Tuesday, September 3, 2013

BLOGTEMBER! Day 1: Origin Story

Tuesday, Sept. 3: Describe where or what you come from. The people, the places, and/or the factors that make up who you are.

Fade in: the California coast, 1987. Early in the morning, a baby's cry; a pod of dolphins frolicked in welcome, and the Disneyland fireworks were extra bright that night... (I can imagine, besides I'm writing the origin story which means I can creatively edit where I choose I mean that's what a blog is all about, creating a unique brand for myself right?)

I've never been back to California. The youngest of three girls in a military family, we each claimed birth cities across the country, and a little less than 2 years later, once my dad got his masters at the Naval Postgraduate School in Fort Ord, California, we moved across the country once more to the greater DC area.

We stayed in the Northern Virginia area from then on, only later I realized how hard my dad had worked to give my sisters and I stability and a hometown instead of moving every three years. My childhood was spent outside, avoiding homework, playing soccer, swimming, diving, playing tennis, singing in the church choir, finding a pseudo-deepness in high school art classes, visiting Smithsonian museums, and trying to be cool enough to hang out with my older sisters.

Growing up outside the Nation's Capital gives a certain perspective, and so when I headed off to the University of Richmond to play soccer, I also left with the idea to study internationally. Although UR was a completely different environment (stylistically, socioeconomically, the lack of diversity, the fact that people dressed up for football games rather than wear school colors & cheer) from what I knew, I enjoyed the academics and made some great friends from my soccer teammates and other fellow athletes.

I was also able to study abroad in Santiago, Chile. I was the only student from Richmond to go that semester and was able to experience the city and country in a completely independent way, and discovered how dependent I was on my own habits and cultural norms. I discovered empanadas de pino, pisco, Colo Colo, pastel de choclo, montanismo, and some amazing friends from around the world. My family was also able to visit me which made the experience even more wonderful.

I returned to Richmond with a renewed desire to pursue an international impact and examine how what I wanted to compared with God's plan in my life. I was accepted, attended and graduated from University of Richmond School of Law, studying international law, public interest law, discovering a passion for International Humanitarian Law (the law of armed conflict), and alternating between feeling intimidated by, compelled to competition, or fostering friendships (sometimes all at once) with my fellow classmates.

Now I'm back in Northern Virginia, trying to balance a vision for my life and being able to support my life (with law school loans). I work in a small firm doing general practice in northern Virginia and once a week I volunteer at the Center for Civilians in Conflict, assisting the legal adviser with research. I feel like I have a foot in two paths, with no idea which one to pursue: establish myself in the legal world, and learn about my work preferences and follow through on a commitment to work there while making enough money to keep current in loan repayment or lean (further) on my support network to help while I examine unpaid fellowships or minor stipend positions that would give me direct experience with international development in foreign countries but don't guarantee employment or a way to keep myself out of defaulting. Both choices have implications for independent living, professional goals, faith in God, and my own idea of who I want to be.

I'll keep you posted how that goes ;)


RadiantKristen said...

What a journey! Your passion for humanitarian law sounds absolutely fascinating... I hope that you find the right balance of compensated work while being able to follow your passions!

P!nky said...


Good job sissy! Keep it uP!