Today I woke up to an email saying it had snowed far too much for most of the girls and staff to come into school today, so classes in the afternoon and tomorrow would be cancelled, the first snow days in at least 5 years. How much had it snowed? Half an inch. 

As I watch the boarding girls outside my window try to scrape up enough snow to throw at one another and do Snow Day celebration dances in their gym shorts, I can’t help but start to think about how much has changed — how much I’ve changed — since August. 

In some ways it feels like I just got here last week, and in other ways it’s like I’ve been here for years. 98% of my job revolves around relationship building —whether that be with my housemistresses who run the boarding house I live and work in, the school chaplain I work for every day, the first graders I see every week for art, my fellow gap students from all over the world, or, most importantly, the 40 girls who live in my boarding house — and I can’t imagine never having known them. 

I think when your position mostly entails building relationships, it’s hard to pin down specific accomplishments. It’s hard to have something to point to and say, “Hey, look at this thing I did!” And sometimes that can make me feel empty handed, leaving me to wonder how much I’ve really done here. 

But then Mai knocks on my door and needs advice about a breakup and how to deal with pressures her family is putting on her to do well on upcoming exams. 

But then Amelia pulls me aside after school and wants to know what she should do about confronting an inconsiderate friend. 

But then Laura and I bake cookies in the house kitchen, and we don’t talk about her parents’ recent divorce, but I try especially hard to make her laugh.

But then Sabina lets me clean up the cuts she made on her arm and lets me talk to her about seeking further support.

But then I give Alyssa ukulele lessons. Alex and Mia and Annabelle want to play cards. Kirstie and Natalie beg me to be on their dodgeball team. Blaise confides in me about feeling lonely at home. An emotional Tatty stops crying, the resolute Michelle lets her guard down. 

And I comfort and give advice. I get my hands dirty. I teach and I learn. I laugh and I listen and I love. 

I love, I love, I love. 

I can’t imagine not knowing these girls, these beautiful, strong, incredible girls. And as much as they’ve touched my life, I’m honored to know I’ve touched theirs as well. And none of this, none of these experiences, would be possible if it weren’t for you all and your support. So thank you so much, from one full heart to many. Thank you for the cards, for the thoughts and prayers and support. Thank you for showing Christ’s love to me so I can show it to others. 

I’m praying for your continued happiness and fulfillment (which might not include Snow Days like mine does!).

Yours in Christ,

Danielle Steinwart