09 September 2010

Skemp's Grand Adventure

So, I started this blog almost a year ago, and haven't posted since.  I felt I didn't do anything "blogworthy." I mean sure there were topics I could've discussed such as the latest commercial that was illogical or the annoyances of work or the latest drama with friends, but I've read some of those shitty daily blogs and let's face it the people who do care about your latest drama already heard it from you on facebook chat, via text and maybe if it was really intense even by phone!   Now, things have changed and I think I might actually have something to say that's interesting, or at the very least provides you with something to do while at work "working."

It all started on a dark and stormy night...okay no, not really, it started a couple months ago when a perfect storm of events took place.  My former roommate and awesome friend, Sarah Hansen up and joined the Air Force.  This got me thinking what am I doing with my life at the ripe ol' age of 25?  I have wanted to do non-profit PR since HS when Matt Velez died and I helped plan the t-shirts for the memorial wiffleball tournament.  I remember meeting the chick who did PR for the American Heart Association and I just thought she had the coolest job ever!  Well flash forward to college and after a failed attempt at becoming an education major (I don't have the patience for that) and theater major (I don't want to be penniless), I decided I liked writing.  I wanted a job so instead of English, Journalism sounded like a good idea (and I couldn't do broadcast because as Professor Hollis lovingly pointed out, "you'll have to be 'on' all the time." a.k.a. look pretty, put together, and not opinionated).  After school I had no direction, so I became a nanny in Raleigh and then a corporate PR intern in Pittsburgh.  I quickly realized I hated the feeling of working to make a rich guy richer.  The past two years I've been a recruiter at Marshall which I love!  I love working for an organization that I feel passionate about.  I loved my time at Marshall and I know other students can have that same awesome experience.  I spent 2 years traveling to PA, WV, SC, TN, FL, KY, NJ and countless other places to recruit for MU.  Then with the "Sarah Hansen impetus" I started to question what I was doing.  Meanwhile I was also getting ready to be in Christina's wedding and Beth has a baby and it feels like everyone I know is getting married.  It felt like the ticking time bomb of: you should be getting married, and if you're not getting married, you should be doing something flipping awesome!  I want a grand adventure before I have to consider others when making a decision.  <- Yeah that sounds incredibly selfish, but hey you only have so many years to be selfish, so I'm gonna live it up!  On the exact opposite side of that I know that all my life I've been taught by my parents or my Catholic education or my role models that to whom much is given, much is expected.  I've been incredibly blessed in this life with shelter, education, family, friends, skills, abilities etc. and I should use those blessings to help someone else.

I started thinking about organizations that I would want to work for and the USO invaded my thoughts.  Our troops give up everything: 9-5 job, seeing their family when they want, living where they want, and sometimes even their lives, so we can practice the religion we want, go to school where we want and wear what we want.  Only 1.5% of the US population is serving in our military, the other 98.5% are just going about life as usual while our brave men and women are out there literally putting their lives on the line, so that we don't have to worry.  I originally applied for a job in Germany, but didn't hear back so then I applied for the job in the SWA (South West Asia - Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Qatar).  I figured it was a long shot and if anything I'd get Kuwait.  Well, after some intense interviews and grilling every person I've ever known who has been to the middle east or is in the military, I got the job!  Thank you to Neil, Lang, Kuhn, Maryl, Justin, Tony and everyone else who gave me advice!

I'll be living with 3 other USO girls on the base in Kandahar, Afghanistan and working 6 days a week.  It's a NATO base so there will be troops from all over the world there.  They are planning a big opening of the USO Center there in a week or two.  It will have a movie theater, reading room, "United Through Reading Rooms" (troops read to their kids and then we send the dvd and book to their kids), computer room, phone room and other fun stuff!  Then we'll plan events like 5Ks, holiday parties, and game nights, all so the troops have some relief from what they do.  They have a Facebook page, USO Kandahar, that will have updates of everything we're doing over there.

Now here I am, chilling at my parents' house waiting to go to DC for Orientation and then on a plane for my 11 hour flight to Kuwait.  Then I'll get "processed" and go on to Afghanistan.  It's a 12 month commitment, but if I like it a lot I can re-up for another 6 to 12 months, or just say peace out and go back to the states.

I have so many people in my life to thank for giving the confidence and support and love to know that I can do this.  From the get-go Natalie, Maryl and Gretch have been inspirations to me!  Through their world travels they've shown me that you can go out and help others while having the time of your life.  My parents, sisters and countless aunts, uncles, crazy cousins, third cousins twice removed and Grams who have said you're crazy but God love ya go for it!  All my friends who since the second I said I wanted to do it they've said good for you!  Erin, Hinie, Emmy, Shansen, Slou, Christina, Steph, Beth, Lindsey, Carri, Sara, Boris, Luke, Todd, Eric, Amanda, Rebecca, Sabrina, Mary, Hollis, Margo, Natalie, Meagan, Tish, Ferg, Mackenzie and everybody else who has well-wished me!

It's going to be a crazy ride, but I think I'm one step closer to answering the question, am I living a blog-worthy life?

PS: The USO does amazing things and I encourage everyone to go to their website www.uso.org and get involved!  It is as simple as typing a note that they'll give to a wounded warrior, or having a bake sale and donating the money to the USO, or buying a phone card so a soldier can call home.  These are small things that ALL OF US CAN DO NOW.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Sarah,
    You are totally going to Phelp this job.
    Love, your faaaaaave cousin Andrea
    P.S. I only just read your first blog post.