Today, as usual on Thursday, I went out for drinks after my afternoon class with some people in my cohort. The Virginia Cafe. The waitress knows us. We have our own booth. It’s dark, with dark wood walls. The drinks are strong and cheap ($3 G&T’s, baby). As it happens, a friend of mine from Austin who just moved to a new apartment in a converted 1920’s hotel on Broadway downtown called and wanted to hang out. She came and met us after a rough, long day of teaching (“I desperately need to be around some adults,” she said). We stayed later than everyone else and got too drunk (thank you, public transportation, I heart you), then she came over and had dinner with me and Tom, where much wine was consumed and Dusty Springfield listened to.
It felt really nice to catch up with an old Austin friend. Tom and I are going back to visit the last weekend of February and I’m very excited. Sometimes, like another friend who recently left Austin, I get wistful about it, but, as I told my Austin friend tonight, I’m starting to feel really at home here in Portland. The city is growing on me. Of course, I’m witnessing a freakishly lovely winter, apparently (it’s been sunny and bright every single day, and hasn’t rained in, like, a month), but it’s getting comfortable. School is great, I’m making connections, impressing people. My adviser at school gave me an excellent compliment the other day that I’m not going to put in print.
This semester we’ve started our “pretend therapy,” where we get partnered with someone, and we alternate all semester being a client and being the therapist. And we have to have full therapy sessions every single week (as both roles). When we’re the “client,” we have to remain in character each session, and expand upon the character and develop it over the 4 months of the term. When we’re the “therapist,” we have to videotape the session, and meet for 2 hours each week with a supervisor who goes over the tape with us, analyzes our performance, gives us tips, helps us out, etc. My supervisor and I get along extremely well, and he seems genuinely impressed with my budding therapeutic skills. I don’t say that to toot my own horn, but because I’m surprised by it. I’ve never really been good at anything before. At least nothing practical. Now I’m being praised at work (and being begged to work more because I’m awesome), and impressing supervisors at school.
It’s so weird.
Maybe it’s because I’ve just settled into what it is I am actually good at. Maybe it’s maturity, and I’ve never truly put myself into anything before because I never cared enough to (or cared for the wrong reasons). Whatever the case, I’m instilled with a confidence I’ve certainly never experienced before.
We’re also starting to work towards our practicum for next year. My #1 choice of practicum sites is the YWCA. They do a lot of sex/gender counseling there, and I would see a very diverse clientele, including lower-income, which is exciting. (In case you’re unaware, our practicum is our year-long internship assignment for next year, where we’ll start seeing real clients, and being supervised by a real boss, and will be the true measure of our abilities, and people often get hired at their practicum sites after school.) That won’t actually start until at least July, probably August, but we’re going to be starting interviews at the end of February. I can’t believe we’re that close already!
I was thinking the other day as I was walking around downtown and admiring it, how happy I am I didn’t end up in Berkeley. It would have had its own charms, I’m sure, but this place suits me better I think. I feel very at home here. And I feel very at home in myself.