Wednesday, December 11, 2019

My Granny

"The reality is that you will grieve forever.  You will not get over the loss of a loved one.  You will learn to live with it.  You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered.  You will be whole again but you will never be the same.  Nor should you be the same.  Nor would you want to." - Elizabeth Kubler-Ross & John Kessler

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Jerusalem: Week One

Hello World!

What an adventure I have had.  I have been home from Jerusalem for exactly one week.  I miss it terribly, especially the people.  The purpose of these next three blogs will be for me to better explain why I was there, places I went, and lessons I learned.  I hope you enjoy!  Please pass this information on to anyone who is young and ready to help non-profit companies grow and make connections.  This trip was a dream opportunity, and I will forever be grateful for the YMCA and what it's done for me and many others.

I left for Israel on Sunday, August 12th and arrived on August 13th.  I was so tired when I arrived.  the first friend I made was Hassan.  He was the one who picked me up from the airport.  I tried so hard to stay awake on the ride to the Y, but I did end up sleeping a little.  When we arrived, Hassan made sure I entered through the front so I could see the Y and all it's glory.  I was amazed!  The Jerusalem International YMCE (JIY) was the most beautiful building I had seen in a very long time.  It was huge and felt so welcoming.  There is so much history that comes along with it.  I was just speechless.

The next day I was asked to sit in on a Development meeting.  I was nervous to jump right in but eager to learn.  I was very surprised to see that everyone spoke English and there were people who had grown up in the US!  I felt a lot better about being in that meeting after I made that connections with some women.  What really blew my mind was how kind everyone was.  They weren't being polite to be because I was there was YMCA Blue Ridge, but they actually wanted to know me and make sure I was adjusting.  I could feel how much they cared even though we had all just met.  It was in that meeting that I knew I was going to be okay...

Later that week I was foraminate enough to work with a youth summer camp.  I had a blast with that.  The kids seemed to be around middle school aged.  I say that because they spoke Aerobic and I speak English.  I tried my best to study body language and keep up.  I took a Zumba class with them and played basketball.  I then was able to watch them perform dubke.  I loved working with this group of kids.  They were so welcoming and loved having me.  They would invite me to play and reassure me with a sweet smile.  I will always remember them.  They had the most amazing time at the Y.  They touched my heart...  

I remember I was really jet lagged the first week.  I felt really bad because I wanted to seem alert and ready, but I was so tired.  Everyday I would fight it.  I wasn't about to let it take time from my experience.

I met Raed my first full day there.  I like to think of him as the "Bruno" of JIY, in the way that he took care of me coming there.  He was so great.  He was excited to have me and wanted to make sure I had the most amazing time.  He was the one in charge of my scheduling and outings.  I will forever be grateful for all he did for me.  He helped make my trip unbelievable and I will miss him dearly.  I was even able to meet his wonderful family.  He works very hard to make sure the hotel, 3 Arches Hotel, connected to the JIY is perfect.  And let me tell you, 5 stars.  If you ever get the chance to visit Jerusalem, stay at this hotel.

JIY has a kindergarten and summer camp program that's non-profit.  They also have a hotel and restaurant, 3 Arches Hotel.  They are located in the center of the city and have a huge tower you are able to go up in.  There is a 360 view and I would highly recommend going up (Hassan took me).  It was the coolest thing!  I saw all of the city and then some.  I would go back in a heart beat.

I worked almost every morning as their checker.  I would great the guests at breakfast and make sure their stay was going well.  I really liked doing this because I go to interact with the guests.  It forced me to learn new words and phrases.

Another friend I had while there was Afif.  He is their event planner, and I got to work an event while I was there.  I was also lucky enough to meet up with Lina!  We came to Blue Ridge last summer and we became friends.  I was so so happy to see her again.

