For the first time ever I've missed Christmas Eve with my family. I've missed the staple of our holiday season.
Alas, it was all my fault. With this abnormal amount of holiday I now have, it was too late before I discovered there weren't enough days to travel back.
Sorry family, I'll do better next year.
Unlike me, everyone goes back home during the holiday season. My flatmate and friends I usually hangout with are no exception, leaving me "home alone" for the past two-ish weeks with more to come.
While I've been keeping myself busy hanging out with the Brits that are still here, photographing London, etc., loads of time is/was still unaccounted for.
Good thing I planned ahead, or I would've been so, so bored. Now, what could I do that helps people and has a social aspect? Being alone for all that time is no good, even as an introvert.
Crisis at Christmas to the rescue. What do they do you ask?
[They] provide companionship and support to tackle loneliness and isolation, and help people take their first steps out of homelessness.
During my volunteer days I met many different people, guests and volunteers alike. All of whom were amazing.
I'm sure most of us have preconceptions about the homeless. Most would think they are the people on the street who are obnoxiously begging for change outside the train station. They are lazy and grumpy. They brought this upon themselves.
While this may be true for some, it's completely wrong for the majority. These people have fallen on hard times and after chatting with them for a while it's clear. They are normal people, like you and me, trying to make the most of their lives.
I won't ever forget what a guy said to me on my first day. He walked up with a huge smile on his face. He was so happy, which left me wondering. Then, while shaking my hand, he said, "Thank God, I have a place to sleep tonight. I have a place to sleep tonight. Thank you."
I could only muster "amazing" and "I'm so happy for you." I was in awe.
At that moment, I was, again, reminded I am very well off. I think a lot of us seem to forget this from time to time.
I'm not rich by any means, but I had a good upbringing, parents who loved me, went to a great school, have an amazing job, a place to live, and worry about very little. In the grand scheme of things my "first world problems" hold very little weight.
While most of the time is spent with the guests, a small amount of downtime is spent with other volunteers. You end up meeting loads of people. I, for example, met a Dutch Harry Potter (not so sure on the Dutch part after looking on Facebook), a French girl who beat me at I Spy (it was her first time), a British primary school teacher who volunteered while she was back for the holidays from Spain, and many more.
Oh, and you get to make a fool of yourself in front of famous people.
Crisis at Christmas was a great experience and hopefully there will be more to come. All that's left to do now is have a few more adventures before everyone gets back.
Until next time...