Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sweet Home Alabama

Ain't it the truth though?

I'm loving this project. It is so exciting every day. I have never been happier with the team and the overall things that are happening on every level down here. It's absolutely incredible!

The work we do is pretty monotanous(sp??). We literally wipe off cans of food with bleach rags, or fill boxes with food and stack them on pallets for shipment. That's about it. BUT... we get to work together as a team, and that's never been more fun. The team is SO F'd in the head, that you cannot help but laugh. We've started this thing where every time you put something in a box, or make a move of any sort really, you have to make a noise. So when you drop a bad of rice in the box, you have to have a customized noise... "beep, boop, orgh, gah!, unff" is close to what our area of the warehouse sounds like. Even when I'm in a bad mood (which happens like 2 days a round), the team doesn't care, and just goes on being ridiculous, and expects that I join in on it. If I don't, I'm ousted. The other day I had one of these days, and Chelsea decided we were going to make hats. So she grabbed these big paper bags, placed them our heads and I ended up taping them to everyone's heads.. ya know, custom fit. So we were making robot noises with 3 foot high paper bags on our heads... truly a site to see. The employees were coming by, confused, laughing, taking pictures, but mostly shaking their heads and avoiding us. And then at the end of the day they are shocked at how many pallets of food we got through.. no joke! They can't believe how much we're getting done!

Monday nights are up in the air as to what will happen. I usually grocery shop.
Tuesday and Wednesdays are low key because that is when the GED classes are. So I have to be the chauffer. I don't mind it.
Thursdays is beach night. We get home, grab food (someone prepares our meal the night before so we can grab it and go after work). We get to the beach, do a team workout (which looks like it will be YOGA from now on), and then swim quick, and hit the pavillion for Taco Dinner (it's capitalized because it's a THING... like the VMA's or something), and then we follow with a team meeting before packing up and heading home for the night.
Fridays are up in the air, too. This past Friday we went to the mall, I bought nothing.. that was easier than I thought it'd be. Then we went to Wal Mart and played the Wal Mart game. I don't feel like explaining it, but it was a blast.
Saturday's are unpredictable - usually low key and relaxing. and in the evening, Jamie and I head to the local Mexican restaurant for $1.25 margaritas! MmmMmmmMmmmm
Sunday is beach day. It starts off with breakfast made by our housing sponsor every sunday at 8:30. Then I bike to the beach (20 miles) and then everyone else meets me there for the day. It is cloudy today, so not sure if it will happen, but I think it might.

The team is not just getting along down here, but enjoying each other's company. What used to annoy and frustrate us about each other, is now a strong point and something we connect with each other on. We are conversational, try to help each other out, and instead of getting pissed and walking away from each other, we pull each other aside and converse. I don't... I mean, I'm done with that. ha - they know what I'm thinking without having to say it... so now I just hit them. It works.

I leave for California on Friday... 9 days there! Definitely ready for it... haven't seen Zac in 7 weeks. Almost 8. Get a feel for what my life will be like post-Americorps. We both need this. It's crazy... it really is... to actually care for someone. I NEVER thought Iwould be in this position. Sorry... don't puke, I'm done.

All right... gotta check this bike beach trip forecast, see if I can't make it happen.

Live every day. Do what feels right... don't allow yourself to be constrained... you can't find happiness if you do.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Time slipped by... down in Alabama!

Well, we wrapped up things in Baltimore... we spent our last working day on the farm hosting a community day for local kids... we had 3 children wander onto the farm, and 6 or 7 college students come volunteer because they had forgotten sunglasses 2 weeks earlier and felt bad coming back to just get the glasses... so they hung around for a couple of hours.

The following day we went to work with another team, my former Corps Members team, Wolf 2. They work at City Neighbors... this is an organization started by parents of Baltimore students. They felt that the public schools were not providing a strong enough educational experience, so they created City Neighbors charter schools. Each year the school grows, and with that comesa lot of work. So we spen the day (sunday) helping them get ready for school that was supposed to start on that Monday. However, they didn't have desks, lights, dry-erase boards, a cafeteria.... ETC, so needless to say, school was delayed. No 2 hour delay, a 7 day delay... that's what I would have been talkinga bout. It was really cool to work with them. A fun team, and it feels good to help with worthwhile projects. Plus we got to check out the view of the city from the schools roof...and climb on the ropes in the gym. Solid day. Oh, and frontflips into the cardboard recycling dumpsters... no, we aren't allowed to do that in uniform...;)

The following day, things got BETTER. Wolf 2 joined us at a pool party. This was AWESOME. One of our sponsors friends (?) heard of us and the work we did and invited us to his house for a pool party. Diving board, basketall hoop in pool, lots of food (and ICE CREAM), water guns... you name it. Spent about 4 hours there. I mastered the art of front AND backflips. Had never tried either, so it was quite an accomplishment. I was like a 2 year old that just learned where the dog food dish was.. you couldn't keep me off that diving board. We had a legitimate REALLY good day.

Back to campus we went. We spent 2 days in transition, or 3, who cares, and then left for Fall Break. I lucked out BIG TIME. One of the STL's on campus has a condo on Lake Erie. I was invited. 4 of us drove up Thursday and spent 4 days on the lake. It was awesome. I did nothing. I didn't go venture into town to explore (except to go to Fazoli's once.. where the breadsticks have 103 calories... Lynn?). I didn't talk to anyone on the phone. I barely talked to those I was with. I read 2 books, chilled online, took naps, drank a bit, sunbathed a bit... the whole thing of relaxation. His parents took us out on the boat once, grilled out.. just an overall excellentw eekend.

Nothing too exciting happened back at campus. We prepared for 4th round down in Alabama. But since we didn't need to bring tools or anything, and because my team kicks ass, we had nothing that was necessary to get done. So I went about 36 hours without seeing them, and barely talking to them. That is literally unheard of, especially during transition. So proud of these guys... it's sounds parental to say... but .. well, what else can I say.

One day after one of the trainings, feeling a bit frustrated that I was keeping things from the team, we circled up in the field outside the building we live in. I told them that I didn't want to make a big deal out of it, but that I wanted to be open and honest with them and felt that I was hiding something from them. SO, I told them about Zac... it was awesome. They giggled a bit, but mostly were like "Ok, cool" and then preceded to ask questions about our relationship. I feel much more comfortable with them now.

I spent one day down in DC working things out for a CM trip down there in November. It was a really long day, with some hiccups, but it turned out to be pretty beneficial. Also got to go out to dinner with most of the Badger TL's, so that was nice... such fucking awesome group of people. SO much fun... some things will be missed come Nov. 23rd.

I also talked with my Region Director about becoming a Unit Leader next spring/summer... promising conversation, so I'm excited for next spring to get here... not too fast, but sooner than later. It's a great opportunity, and I know I'd really enjoy the accomplishments that come with it.

Anyhow, now we are in Alabama. We had a nice, cozy little road trip down here, and LOVE IT. Had our first day of work today. Spent Friday and Saturday nights at the beach. Went to Mobile on Saturday, so now we have 3 bikes. On Sunday I biked to and from the beach (40 miles r/t), and spent the day there with the team.

We work in a canned food facility, sorting and packing food for the families affected by the oil spill.. mostly. It's pretty cool work.. .more info on that to come. But we work at our pace with great people.

So far.. things are just great. And I found a GED program for two of my CM's, so the one who is in MD flys down on Wed to rejoin our team. Couldn''t be happier about that. Things are really coming together this last round.... I'm excited.

So much more to come... lata ya'll