Strong Girl: Amy

Meet Amy. Amy Gartenberg.

My first memory of Amy?

After a week with no shower – sticky arms, damp bandanas tied around foreheads, dirt worn into the rim of Nike shorts – a group of 100 or so soon-to-be freshman stood in a circle in a forest a few miles away from Bloomington, where we would live for the next four years of our college career. While I didn’t know a soul before going to IU, or what the Midwest was all about (… and what the heck is corn hole?!), I had heard about this sport called rowing, and so I thought I might give it a shot. And in that circle of freshman, when one girl yelled, “I love rowing!,”  a call for others to cry out in mutual love of such said thing, I threw up my arms and yelled “So do I!”, running to the middle of the circle, jumping up and down with three other girls.

One of those girls was Amy.

Amy – whose laughter makes you wish you could laugh all day long, whose spontaneity and sense of adventure makes you crave surprise trips to the bookstore, a late night at the movies, or even a trip to Colorado, whose thoughtful questions make you want to open part of yourself that you have guarded for such a long time.

She is a leader, a teacher, a runner, an explorer, an amazing college roommate.

And she doesn’t let distance hold her back from following her heart.

How many people do you know that would travel across the country, without any set plans, to start a new chapter of their life, all to support someone they love?

Well, that’s part of Amy’s story, but let’s have her tell you herself.

How does the word “movement” fit into your life, especially any changes that have happened over the last few months?

I think the biggest way I’ve moved over the last few months has been my move to Los Angeles. I moved here from St. Louis with my boyfriend in late August. Throughout the past few months I’ve felt excited, lonely, free, and afraid. So, to help myself feel grounded I’ve used physical movement. Running has played a huge part in my well being while settling in a new place.

What are you currently doing and what brought you there?

It’s really my boyfriend, Alex, that brought me here. After four years of dating long distance through college, we decided that being together was one of the most important things on our post-grad list. With a teaching degree, I felt that I could be anywhere. I was ready for an adventure. Alex studied music industry and knew that LA was the place for him. So, we packed up the Honda Element and away we drove. We arrived with no jobs and 6 weeks’ worth of sublet apartments. I’m currently the assistant science teacher and afterschool teacher at an elementary  school in Los Angeles.

Somewhere between St. Louis and L.A.

What is one goal you have this year?

One of my big goals this year is to get paid to write something. I know that’s awfully vague and doesn’t quite fit into my chosen field as a teacher. However, I’ve always loved to write and I have fantasies about writing a novel one day. If I could get paid to write one teenie, tiny piece this year, I would be a happy camper.

Currently, who/what do you draw inspiration from? When you wake up in the morning, what pops into your head and gets you saying, “Today is my day!”?

I think I get a lot of my inspiration from exercising my creativity. I like to take some time to write before I go into work. I used to feel really frustrated with myself and all the ideas I had just floating around in my head.

But I never wrote anything!

I wondered why I felt like I couldn’t pursue anything. It was actually Alex that recommended I write for a bit every day. I’m not at the point that I do it every day yet, but I do on most. This really helps inspire me and makes me feel excited about the future and what I may be capable of.

What is one thing you know to be true? What is your statement of faith that drives you to keep doing what you’re doing?

Have courage. Don’t be afraid to make choices or take chances. In the words of Oscar Wilde, “Life is too important to be taken seriously.”

Amy and Alex, stopping to enjoy creation!

What is something new that brings Joy to your life?

My family brings me the most Joy in my life. They inspire me and remind me not to worry. When I think of being with my family, I feel warm.

Thank you, Amy! You are following your heart to support someone you love – a great example for all of us.

**Thanks to all the Strong Girls who shared their stories this week! Miss one of them? Read them all, you won’t be disappointed. Hear from Shervin, Danielle and Lea.**


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