My first Saturday there, Hassan, Afif, and Lina took me to the Dead Sea!  That has always been a bucket list item for me.  Before we got there, I was able to ride a camel! It was so cool!  What I didn't know was that there was a pool area before the sea for people could cool off from the hot sun.  It was cool to see.  We ate lunch and swam in the pool for a bit.  When we went down to the Dead Sea, I was speechless.  I was beautiful.  I couldn't believe I was really there.  The sand was extremely hot so we kept our sandals on.  When I first stepped into the sea, I was shocked.  It was hot! I was not expecting that at all.  The water was hot and thick from all the sand.  Hassan told me to sit on the water, and I did just that.  All of a sudden I was floating.  I didn't have a care in the world at that point.  I was floating in the Dead Sea.  Afif found some salt crystals and I brought one home for JT (my brother).  Lina also was eager to cover me in the mud!  I actually hadn't heard of that before.  She painted the sea's mud all over my body.  It felt amazing.  My skin was so soft and smooth and felt so clean.  I am so glad she forced me to take pictures so I could remember that day...

So that sums up my first week at the YMCA.  I will be writing about the next two weeks later.  I hope this has helped give you a better understanding of my adventure.  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask(:

Polly Keen

Monday, April 16, 2018

College is Coming to a Close...

It's wild to think about college coming to an end.  I remember touring my dorm room for the first time and moving into my freshman dorm.  This time last year, if you would have asked me about graduating I would have told you i was scared and never wanted to leave.  However, has senior year comes to a close I find myself excited to close this chapter and start a new one.  I have a secure job until August, and with prayers I will be in a more solid position very soon (:

I have learned this year to take chances with life, and I have learned that it's okay to not have an answer when someone asks, "What is your plan after school?"  I use to hate this question and it made me so anxious.  Now, I feel confident when asked and, even if I don't have an answer, I say it proudly!  I owe everything to my family and know I am blessed because of where I have come from.  

I graduate May 13, 2018 at 1:00 PM.  Thank you to everyone who has helped me and supported me along my journey.  I really like the woman I am becoming, and I am excited to see where God takes me...


Monday, March 19, 2018

Living my Dreams

Hey Everyone,

This past semester has been flying by.  From classes, working, and finishing up my year with Phips, I have not had a lot of time to myself.  I am currently planning our Family Day and Greek Week.  Ian and I just celebrated our two years yesterday. He took me to West of Wise Winery in Petersburg, IL.  It was so cute and the wine was soooo good. I am thankful for him everyday.  
                                        *photo by Shawgo Studios*

I have a little less than two months left on the hill top.  I am excited to be starting a new chapter in my life.  I think I will miss living with my best friends the most.  We are all going in different directions and that can be scary.  I just ordered my cap and gown, so it's getting real.

Now for the more exciting new.  I will be heading back to Blue Ridge this summer.  I have landed the job as their Summer Staff Coordinator! I am so excited for this opportunity.  I will also be traveling to Jerusalem for them in August!  I will be going to the YMCA over there to observe and see how they work compared to Blue Ridge.   My dream as always been to travel for my job.  I am 21 and this dream has come true.  I am so blessed and so lucky to have this in my life. And, to top it off Trees, Water, & People have started their mission to plant 1,000,000 tress in honor of Lucas Wolf.  I feel him always...

To end this blog, "remember to feel the transition and spread that sunshine." #LiveLifeLikeLucas   



Thursday, January 11, 2018

Blogging Again...

