I thought for a long time about this blog post, trying to decide which one of my Christmas vacations to write about.

Should I tell you about the fun vacation—the one that I’d been looking forward to for weeks? The vacation where I got to work at home in my pajamas, read good books, and spend quality time with my family and fur babies? How it was my job to be creative and play with art for a while?  I mean—really—my job! How lucky can you get? The vacation where I spent my days preparing healthy and delicious food to photograph, then eating the “models” afterward? Is that the story I should tell?         

Or should I tell about the other vacation? The one where it was -30 degrees outside, the pipes in my house froze, and my vehicle broke down. Where I had to order more propane long before I’d finished paying off the last delivery because, well, the house won’t heat itself and the pets haven’t been much help supporting the family so far. The vacation where my immune system crashed the first day of vacation—Santa brought me influenza for Christmas!

I know the first version is much more enjoyable to read, but truth be told, both were an important part of my experience. And the funny thing is, I don’t regret my crazy, different, “Tale of Two Cities” holiday at all. In fact, it might just go down in the halls of memory as one of my favorite Christmases ever (OK, that’s a stretch, but you never know).

Being a VISTA isn’t easy—some days it’s downright hard! But it’s worth every bump, bruise, and challenge because helping kids get good food to eat—filling hungry bellies—changing futures and changing lives—those are the rainbows that make it all worthwhile.

Tina Kahrs
Montana No Kid Hungry-PRC AmeriCorps VISTA
Plentywood, MT