Well, we're on the road tonight. We left New Orleans yesterday morning... after a GREAT week.
The last 2 weeks have been probably my favorite 2 weeks. The team has been splitting work sites, which caused no issues, and was probably a nice break from each other. I stayed and worked with Patrick. He's a supervisor for Habitat, and formerly an NCCC TL. He gave me a ton of control over projects, from laying cement pads, to putting up a chain link fence. Worked with some solid kids from North Carolina and a Prep school in Maryland.. had an absolute blast. Then we moved over to another site where, again, Patrick gave me lots of freedom. Here I lead more kids and even adults. It was a challenge leading adult males who probably know a hell of a lot more than me abuot construction, but it was a good experience. I think Pat and my work styles are very similar, so it was a pretty awesome time. The rest of the crew stayed at Catfish's worksite... another incredible "house leader" I think they're called. The team was able to build that house from the ground up; they got as far as the shingles on the roof. The house I was working on next door we started by putting the sill beams up and by time we left Thursday we were ready for the roof trusses. It was awesome.
Last weekend we held a community day for the kids in NOLA. We had face painting, fruits and veggies... lots of good stuff. It was a chill, quiet time. I clung to this little boy who clearly needed more parenting. Very violent - his mother gave me a visual as to why he was like that... so disappointing. I enjoyed working with him though, and it kept him occupied. I say I hate kids, and I think to an extent I do, but if they are trouble, I can't resist them.
Monday we went on a driving tour with John Wilkes Booth. No joke. He showed us around the hardest hit parts of NOLA, and explained how and why all of the devastation happened. It was a pretty intense time. We had also just watched the movie "When the levees broke." It's a 4 hour documentary, but if you want to know more about the realities of Katrina, our government, etc, then check it out. It was astounding and very informative.
Wednesday night Catfish took the team out for dinner... at probably the best restaurant in New Orleans. It was top-notch food, and the price deomonstrated that... it was sooo good - place called Joc imos, something like that - we met Catfish out later for some drinks... funny guy. Patrick also took Jon and I out for lunch last week at "the Joint." The BEST BBQ I have EVER had. Wow. And the mac & cheese.... I could live off of it.
Those two site supervisors are going to be hard to replace. Then again, so are the ones from RI. These experiences are incredible... I wish everyone would take the time to join a program like Americorps. They would not be disappointed.
So here we are, on day 2 of a 3 day trip... not the typical trip home. Usually we only get 2 days of travel, but I thought, hey, let's try something. So, we put in a proposal to travel for 3 days, travel up to Memphis, check out the Blues Highway, and spend the night in TN. Then on day 2, head to Mammoth Cave National Park and spend the night in Lexington, KY. And day 3 is a straight shot home. Didn't know if it would get approved, but we were told "yes, just don't spend anything more than you would on a 2 day trip." So we used our extra food money to buy groceries to make sandwiches for lunch and dinner last night. We were giong to pitch in to pay $5 each for the extra hotel cost (we didn't need much more than what we get in our budget), but the place we stayed last night bumped us into a smaller room, and a smoking room, so we got one of our two rooms for free.... so a free day of extra travel it is.
Yesterday we passed through Yahzoo city. It's the city in MS that was hit with tornadoes and 2 of my CM's were down there. We stopped in a couple spots to look at the damage. Incredible.
Mammoth Cave was an awesome place to stop. We are really enjoying the travel back... it's really relaxing. We still don't know where we are going next, but things are going really well now, so we're not too anxious about it. Tommorrow we arrive back in PerryPoint, and Wednesday night starts our summer break. I'm heading to Brooklyn for 5 days, and then spending 4 nights in NYC with my brother and sister.
I miss people. Some a ton. Sometimes I can't wait for November... December really, because I'll take some time traveling home... and then.. maybe I'm most anxious for January... there's some incredible things going on in my life... I love where I'm at, and probably even more where I'm going...