In this holiday season, it felt fitting to thank all of those who have impacted my journey in Atlanta these last four months. It has taken quite some time to adjust to life here. Often, it has been overwhelming and hard to navigate both logistically and emotionally, but I have learned from that. Here is homage to the kind friends, neighbors, and passersby who have made a new and difficult place feel welcoming. Let this be a litany of gratitude for the grace that each person has bestowed upon me on this journey so far. Even the smallest of gestures has helped me find a glimpse of home in Atlanta. So, let it begin:
To the housemate who had not previously known anyone with limited mobility very closely but immediately offered to wheel me through the chaos of the airport— Thank You.
To the percussionist in the legendary white toaster who introduced the Dwellers to the many rhythms of the city—— Thank You.
To the city official who accompanied me on my walk to workthat first day after a difficult 1.5 hour commute —- Thank You.
To the grandmothers and young urban professionals who walked into the street to stop the bus on my behalf— Thank You (but please proceed safely ).
To the bank teller who treated me with respect as I handed him a check for food while I was dripping wet after walking for five blocks ina surprise flash flood— Thank You.
To the man who offered to remove the blocks on my car in the rain—- Thank You.
To the parking lot manager who convinced his superior to waive the $60 fine on a $5 parking ticket due to inadequate accessible parking— Thank You.
To the neighbors jogging by early in the morning who advised me on how to move my car safely out of the way after a fender-bender— Thank You.
To the neighbor who was exceedingly understanding after I accidentally crunched her fender at 8 am. She genuinely wished that my day would improve for my sake—Thank You.
To the crossing guard who noticed I was missing from the traffic line and walked to my house in order to instruct me on turning the car out of the alley safely— Thank You.
To the fellow commuters who held the train door open with their bodies despite the friendly mob on the way home from the Pride Parade—-Thank You.
To the housemate who celebrated each of my exploratory adventures on MARTA and commiserated with me after many epic failures on MARTA-It’s an adjustment which she understands— Thank You
To the housemate who took the time to intentionally debrief the hardest parts of the week at our placements as he prepared dinner—Thank You
To the pick up truck owner who decided to trust my claim of a malfunctioning ramp when I was stranded at a gas station — Thank You.
To the neighbor and automobile mechanic who calmly removed my bumper from the road, assessed the damage to both of our cars, and gladly cooperated with me every step of the way as we settled the situation—- Thank You
To the college-aged man at West End Station who manually inserted the ramp after spotting my situation as he approached from the escalator—-Thank You.
To the fantastic Uber driver who gladly handled my luggage and walker and then walked me to check in —– Thank You.
To the Dwellers who share their calling to service, their joys and struggles, and a dinner table, making it more like home— Thank You
To the Purple House Pals who actively listen to myexperience navigating the many borderlands of this city and teach me something new from their journeys—Thank You.
To the site coordinator who passionately listens to us and empowers others through his enthusiasm— Thank You.
To an incredible boss who always understood my approach and dignified my intent while correcting my mistakes – She understood all that could happen while navigating downtown in the mornings. Her concern for my wellbeing always took precedent over procedures at the office. —-Thank You.
To the guests at the OAC for all they have taught me by being honest with their stories of not only loss, confusion, and vulnerability within their varied circumstances but also relief, joy, and appreciation in overcoming barriers. The process of living with or overcoming hurdles is never easy, simple or guaranteed for any of them. We must actively dignify and empower each person as they have taught me—Thank You