Monday, June 30, 2008

Summer in Oak Park

I have been home from Wheaton for a little over seven weeks, and I have a little over seven weeks remaining before I return to school, and I have yet to post to this weblog this month, so I see it as a very appropriate time to write some reflections.

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t know quite what to expect during my first summer home from college. I had lived at home for several shorter periods during the school year, of course. My 23-day winter break had all the usual elements of home life – visits to my locally residing relatives, a short vacation, and making use of my hometown’s amenities. But summer is a little different. It’s four times as long, for one thing, so I have many more opportunities to both relax and be productive. A few notable events thus far this summer…

For the third consecutive summer, I have taken seasonal employment with the Park District of Oak Park, working in pool operations. During my first summer, I had the position of facility and bike attendant (an entry-level position with responsibilities of entrance security and facility housekeeping); last year, I had the position of pool maintenance technician (responsibility for maintaining the safe operation of the facility, including end-of-day shut down). This summer, I have been promoted to the senior staff position of Pool Operations Coordinator (alternatively, Facility Operations Coordinator). About three days after I returned home, I called my manager to inquire about when I might start working and she informed me of the promotion.

And so, since Memorial Day weekend, I have been learning this new position. It has presented a few challenges, but I am really enjoying it. It gives me a sense of pleasure when I sign the bottom of a report and the end of my shift, certifying that the day’s work was successfully completed under my watch.

Also, I decided to make my goal of graduating in four years a little easier by fulfilling two general education requirements at a community college this summer. I took an online rhetoric and composition course to fulfill my writing requirement and a traditional format elementary Spanish course to fulfill my foreign language requirement. I finished these two courses, both through Triton College, at the end of last week, and plan to have the credits transferred to Wheaton before the end of July. I have to say, I am really glad that I have finished those classes. I did pick up some knowledge, sure, but on the whole the classes caused stress that I would rather have done without. But, like I said, I finished, and I am two courses closer to finishing my bachelor’s degree.

Between work and school, of course, I have been more or less tied down for the last month and a half. I am thankful, however, that I have been able to go to worship services at Calvary Memorial Church every Sunday since I got home, and been able to see friends there each week. Also, four weeks ago, I saw my high school youth pastor, Craig Hammond. He and his family moved to Oregon this month, where they will start missions work with college students in the fall. I had not expected to see him again before he left, but he even had a small good-bye party a few Sundays ago. To make it better, I saw him at church earlier that day – a very pleasant surprise. It was really nice to be able to catch up briefly and say good-bye properly.

Also this past month, I attended my first-ever wedding. My cousin, Greg Steinsdoerfer, and his girlfriend of five years, Melissa Waterman, married in an outdoor ceremony in Geneva, Illinois on Saturday, June 7. It almost started to rain in the middle of the ceremony, but the weather held off and Mr. and Mrs. Greg Steinsdoerfer walked back down the aisle under sunny skies.

And that was the first half of summer 2008. Emphasis on half. I still have the whole month of July and a few weeks in August, and already I have a few but not too many plans for these next seven weeks.

In two and a half weeks, on July 18, I am flying down to Florida to spend five days with Naomi. She and I are both (rather impatiently) awaiting my arrival. We’ve both found it difficult at times being apart for so long. I am really looking forward to seeing her and exploring central Florida with her.

I return from Florida on July 23, and two and a half weeks later my family and I will take a vacation to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Our trip will also include two days with my dad’s aunt in Denver. Colorado is by far my favorite vacation destination (this will be my fourth vacation to that state), and I am really looking forward to that trip as well.

Before and in between my trips, I have a few smaller goals. The first is to get away from the computer (inevitable when you take an online course) and spend some time with my friends in person. I also want to practice trombone more than I did during June (I am currently preparing materials to audition for the symphony orchestra and symphonic band at Wheaton in the fall), and keep my skills at piano and ear-training strong.

And that’s a brief snapshot of summer 2008. It’s certainly kept me busy so far, and while I no longer have classes, I have enough to do to keep me busy until I go back to school. But I like a busy life sometimes.

This is Rubio, over and out.