Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections." - Saint Augustine

This post is a testament to the fact that I have survived my first full week of work! It was technically a four day week, since we had Labor Day off, but I have quickly discovered that the 9am-5pm routine can be quite exhausting. I get up around 7am each morning and get ready and get home around 5:30pm. We share in the chore of cooking dinner, but I hate to call it a chore because it's one of my favorite times of day. I love spending time with my community members because even if we're sufficiently exhausted, we never cease to be excited about food!

Hannah, one of the staff members, was at our apartment Tuesday through Thursday in the evenings. She was doing the monthly site visit, where we have one-on-one meetings, a community meeting, some training and discussions, and dinners together. She took us out for dinner on Thursday evening which was a nice change of venue and menu. I specifically requested cake maybe ten to fifteen times, though, and Hannah failed to deliver. Sigh. My community and I was determined to find and purchase funfetti cake and chocolate frosting last weekend and rest assured, it happened.

This past week, aside from the excitement of baking a funfetti cake, Katharine, Caroline and I walked around Olde City where we live for "First Friday." First Friday is a monthly tradition in Philly where lots of small shops and vendors have their artwork on display or their stores open from 5pm-9pm. There are also lots of different jewelry and products for sale and different foods and snacks available. We went in search of the places that offered free glasses of wine. Definitely a fun time, and we plan to go even earlier next month!

Here's a photo of us from Friday night:

On Saturday we ventured to the Piazza to watch a free concert. Imagine Dragons were there (which apparently is a relatively popular band?) There was a beer garden and we hung out with the large crowd of hipsters, high school kids, and every else in between. We met up with Jimmy, a fellow AV-er who is serving in South Africa beginning in January, since he lives in the area. It rained (actually let's be honest, it POURED) while we were there. There was hail in the forecast but I think we luckily missed that. All in all, it was still a fun time. We went back to the apartment after with Jimmy and a few of his friends from Villanova and ordered a couple of pizzas. Then him and his friends left and the three of us went bar hopping for a few hours.

Here's a photo of the us with Jimmy before it stormed:

On Sunday we went grocery shopping. Living on a budget can be stressful, haha. We now have like $50.00 left to get through until the 30th. But it's all about getting creative, or hoarding from other sources, whatever works... For instance we went to mass on Sunday night and there was a BBQ after. The great thing about being connected to the church is they are very apt to give us leftovers. And we NEVER refuse. Brownies, cheesecake, chips, pretzels, we'll take whatever comes our way. After a staff meeting last week the director gave me the rest (like 20) of the massive pretzels to bring home too. It's strange, at almost any function in Philadelphia people eat warm pretzels. I also requested the cheese sauce, which made my boss laugh, but nonetheless she handed it to me with no hesitation. :)

All in all, things are going well! I'm becoming more and more comfortable with the city and know my way around - at least to an extent. I am having a lot of fun getting to know my community members and taking over our massive apartment. I'll post some of photos of the inside of the house soon. As for the work site, everyone is super nice and welcoming at VIP! A few new interns and a staff member began on Tuesday and we all had a couple days of extensive orientation/training. There's also a VIP tradition of "tea" where staff gets together, typically in the kitchen, for about a half an hour and hangs out. Sometimes there is food and sometimes they are themed, but the only catch is you cannot discuss anything work-related. We had a tea on Friday celebrating the new staff members and interns and we played two truths and a lie. There was also a tea this morning celebrating two recent birthdays in the office. Cake at 9am. Hey, I'd never refuse cake, any time of day! I also have made my first client phone calls and am in the process of learning how to refer cases to volunteer attorneys. Essentially you 'pitch' the case to several attorneys and hope someone will take it, as there's so many cases to be taken by needy clients. I was pretty nervous to do my first intake (interview) with a client but it's a learning experience. You can always call the clients back, and usually it's a lengthy process before it goes to case review. I have a few other projects I am in the midst of as well, including some data entry and working on Pro Bono Opportunities Day (PBOD for shore) which is VIP's signature training in celebration of National Pro Bono Week. Attorneys come for a breakfast with prominent judges and themed trainings. The hope is that they will take a VIP case within six months of the training. VIP offers monthly trainings on different topics as well, and I am going to attend a Probate training on Friday to get a feel for the process.

Here's a picture of my cases I have been working on:

Tonight we are going to make grilled ham, tomato, and cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for dinner. My favorite :)

OH, and hey I'm famous: http://www.osavol.org/volunteers/volunteers/brittany-daniels