I just got back from my residency in Philadelphia for grad school. So many people have asked how it was and wanted to know all about it so I thought writing a blog would help process my thoughts and let everyone know.

So...because I like lists and to keep this from going on and on here are the Top 10 things about my residency.

1. I felt like I was at adult summer camp some of the time. I stayed in a hostel with about 20+ people from the program, all the girls in one room and the guys in another. It was great.

2. I learned a lot. It was nice to actually sit in class when it's only been online. I realized how much more enjoyable sitting in class is when you're learning about something you care about and want to know. I also attended The Justice Conference and it was so great to be at that. It was refreshing and a breath of fresh air.

3. The people who make up this program are wonderful. Everyone I met was great and I was actually surprised at how nice and accepting everyone was. (maybe I just had low expectations, but it was a pleasant surprise). I met people who seemed to really care about others not because they have to, but because they chose to. I love that I have so many new friends.

4. It was exhausting and hard. I was with people pretty much 24/7 for 10 days. As much as I really do love people (see #3), for my more introverted self, being with people so much takes its toll. Also, being in class every day, living in community, in not always the most comfortable setting, in an unfamiliar city and going through all that it entailed for ten days was exhausting to say the least.

5. It was really fun. I loved being in a new city, being able to explore, meeting new people and hearing their stories, playing games, making dinner together, figuring out public transportation, being at The Justice Conference, good conversations, etc...

6. It was affirming. Since I started this program I felt like I was never quite sure what was going on and I wondered if I should really be doing it. Everyone I met was so reassuring and there's so much power in the words of "me too". It was so nice to hear others thoughts about the program. They were generous in their encouragement and now I don't feel like I'm traveling this journey alone.

7. I didn't eat a Philly Cheese steak. I know, I could I not? Well just know I'll back like five times over the next two years so I'm sure I'll get a chance.

8. I felt so supported by family and friends. I appreciated the "thinking of you" and "can't wait to hear about it" messages from people. It's easy to feel alone and isolated these days, but that wasn't the case while I was gone. I'm also thankful to have a job that allows me the space to do this. It was hard being disconnected from everything for what seemed like for so long, but it just made it that much better to come back!

9. I'm now able to say I've been to five new states. Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. And I can check off visiting Washington DC! I loved, loved, loved DC.

10. I'm just thankful to be on this journey. In the weariness, the fun, the learning, the good times, the frustrating times, I just know I am where I'm supposed to be. I've doubted it and there have been times I've thought, "Why the heck did I think this was a good idea!?!?" But, I have been more peaceful than I have been in a long time. I'm excited about learning. I'm figuring out how to balance all that's going on. My life is richer because of this experience...the new friends I made who shared their story with me and listened to mine and there was always a constant reminder that God is with us through it all.

Obviously, this isn't too deep and I could talk about it more, so feel free to ask. (A reminder that coffee dates are one of my favorite things) ;)

Peace and blessings.