I remember the time when I spent about 2 years in Germany. That was in the 70’s. I was born in Austria in 1951, emigrated to the US in 1973, had the opportunity to travel to Japan and South Korea, after that back to Europe – Germany, England, France, Italy. When I arrived in Germany I was sent as a pioneer missionary to the City of Ulm. We were given no money or any other material support. This was part of the Pioneer Mission – learning to rely on God’s guidance and ourselves.-And what an amazing experience that was. At that time I did not really have my own personal experience with God..
Until then I could always rely on the church leadership to take care of my emotional and physical needs. But now I was alone. First I needed to rent an apartment. Without a job I could not legally rent an apartment. I was told there were no jobs available for which I could qualify and on and on !!! So I told the good people of Germany that if they really wanted to help me – they of course pretended they wanted to help- I told them they would find a way and create a job title for me that would allow me to qualify and rent an apartment. I was brazen enough to just tell these officials that I would be back in a week and they should in the meantime find a solution for me.
Sure enough after one week, the official had created a very interesting job title for me which filled the loopholes in this whole process. Now I could rent an apartment and find a job. One day I was walking on the street and I felt intuitively to walk into an office that belonged to a Social Service run by the Catholic Church. I asked if they had any job for me and I was told that in fact they really needed someone right away. A few questions and answers later I had a job as social worker.
First a family where the mother was hospitalized. This was a brief stay. Then I was sent to an elderly couple where the wife had Alzheimers. I was told that this might be a challenge. Previous social workers did not last long. The lady would always hide things and then accuse the social workers of stealing from her. But as it turned out, I found a deep heartistic connection with her and I was happy to listen to her stories, which I found to be quite interesting. One of my biggest strengths is that I am genuinely interested in others. Before that I had different types of jobs – cleaning hotel rooms, selling ice cream at the County Fair.
I had a lot of fun doing these menial jobs, I got to observe and meet a lot of different people even for a brief moment. I certainly was never bored or stressed as I experienced later in my life when I had a real job and built a business together with my husband. I was considered a successful person and was admired even envied. But I was also very stressed and not really happy. It seemed like I had to be on several places at the same time and no matter what I did – my efforts fell short and I lost track little by little of what was really important to me. Most importantly though I was not really myself any longer.
I am retired now and ready to assume my “Vagabond” lifestyle again. Currently I live with my husband in the Dominican Republic. My husband was born here, but left for the US; remained there and eventually became a US citizen. We are now exploring the country by bus.
As often as possible we travel to Miami to visit our four children and two grandchildren. This is another real adventure for us. We never thought being with grand children would be so exciting. It is like discovering the World all over again – through their eyes.
Maria De La Rosa