Archive for January 10th, 2010

Day 27 – Brittany

I have almost completed my first month.  The time has really flown by.  I have already met so many new people and learned a great deal.  Not just about the individuals with whom I come in contact, but also about myself.  For example I have learned that I enjoy writing.  I guess that is a good thing since I have 338 days left!  Every day I am excited about the giving adventure that I will have.  No two days are the same, no two experiences are the same.  Somebody told me last week that this project will certainly change my life forever.  I think he was right.

I was in McLean, VA  this morning when I met Brittany.  The 25-year-old from Baltimore is a dental hygienist.  She stops what she is doing and asks me to repeat what the Year of Giving is all about.  I take a breath and restart my 30 second elevator speech.  I have probably explained this a hundred times by now, so I try to focus and deliver it more succinctly.  You have to connect with the person quickly or you run the risk of losing their attention and getting a quick response of, “uh, I’m not really interested.  Thanks.”

Brittany says that she really likes my idea and agrees to accept my $10.  

She tucks the bill away with a warm smile.  Brittany says that she will put the money toward paying some bills.  Times have been tough and she has found herself picking up some odd jobs to help make ends meet.  She hopes to one day be able to open her own spa.  I think you could make an argument that someone like Brittany who wants to have her own spa has an inner drive to make others feel good about themselves.  Your customers come there because they want to feel or look better.  Those who work there get a sort of satisfaction knowing that they have helped their customers look and feel better.  I definitely can relate to this.  I don’t know if I look better since I have started the Year of Giving, but I certainly feel better.

Brittany said she had to get going.  We exchanged thank-yous and went our separate ways.

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Day 26 – Christine

On Saturday night I found myself out in Chinatown in DC with my brother and several friends.  

Fado's Irish Pub

I had not given my $10 away yet and it was getting close to midnight, so I thought I better find someone quick.  Inside Fado’s Irish Pub, I spotted Christine who was talking to some of our friends and I found myself inserted in some random conversation.  I decided to see if the 25-year-old would be open to receiving my $10.  You might laugh when I say that, but often people say that they don’t want to receive it.  They think there is some sort of catch or it is all part of some sort of scam.

Originally from Maryland, she now lives in DC where she keeps a busy schedule.  She teaches chemistry, is enrolled in a doctoral program for physical therapy, and is a massage therapist.  Her long-term goal is to work in the field of neurological rehabilitation.  If all this wasn’t enough, she somehow finds time to practice tai chi chuan.  Suddenly my mind wanders to images of an early morning park setting where a group of people perform precise movements at a painfully slow rate.  She says that tai chi helps provide for a solid base of self-defense as you learn how to put your entire body into your movements thereby creating more power.  Thankfully it turns out that she has never been put into a situation where she had to defend herself, well, except for a fight that she was in in the second grade.

I asked her how she would use the $10.  She said that she was going to put it toward her rent.  She shares an apartment and for some reason her roommate has not been paying his portion.  Although she doesn’t come right out and tell me this, it sounds like she is helping him out financially while he doesn’t have the money.  That is extremely generous of her.

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