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Giving Thanks During “WFH”. A Story In Pictures.

Giving thanks during “WFH”. A story in pictures.

As I enter week four of working from home, I’m forced to think about how things have drastically changed in the past month. The situation here in the US has worsened dramatically and it’s hard to imagine how any human’s life hasn’t been affected by this virus. While the adjustment has been relatively smooth, there have been so many things that I’ve been missing. I love taking pictures and, although I haven’t taken a ton since moving to Kansas City and have been focusing on other things, it’s still a pretty big part of my life. These are people and things that I’m missing as well as things that I’m grateful for.  

My parents treated me to Betty Rae’s the weekend that I moved into the Fellows House. I’m definitely missing them a lot during the lockdown. They are living back home in Iowa about five hours from Kansas City which is a new experience for me after traveling just 30 minutes back from Dordt College the past four years. I’m also missing Betty Rae’s.
This is my girlfriend Martina who I haven’t been able to see in over a month. Distance is something new for us and has definitely been challenging! It’s not so bad when we can drive a few hours to see each other, but when you take that option off the table it just makes things a little tougher. I’m definitely grateful for the ability to FaceTime her.
It’s been a few weeks now since all of the Fellows were together and I’m really missing having everyone around. Even though we’ve all been able to stream into our Friday classes it’s just different and nothing really feels complete with them gone. I’m taking that as a sign that this group was definitely hand-picked by God – mixing and matching personalities and characteristics in order to make this group complete. I’m so looking forward to being reunited with all of them!
Not only am I missing this year’s Fellows, I’m also missing the Fellows from last year who I quickly developed a friendship with. They were so quick to welcome me and the other Fellows into their community and embodied what the Fellows is. This shot was captured after a Tuesday night dinner which was hosted by JJ, Kasey, Paige, and Zeke. After dinner Carson, a Fellow from this year said that we needed to go across the street to the park to spin as fast as we could on the weird merry-go-round. Well… we did! Zeke and I spun the merry-go-round as fast as we could, and the ladies held on with all of their might! After a few times for each of us Carson was eventually tossed to the ground but got up shortly after for another round!
I’m also missing the ability to go out with friends. I’ve really enjoyed going out with the Fellows on a Thursday after our shared dinners or on a weekend when we’re free. This shot is from a night out in December when Santa was in town. He invited us to sit on his lap for a picture which we were more than happy to do.
I miss sports. A LOT! I was really looking forward to going to a few Sporting games this spring and seeing them play Minnesota here in KC. I miss football too, which is normal for this time of year, but not having any sports to follow or watch right now is so crazy to me. I’ve found myself turning to YouTube to watch the Minneapolis Miracle and Adrian Peterson highlights on repeat. Although I’m not a Chiefs fan, I did enjoy the festivities in Power and Light and downtown for the parade after the Super Bowl victory!
Washington, D.C. is another thing on the list. The National Fellows Initiative Convention was supposed to be next week in the Capitol and was cancelled due to the virus. This is a huge letdown because I love Washington, D.C. and was looking forward to reuniting with the Memphis Fellows.
Another thing I’ve missed is visiting coffee shops. This is Vincent Rodriguez who owns Maps Coffee Roasters. I’ve been shooting photos for him since June. I’d been visiting him in his shop 1-2 times per week where I would shoot photos and we would shoot the breeze and talk about anything from coffee (obviously) and the science behind it to small business and corporate culture. Vincent has become a friend and I’ve missed regular visits to the shop in order to catch up.
While I haven’t been able to enjoy coffee from a local shop, Vincent has still been supplying me with beans which I’ve been using in a new manual espresso maker! The Fellows have been meeting each morning for a short coffee break with coffee supplied by Rachel Vonderheid and myself. This little machine has been very interesting to get to know and I’ve been having a lot of fun caffeinating my fellow Fellows during this time. It’s been a true joy to be able to bring people together with some good coffee.
Another thing that’s been a blessing is the community that I’ve got around me right now. I’ve become more aware of the community that so many others lack based on what I see when I run and when I’m online. The social effects of this virus have hurt a bit, but I know that the environment that I’m in is far better than most. I’m surrounded by people that I love and who love me. We get together for coffee, lunch, games, dinner on Thursdays, and most recently an Easter Celebration. We all pulled together for breakfast, coffee, church, and a full-fledged Easter dinner! It was so fun to see everyone madly running around the kitchen to try to get their dish complete by 11:30….. which didn’t happen. A few were ready, but I think we finally sat down to eat around 1pm or something like that!
In addition to learning with this extra time I’ve also begun gardening and cleaning up the property. About a month ago I began planting seeds in egg cartons and I’m now waiting for the weather to warm up so that I can transplant the seedlings. My dad does a lot of gardening at home and this was something I hadn’t realized I was missing with the business of college over the past four years. My hope is that the perennials planted this spring will grow and flourish and provide beauty to the property for years to come
All in all, this experience has been so unexpected and overall, has been a blessing. Although there are so many people, things, and routines that I miss, this virus has forced me to slow down and has really helped me to refocus and understand who and what is important to me. It’s afforded me more time to myself that I can use to study and grow. It’s allowed me to get to know the Fellows better. It’s allowed me to care for and nurture plants. It’s allowed me to clean up this place that I call home in preparation for classes to come. Ultimately this virus has caused me to slow down and appreciate the people and things around me and this is an invaluable experience.
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