Hello World,
   It has been a while since I have posted on this blog.  I honestly just haven't been in the mood to blog and my laptop wasn't working the best but I have gotten a new one, and I am hoping that 2018 is a better year for blogging!  I have a lot of really cool events coming up this year, and I would love to share that with all of you.  
   So far, this month has been quite.  I start my final semester of my undergrad on Tuesday!  It will be nice to get back into a routine and keep myself busy.  I am hoping to blog once a week like I use to do so be looking out for those.  Until then, I will be working a lot at IC's bookstore and Twyford's BBQ. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

My Trip to Park City

   There are only five weeks left of the semester and so much to do.  I am working on multiple projects but what's knew.  I am just at that point where I'm ready for summer. 
   I went to Utah to visit family over my spring break.  I had the best time.  It was warm and sunny and I got to spend every second with Granny Polly.  I also got to see Natalie, Ritchie, and David while I was there.  It was so nice getting to catch up.  I got to see where granny's senior center is.  Honestly, that was pretty cool.  She talks so much about it and it's nice to be able to visualize where she spends her time.  I got to see Natalie's new house.  It's a cute, little yellow house.  Granny and I also walked on Main Street one day.  We went to Java Cow and got coffee ice cream!  I highly recommend if you are ever in Park City to hit up Java Cow.  It is such a fun place.  Natalie introduced us to some family friends and we went to their son's hockey game.  I had never been to one before and really enjoyed it.  The game is so aggressive and moves quickly.  Granny was very concerned that the players were going to get hurt (hahaha).  One thing granny and I did was watch "Victoria" on PBS.  It is wonderful! It is a series that follows Queen Victoria's reign.  It was pretty accurate, too.  It is very well done and it pulls you into her story and what she went through being the youngest women to ever take over the crown.  Many people doubted her but she fought back because she was the queen.  Granny also introduced me to "The Crown" on Netflix.  This follows Queen Elizabeth II and her reign.  She and granny were both born in 1928 and granny gets a kick out of that.  Queen Elizabeth is the longest reigning queen (or king) in England.  Her back story is very interesting to say the least.  Highly recommended as well.

   That is all I have for this week. Until next time...

Friday, March 10, 2017

Upcoming Adventures

Can you believe that I am half way through my second semester of junior year? Ya, me either...
   Tomorrow afternoon I am finally flying out to Utah! I am so excited to see my family, especially Granny Polly.  I am nervous to fly alone but God is good.  Spring Break begins today so I will be spending the entire week out there.  It hopefully won't be too cold.  I have been checking the weather and it will at least be sunny while I'm there.  I am pretty sure I will have some down time so I will be working on a paper that I have due later in the semester.  I am writing an essay for my History 300 class.  It is on Dr. G. V. Black.  He is from Jacksonville, IL and is known as the "Father of Modern Dentistry."  How cool is that?!  This town is actually pretty cool after you do a little digging.  His son, Carl, actually helped with IC's medical school after it first opened in Beecher Hall (here on campus).  It was the first medical in the entire state of Illinois.  I am kind of nerding out about this essay.  It is so interesting to me and easy to research since I am so interested in it.
   I also have some very exciting news to share.  Myself and three of my friends will be living in a house next year! I have signed my first lease and we will be renting for the first time.  It is exiting to learn about this system and actually be able to experience this with great people.  I will have my own room and it is a nice size house for college students.  I think I am just super excited for the experience.  I am lucky that my parents have been so cool and supportive with it all.  The girls and I have already started a list of things we have to bring.  It is going to be one cute house!
   The book I am reading right now isn't all that fun but I am enjoying it.  It is a biography about Dr. Black written by his son.  I find it very interesting.  I have been reading a lot for school this semester and haven't really gotten to choose what books I read. 
   Ian and I will have been dating an entire year on March 18th.  I honestly can't believe that.  Looking back, it has been a wonderful year with him.  We have learned so much about one another, met and spent time with each other's family, have not had any arguments, and have fallen in love.  I knew freshman year that one day he was going to be mine.  We will be heading down to St. Louis, MO on the 18th for the day.  We want to go to the art museum and find a good sushi place.  He will also be heading out to North Carolina with me this summer. I think this is a big step for us and I am excited to see what comes from it.  He is such an outdoors person and easy to get along with.  I know he will have a great time.    
   I think that is all I have for now.  Hopefully I will be able to post at least once while I am in Utah.  Thanks for reading!