Monday, April 29, 2002

04/29/02: So by now, the entire project round is over, we got through transition week and just returned from our spring break weekend. A lot has happened!

First, we had the last week at school. That was really sad. It didn't seem real that we were never going to see our kids again. On Thursday and Friday, most of us gave little gifts to our classes, and the classes gave us things like letters and cakes. Because of the extreme heat and lack of air conditioning, school was dismissed early on Friday, our last day. So that threw an already delicate and emotional day into complete chaos. We survived and did our best to say farewell to our little friends. It's only been a week and a half since we were there, but it feels like so much longer now. My memories from Harford Heights are already getting fuzzy. But I have some great pictures of my kids, do take a look. I miss them a lot.

Next up was the infamous Transition Week. There was all kinds of stuff to do--the project portfolio (for the just-completed project), the project prep packet (for the new one), the official debrief of the old project, the official debrief of the new one, plus random trainings. Fortunately, our team, being local and having access to the computers, got a head start on the portfolio and so did not have to fight the hordes of other corps members here in the lab. As for me, I missed a lot of the stuff, because I taught one of the random training sessions. I did a Stress Management presentation for the entire Fire Unit (that's nine teams and over ninety people), over a three-day period of time. It was a lot of fun, and it was most definitely a learning experience. All the teams seemed to enjoy the class, and thanked me profusely. Because I did the class so many times, I kept tweaking with it, and that seemed to pay off. I added a guided relaxation at the end, which was a great thing. I wish I had the script and music that I used for my U-HELP presentations, but I did fairly well for off the cuff.

Then it was time for spring break! Woo! I headed to New York City, I was excited; I'd never been there before and had wanted to go for a long time. I was lucky enough to be able to stay with a friend, so I had a personal tour guide. Mostly we just walked around and saw stuff. Went to the Museum of Modern Art, rather quickly. Looked at the van Gogh and other famous names, and a great exhibit of New York City photographs. Got to see the campuses of NYU and Columbia. Met up with some other NCCC folks on Saturday night in Little Italy, that was really fun. I meant to get some gelato, but didn't have time. Supreme bummer. However, I did discover the joy of Italian ice, and had those for a meal-substitute a couple times. In all, I had a really good weekend. It was mellow, not terribly eventful, but pleasant and enjoyable. I love traveling to new places and figuring my way around. I can't wait to travel again.

Tomorrow is the day we have to get all our s*** together, literally. We have to be packed, have a meeting, clean the van and get it ready for the trip. Then first thing Wednesday morning, we head out to New Jersey. I'm getting excited. I'm really looking forward to being in a new place, as well as doing the work. We'll be doing lots of different things to get the camp ready, mostly repairs of facilities and building lean-tos. It will be nice to do physical labor, and to not have to the same monotonous thing day after day. And of course, I can't wait to explore the surroundings and just drink in the natural sights.

Because the camp is so "rustic," I won't be in touch very often with you folks in the Real World. I'll do my best with updates, but I'll probably concentrate on the team website. So check that out, too. I'm going to start writing more letters to all of you, so write to me too, and we'll all be pen pals.

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