Saturday, November 16, 2002

11/16/02: The three-week-long weekend continues...Five Days Left!! Oh my gosh.

This past Wednesday was the All-Corps Year-End Service Project. I went to Baltimore with 120 others. We were gone for twelve hours...but it was a good day. Our project was neighborhood cleanup--so we picked up trash all day. It got stinky, weird and dangerous too, but it was fun. There were so many people working, and there was so much trash!! I couldn't believe it. We did some great work. The folks we worked for were so happy we were there. At the end of the day, they told us we'd picked up an estimated 20 tons of garbage and 400 tires, and saved the city at least $10,000. That felt great. I had a good time working alongside people I'd not really met or spent time with before. It's always fun to meet new people.

We just finally got our travel arrangements. The Seattle group will be flying out at 2.10 next Thursday, which means we have to leave the graduation reception around noon. I'm glad that I'll get to be with familiar people on the journey home. It is going to be so strange to go home!! There is nothing that won't change, compared to life in NCCC. That's a huge topic of conversation lately--things we'll do when we get home, things we'll miss, how we'll adjust to life without everything and everyone here. I hope that I have changed a lot and that I don't fall into the same boring, normal life I had before.

Monday, November 11, 2002

11/11/02: Ten days until graduation. I am BORED. It is unbelievably dull to be stuck here at Perry Point. Yes, the fall colors are pretty, but you can't just sit around and stare at trees for eight hours a day. Speaking of eight hours a day, work is even boring, because we aren't doing any. The team worked five hours on Wednesday, four on Thursday and two on Friday. Now, I know I should be grateful for all the free time, and goodness knows I'm grateful that we're not spending our days doing "village enhancements" (their euphemism for things like painting porches and basements). But geez, give us something to do! It's supposed to be crazy hectic, getting ready to leave! Instead of feeling all frazzled with lack of time to complete necessary tasks and errands, I feel lost in a quagmire or no-where land. The concept of going home is enticing but feels eons away, and the time here doesn't seem to move along at a normal pace. I've had a ten-day weekend, for pete's sake!

But on the other hand, there is supposed to be ample time for team activities and last-minute bonding. We've got a full schedule in the evenings this week, so maybe the extreme boredom will dissipate a little. I am enjoying being able to just hang out with friends. Mandi and Geo and I sit around and do crossword puzzles and other grandma-type activities. :) Sigh. It's great to just run over to someone's house to hang out or do something or meet someone--every house is less than a three-minute walk, so people are certainly accessible. Geez, it sounds like I'm talking about a commodity or something.

Really, I promise I'm not bitter or angry or anything...this thing sounds way more harsh than I feel. But I'm just so bored--okay, no more whining, I promise.

It's raining out right now. Yesterday was a lovely day, even at night it was hardly chilly. It really is very pretty here and I'm trying to memorize everything because soon enough Perry Point life will be just a memory.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

11/06/02: Well, I got some great news yesterday...I have a Teach for America interview! I applied at the end of October and have been on tenterhooks waiting to hear back from them. I am ecstatic! The interview will be sometime in the first week of December, and I do believe it's rather a lengthy, involved one. But that's okay. :)

Today was my first day back at work this week; I took two personal days this week. (I had wanted to visit Lesley in DC, but I just can't afford it :( ) Boy, was it tough to get up at 7.30 again! We did our project debrief and year-end debrief, where we gave the staff feedback about the year--projects, trainings, team leaders, etc.

I finished my ISPs last week! This is exciting news, even though I'd wanted to be done long before now. But there are still some interesting things going on that I may do for ISP. I keep reminding myself, this is the test: once we don't have to, we still should. This program has taught me the wonderful benefits of volunteering out of the goodness of one's heart. So I am determined to back this up and live up to my, own standards, and keep working to make a difference in my community. For instance, New York Cares, with whom we have worked a few times, has a sister organization in Seattle, called Seattle Works (they have programs in most major cities). I really want to find out more about them when I get home and fully intend on working with them and other volunteer organizations. I highly encourage everyone to give up a few evenings or Saturdays to giving back! If I can do, anyone can do it. It's so easy and so rewarding. Maybe you missed Make a Difference Day (it was Oct. 26), so you can make up for it with your own day devoted to service.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

11/03/02: Holy cow it's already November! And I'm 23 now, too. Something like 18 days left until graduation and heading home.

So we finished up Round 4. The last few weeks weren't very interesting. They were cold, though. Brr. The last three people on disaster came back, so we once again had all eleven of us together in the same house. I strained my back at work one day, lifting and mixing concrete, so I was out of work for two and a half days.

I got to spend two weekends in New York City! It was great, I love it there. I stayed with Kristin, who kept trying to persuade me to just move there already. Someday I will. When I have enough money! Did an ISP at the Central Park Zoo one morning, it was crazy busy and there were all kinds of people. It was a lot of fun. I even got to speak French!

So let's see. My birthday was also the travel day. It was a crazy day, very busy nonstop. The drive, once we finally got going, went fine. The lovely New England fall foliage was on display during the trip down the New Jersey Turnpike. The drive didn't last forever like some have. We went grocery shopping (woohoo! I am excited to have my own food to eat--not to mention dishes. The house in Bridgeport had like ten plates and six glasses--one for every two people. That sucked.). That evening the whole team (pretty much) met to go out for dinner for my birthday!! The team was great--they sang to me a few times and we had a nice toast. And someone got me a little cake, a black cat cake. Very cute. After dinner some of us went to the Rendez Vous and had a good time dancing and catching up with folks we haven't seen for two months.

The next few weeks are a lot of cleaning, and getting ready to go. I've already started packing some stuff away to ship out soon. Notably books and papers, which abound after nearly ten months. Did you know, I've read over fifty books this year in NCCC? At the end of the year I shall post the list. Anyway, and we'll be doing lots of team stuff, emotional closeout, reflection, bonding, etc. We've already started with the "remember when" craze. We all talk about how strange it will be to live on our own again. I'll be living in a house with just my mom. No AmeriCorps people, no uniforms, no team members, no one to play Boggle with (I have converted several teammates into avid Bogglers-woo!), no one who knows what I've just lived through. BUT-- I will be excited to see people, have a car to drive (one that's NOT a fifteen-passenger van), have a working washer/dryer in the house, a normal bed, no house inspections, no limits on food-shopping. I'm certainly ready to move on, we all are, but I know that the transition will be tough, lonely and sad.