I love my CAST family so much!

Friday was so hard and so amazing all at the same time. It was my last day at CAST (in the office), but of course it was also crammed full. We had a training at the UCLA Medical building on identifying victims of trafficking, and I actually got to present! It was awesome being able to finally do what I had seen so many other staff at CAST do, and really share what I had learned. Beyond that though, just getting to spend one more day with my coworkers at CAST – to go to Chipotle, and get ice cream sandwiches, and make jokes about how I don’t know that much about the 90s – everything goes so beyond the work for me. Advocating against human trafficking and for better survivor services is still my passion, but my sadness about leaving the office goes way beyond that. I couldn’t stop saying how sad I was it was my last day in the office, because I will miss the people so much. Luckily, I am going to keep interning with CAST, but it will be remotely from school, and I will miss my amazing coworkers and friends. They have sincerely become my family in LA.

I was also treated to an amazing dinner at a thai BBQ restaurant by four Caucus members – Flor, Pasi, Ima, and Kanthi. The dinner was such a nice treat – Ima only told me about it on Thursday, and I was really surprised. No one has ever had a goodbye dinner for me before. I even got cake! Generosity still takes me by surprise sometimes, and the immense generosity I have found in my friends at CAST has been almost overwhelming. The relationships I made at CAST really became like family to me. I can’t express how much I care about the staff and survivors at CAST.

Today is definitely bittersweet. The generosity I have seen in the last few months, the resilience, and the care has been intense. I know that I have left this internship a completely different person. Calling it an internship doesn’t even feel right. I feel like it has changed my whole life, and I am so grateful for it.

I keep talking about generosity, but that is seriously what it comes down to. So often, we become jaded and believe that pure human goodness and sincerity doesn’t exist. Before I came to CAST, I know I felt like that. Although I know a lot of the change in my perception is because of my own personal work, CAST has had so much to do with it. The people who work at CAST and the survivors are just genuinely such good people. They do what they do because they care and because they want to make a difference. They take the time to show people that they care, and they look out for each other. I still think it is rare at times, but I am finding it more and more, and I found a very dense pocket of it at CAST Los Angeles.

I am so blessed to have had these amazing people come into my life. From being teased at the office for my lack of ability to make coffee to spending Indonesian Independence Day with Ima and Pasi, this internship went so beyond the “typical office experience.”

They say everyone comes into your life for a reason. The people at CAST sincerely made me such a better person. I am forever grateful for this experience. It really swept me off my feet in every way and in the best way possible.