with a large red cross on its side, I begin to smile. I've been volunteering with the American Red Cross in Greater New York since January. I stress the "Greater in New York" part since this is my local chapter. Each state has its own American Red Cross chapters. My experience volunteering at ARC has been wonderful. Not only am I learning a lot, but I get to help people which is something I love to do. I'm a volunteer client caseworker,  but I haven't taken on any cases just yet. I'm still in training. I work at the intake desk in client services where I process clients' documents, verify their information into the computer database, and assign them to a caseworker. However, there are times I am a caseworker, because clients ask me questions or share their stories with me.

I walk in and say hello to my manager as I put my bag down and take off my coat. "Dara, I'm going to need you to manage the desk today we're busy," my manager says to me. "No problem, I'm here to help." I take out my notes and log into the computer when my manager informs me that I have a Red Cross email. She gives me information on how to activate it. I never felt so excited about getting an email! While taking care of that, clients begin to come in. I do my usual when one client asks to speak with me. I let her know I needed to process her information first so the wait wouldn't be long. I could tell she needed to talk to someone right away. Luckily the processing didn't take long, and I allowed her to talk to me. At this point, the caseworker received all her information via the computer. As the client shares her emotional story, I comfort her and tell her she came to the right place to receive assistance. As the client continued, I see my manager in the background observing our interaction. She looked pleased. Eventually, a caseworker asked the client in. She thanks me and I wished her good luck. Later, my manager said I did a good job talking with the client while multitasking. That felt good to hear. Before leaving for the day, I received my official ID. I'm a registered volunteer at my local chapter. And I am proud.

It's 4 something and I wait at the Starbucks for my friend. She is someone I've been friends with since high school, someone I always admired and loved like a sister. It's been two years since we last saw each other. When I received her call to say she is in the area, I left and walked over to where she was standing. The "ahhs" and "It''s so good to see you" comments while giving each other a big hug felt nice. We walk along 10th Ave to the 60's to go to a restaurant near Lincoln Center. The walk is great since our high school is in the area. When we arrived to 10th Ave and W56th street, we stand there and look at the building that says "High School for Environmental Studies." I smile saying, "The best four years of my life." My friend says she can't believe its almost 20 years since we graduated from there. How time truly flies. We reminisced about our days in high school, laughing at the clicks we belonged to, the makeup we used to wear and reading Glamour magazine.  We were in awe to see the Tex Mex takeout spot is still there; we used to eat there afterschool. Good memories. We ate delicious food at a restaurant called PJ Clarkes, took pictures, and had intelligent conversation. "This may not be the traditional way of doing things, but happy Valentine's Day to us!" I said to my friend. We laughed.

Although this is a day I usually feel bummed out because I'm single, it felt good knowing I made a difference and reunited with a dear friend. Valentine's Day is also special for other reasons. I am sentimental about certain things especially about love. I realized this year that it's okay to be a sentimentalist, even if others don't share in the same emotion. It's disappointing, yes, but I believe there is someone for everyone. I am not alone in loving love. Someday, I'll be able to express that to someone who will not only accept it, but will give it back. I will be patient. In the meantime, happy Valentine's Day. Continue to love everyday. It's a beautiful emotion to share.

1 comment:

  1. Love comes in many forms and there is someone for everyone. Keep believing......... :)