Mandolyn Orrell | Week 3

So many things going though my mind and heart.  So many exciting things going on at work.  I have no idea how to start this blogpost, so here goes my ramblings…

I want to be the ‘real’ me, but the real me is very loud, boisterous, gets to know people quickly or has nothing to do with them, and tends to be overwhelming to some most people.  Chalk it up to being a Third Culture Kid; I don’t mind.  I know I’m a TCK, and I’m ok with that.  I’m trying to find a ‘toned down’ version of me, but it’s a lot harder than I imagined…. lots of personal development to work on, and so many things to learn in that department.  This is tough.  I didn’t expect this.  I feel like I need to be different than what I know to be as “Mandolyn” to thrive at NFS; but, you know what?  This isn’t a bad thing; not at all.  It’s just a really hard, sometimes lonely, thing.  Maybe it’s time for an upgrade.  Maybe it’s time for the old Mandolyn to go away (the loud mouth who makes her presence known), to a more reserved version.  It’s like I’m being converted from Mandolyn Vista to Mandolyn Snow Leopard or Lion, with loads of bugs to work out along the way (that’s for you, Christy and Gabe).  In time, maybe I’ll get where I need to be.  I’m trying, and I suppose that’s the best anyone can ask for, eh?

On a similar thread, I am struggling to figure out what exactly it is that I can ‘bring to the table’ in the fight against slavery.  I mean, the other fellows are amazing women!  Natalie and Luz are phenomenal writers.  Luz is great at organising.  Natalie is also great with video.  Diana is superb at understanding and dealing with all the legislative side of things, and Christy is great with all the data and all the girls are fantastic at problem solving.  I don’t know much about the legislative aspect of things, data is not really my forté (though I can analyse it at a much slower rate).  If you haven’t noticed already,  my written, and often spoken, communication is lacking in the eloquent realm.  From my set of lens, it looks like I don’t have much to offer and that I’m the odd one out.  I know I have a broad skill set that can be useful; I just don’t know how any of it can be applied to this cause, in this fellowship situation.  So, that’s my thought… which really isn’t much of a thought though, if I can’t find a solution….  I’m sure I’ll think about it long enough and figure something out.  Or, I’ll figure out that I’m being ridiculous, and a specific skill set isn’t what is needed as much as someone who is just willing to do whatever it takes to “git ‘er dun” as my older, very Southern, brother would say.

Hmmmm…. moving on.  This was the first full week of work.  It’s been good, and much of what I expected.  I love working with Jill.  She’s got loads of ideas, but makes lets you come up with ideas of your own.  I love it.  She wants to know what the individual can bring to the table, not what they can repeat her saying.  She’s definitely an encouragement, a fabulous leader, and someone I can glean much from, professionally and personally.

We had a big staff get together at Dave Batstone’s house on Wednesday.  Guess who cooked the food????   Yep.  I got to cook KOREAN food at the Batstone’s for nearly the whole staff!  It was so much fun!  Keturah normally plans all the staff get-togethers, but this time she didn’t need to do anything except for bring wine and play basketball.  So glad that she got to just chill and not stress.  I made 불고기 (Bulgogi- marinated beef), 김치전 (Kimchi Jeon- Kimchi pancake), and for dessert호떡 (ho dduk- pancakes stuffed with brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped peanuts).  While I was cooking, most people were playing basketball on Dave’s new court.  Now and again people would pass through the kitchen and chat, ask me questions about Korea, myself, or the food.  It was a much needed time of togetherness, for lack of a better term.

My fellow Fellows enjoying Korean food at the Batstone’s

Kimchi Jeon.  One flip with no breaking.  Success.

The spread.  Yes, that is guacamole in the yellow bowl, served with Bulgogi.  And yes, it was awesome.

Our fearless leader even does the dishes!

Basketball on the new court.  Pretty sure Caelin Batstone schooled the entire staff….

3 responses to “Mandolyn Orrell | Week 3

  1. Wow that looks (and sounds) delicious! I am so sad I missed it (although I am terrible at basketball). Isn’t it cool to be part of a great movement and also a great family of advocates, movers and shakers and innovators? I have a pretty varied career path but coming to HMB and NFS has totally opened by eyes and lent me a new invigorated passion for this work. I feel very fortunate to get to be part of the movement and working with such great people. It’s an energy that’s hard to describe. And I hear you that the first couple of weeks are intense and a time of adjustment–new city, new culture, new environment, new roommates and coworkers. You guys spend 24-7 together and it takes a lot of patience and maturity to be able to do that well. It takes special people to do this work and to work at NFS and all of you are special in your own way. If you were to compare on paper what folks like Gabe, Sam, Laura, Dave, etc do to what I do, I wouldn’t sound very interesting or helpful. But we are part of team. Without each of us there would be no NFS, no movement, no success. Also, don’t think of adjusting to your new surroundings as having to change who you are or temper your personality. It’s more about learning professional poise and grace–something I learn every day. I started my career at 20 y.o. working for the Justice Department. I was surrounded by retired cops and researchers. I was totally lost in that crowd. It took some time to figure out how I fit in (and it was often painful and eye opening) but it made me who I am and I am pretty proud of that. Normally, I have a wide-open, loud (sometimes brash), overly confident nature and that can be off putting to a lot of people. Over the years I’ve learned that it’s not about me but about us–we are in this together. So I learn to adjust to settings, people, environment and projects not because I am being untrue to my own nature but because I care about our work and others. Hope that is encouraging. You’ve been very helpful to me and your commitment to The Fellowship means a lot to everyone at NFS!

  2. Let me solve that “what do I bring to the table” mystery for you: you’ve got passion, you’ve got a diverse set of knowledge from all of the crazy degrees you’ve gotten and countries you’ve been to, you’ve got a great ability to volunteer for everything and take everything on at once (don’t think I haven’t seen it), and you’re an awesome people person who can make a million in a day without breaking a sweat. Aside from passion, those are all gifts that I don’t have. So I don’t want to hear all this comparing ridiculousness, because when you compare then you’re bound to fall short somewhere, and that’s not a great way to live life. I hope we’ve settled this issue, and I look forward to your discovery of your awesomeness. That is all.

  3. You two ladies are amazing. Thanks for speaking truth when I’m acting a fool. Please keep it up.

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