Monday, July 22, 2002

07/22/02: So the new project is in New Hampshire, at Camp Wabasso, a Girl Scout camp. It is very different than being at Trail Blazers; we live in the lodge with electricity and walls and all that good modern technological stuff! Being camp staff is certainly different than maintenance staff, too. It's pretty fun working with the kids, but it can be a challenge to keep them interested and to stay patient with the bratty ones. But for the most part, the girls are great, I made some camper friends pretty quickly. They were the 9 and 10 year olds, and they are really sweet.

Our job at camp is to be program staff. So we decide on programs for each day, one arts and crafts, one game/physical activity. That part seems to go over well with both the campers and the counselors. We've done things like make paper and the wacky olympics. It's so strange to "work" all day without doing anything like building or whatever. I for one got used to having goals like "build this shelter" or "rake this smallcamp" to be accomplished by the end of the day, but now we just get up and hang out with kids all day. Oh boy, and the dining hall. That is an experience! The volume level can get deafening, especially at dinner, when the kids are all keyed up. There are many songs and little games they all play and sing all throughout the meal. My least favorite one was one of the camper favorites, called Bob the Can, sung to the tune of Barbara Ann by the Beach Boys. Bob the Can, he's not a man, Bob the Can...he's got me scraping and a-stacking, stacking and a-scraping, Bob the Can. Hoo boy is that song annoying after the fifth time in an hour!

In other news...I am in Texas right now! Half the team got called the day we left for New Hampshire, so only six of us made the drive and started the project. I got put on the call list the first day we were there but didn't actually get called for another week. Just enough time to get settled and used to things and stuff. So I took four four flights to get here--Boston to Cincinnati to New Orleans to Dallas to San Antonio. What a long day. We've been here in San Antonio for four days now, and we still don't really know what's going on. They've had massive flooding all over South Central Texas, and that's what we're here to help with. The San Antonio stuff seems to be pretty much under control, but the water in Corpus Christi hasn't gone down yet, so we're hoping to go down there. The team I'm working with is doing damage assessment. Most of them are from the other unit and so I didn't know any of them before. But they're all really great and we're having a fun time here. We've gone out on the town a little bit, seen some Riverwalk life. It is really hot here and oh how we love our air conditioners.

Our assignment is for three weeks, so I'll be here for awhile, and hopefully soon we'll get busy with work. But until then, lots of tv and naps are in my future! Oh, and driving all over the place.

Today our group went out to Uvalde County to assess damage. The girl I was driving with, our car got stuck in some mud on this little back road. Like, really stuck. Up to the fender on one side stuck. Some wonderful folks came by with a big red pickup and saved us. In the process I got sprayed with mud from head to toe, literally. Today was definitely an adventure. Good times here in Texas!

Friday, July 05, 2002

07/05/02: Well. It feels like I've been away from AmeriCorps for a really long time. I miss my team! It is truly strange to not have any of them around me. I'm looking forward to seeing them again in a few days.

In the meantime, I am continuing to sort through my crap. I'm going to have to attempt to empty out my room in the next three days, so that Mom won't have to deal with any of my stuff when she moves her stuff to Spokane. It's a big ordeal, and my energy level has sapped. As much as I've gotten rid of, there's still a whole bunch of stuff I need to keep. Things like photo albums, interesting papers, some clothes and a lot of books. Not to mention the computer and CDs. Sigh. What a process.

It is so beautiful here! I love the trees and the mountains and the gorgeous vistas everywhere. I really missed the scenery when I was on the East Coast; it's pretty enough there, but it just can't compare to the Pacific Northwest. I am not looking forward to leaving the mountains behind for another five months.

My Fourth of July was nice and boring, just the way I wanted. I didn't do anything. I did take myself out to dinner, but other than that, I sat around and cleaned, rewrote an old, kick-ass paper, and watched a movie. I love quiet time, and I figure I should soak it up now, because I won't have any quiet time or alone time for another two months or so. Whew!

It's Friday today, and on Monday I fly back to Maryland. It will be a long, long day; not only do I travel all day, but I'll have to get back, walk back to my house, unpack, then repack for spike, and visit with all my teammates. Oh, and maybe dinner in there somewhere too. But it will all be worth it! I'm so glad that I have my friends to go back to, and that we have this new exciting adventure to embark upon.

Monday, July 01, 2002

07/01/02: Miracle of miracles, I made it. Survived the last week at camp and successfully completed transition week back at campus.

The last week was fairly good, and it sped by, to my relief. The staff had a honorary dinner for the team and presented us with TrailBlazers t-shirts. I say, free t-shirts are the best and never-mentioned benefit of this program! Anyway, later that night we held a special powwow--just the team and two of the sponsors. It was fun and memorable.

Friday morning that we left, we all got up at 4.30 to drive up to Sunrise Mountain to watch...the sunrise. We were exhausted but anticipating the view. Sadly, the sun rose behind a bank of trees and so we pretty much missed it. But it was pretty up there, all misty in the early-morning fog. Arriving back in Perry Point, I was thrilled. I went into my house (my house! a real house! not a cabin or a hogan!) and was practically blinded by the whiteness of the walls and the general neatness and non-forest-being-ness. It was so strange to see real walls again, and have electricity everywhere again. It felt wonderful, as did my bed. Ah.

Transition week was quite boring and uneventful. And really freaking hot and humid. Everyone was worn out and tired all the time. We speculated that being on spike and coming back was a bigger adjustment than we'd thought. Had debriefs and briefings and painted some porches, and then it was time for summer break!!

This past Friday I took the train into Washington, DC and met up with my friend Lesley, who lives in the lively Adams Morgan district. We ate at a cute little Cajun place and caught up on everything. Then back at her place, we drew on the walls, since painters were coming early the next morning. That was a lot of fun. On Saturday we met up with a friend of hers for lunch, then I set out for Dulles Airport. Made it just fine and the plane left sort of on time.

And then I was back! I picked up my car, and that was so awesome. After driving the 15-passenger government van, my little Saturn feels like a race car. Which I love. I love my car!!! Anyway, got to see family folks and talk to some friends. Am trying to arrange schedules to see people but it's slow going. Running errands and picking things up for my return to NCCC. Sorting through my tons of junk and crap and clothes and taking out all that I don't need anymore. One of these days, I'm turning ascetic, I swear. Being in AmeriCorps and living in the woosd really made it clear that loads of material possessions are just unnecessary and take up too much room, physically and emotionally. I'm cleansing my spirit as well as my closet!