Thursday, May 16, 2013

City of Lebanon

For the last two years, I had the opportunity to work very very party time for the City of Lebanon, the city in which I lived. I was employed as a recording secretary for city meetings. Most of the meetings I covered were resident-run, meaning the individuals in charge and in attendance had no employed position in the city. Instead, they were volunteers interested in particular areas of their community. 

The job wasn't all that demanding. In fact, I have to admit that many nights it was a nice break! I sat at a chair in City Hall or a meeting room in the library and recorded discussions about energy efficiency, loss prevention, the master plan, recreation, bicyclist and pedestrian safety, traffic striping, grants, zoning petitions and ordinances, safe routes to school, historical landmarks, streetlights and more. 

The meetings really gave me a sense of belonging to my own community. A community I didn't feel like I would need to be a deep part of, knowing I was only going to live there for two years. Nevertheless, a community I grew to love and will really miss!

Each committee gave me a better understanding of how the government works on a local level, and how complex it actually is. Sometimes too complex for its own good; there are so many topics that have to intersect to make things run smoothly. 

But mostly I loved the people. 

The individuals in attendance were passionate about their community and they were sincerely interested in making it a better place to live.

Some really liked to hear themselves talk. 

Others really liked to listen. 

Some had strong points of view. 

Others not so much. 

And, most days, I loved listening to and watching them all. 

I loved listening to A, a relative newcomer to Lebanon who brings expertise from other communities of which he has been a part. It was always fun to see P, a fellow runner, and chat about our most recent races. I enjoyed talking with G, a quiet gentleman who was always on time (early) and would always ask me about my own day. I especially loved E, an adopted grandpa of sorts who was born and raised in Lebanon and knows everyone by name. The history of that city is in his pores - he lives and breathes it and everyone who becomes a part of it - even temporary residents like myself; he gave me a bear hug when he saw me for the first time after the Boston Marathon and told me how glad he was when he heard I was safe.

Tonight was my last meeting for this

perfect job for an introvert like me, allowing me to write a little, listen a lot and get to know my fellow residents and community on a very different level. And that, dear Lebanon, I will miss.

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