Now that I have quit my job and moved back to Chicago for a while, I have been doing what I do best: reflecting. It’s strange it was only four months ago when I graduated from DePaul. So much has happened in my life.

I moved, I worked in the hardest position of my life, and now I am back. Although my time in Asheville was cut short, I learned so much during the two months.

  1. God never changes. 
    When I moved to Asheville, I felt alone. I left my boyfriend, my friends, my family. I knew not one soul, and I was unsure of how to get by without support. Little did I know, two months later I would be struggling to say goodbye to some close friends, wonderful co-workers, and a small group through my church. God provided me with the people I needed. He lead me to support, he kept me safe, and he comforted my soul. God was still following through with His promises even though I had moved far from where I was established. I was reminded that God never changes, and His Spirit lives in me–no matter where I live.
  2. Empathy is not always a possibility.
    Each and every student I worked with had a traumatic history–histories that I had never imagined and still can’t fully comprehend. My heart yearned to understand the children’s pain, but no matter how hard I tried, there was no way I could completely relate to their trauma. We want to empathize with others to show that we can help them and that we understand, but in reality, there are times when we can’t. There are times when providing sympathy is the best we can do.
  3. Sometimes we are limited by how much we can help others.
    I wish that my presence and hard work could have healed all of the pain accumulated in each student’s heart. I wish that I could have said a magic word and they could have felt renewed and able to move forward from their pasts. But I couldn’t. All I could do was provide moments of love and support in this small journey of a whole life’s expedition. I couldn’t repair or mend, but I could show that I cared. Sometimes we wish we could do so much more than we are physically able.
  4. Big decisions require us to examine priorities.
    When I was contemplating staying in Asheville or moving back to Chicago, I had to weigh what was most important to me. I had moved for the internship with hopes of gaining better experience for a future career. Although I was receiving this, I was also sacrificing comfort, safety, time with loved ones, and other things as well. I realized that relationships and health are two of the most important values for me, and it was no longer worth the sacrifice.
  5. My heart belongs to the outdoors.
    Although I spent a lot of time inside at both work and in my apartment, I felt more alive and free outside. Being indoors made me feel so stuck, so confined. Perhaps it really is just the presence of walls. When I was outdoors, however, I felt like my options were limitless. I breathed in the mountain air, stared at the scenery, and felt genuinely happy. I learned that my heart smiles when it is outside because that is where it truly belongs.
  6. Fall is a fabulous season.
    I used to think that the people who enjoyed autumn were absolutely crazy. In fact, I despised fall. Perhaps this is because the season in Chicago lasts one week before the snow falls the state into winter. I never had time to go on walks while watching the colored leaves fall or breathe in the crisp air because I was already cuddled under my blanket with hot cocoa. Asheville’s fall season was beautiful though. And the weather was beyond manageable. I learned that I love fall–just not the one I’ve always experienced.

My two months in Asheville taught me a lot. I could tell myself I’m a disappointment because I left my first job out of college after only eight weeks, or I could look at this list of lessons and be proud. I never imagined myself learning so many valuable truths within only a few months of graduation.

Thank you, Asheville, for teaching me so much.