Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Winding (the year) down...

I find it hard to believe that my 11 months is down to 3 weeks. I'm closing in on a year since graduation, Toni visiting, and leaving everything for this 11 month, cross-country journey.

We have 10 days left in Alabama. 10! We've been pretty busy lately. We had a community day on Saturday, which coincided with Make a Difference Day. This was our one day of the round that we, Badger 1, put together a day to serve and celebrate. Jamie, one of the gang, put a ton of effort into the event, and it was a huge success. We had food, crafts, games, prizes, sports, water balloons, and MORE! We started the morning off picking up trash along the road, and then celebrated the afternoon away with the above said things. We had a pretty decent turnout… check out the pictures below!

It was also my birthday weekend, and it was celebrated in style. My Aunt Denise and good friend Jess drove from the cold WI to the hot and humid AL. I spent the weekend with them, enjoying lots of good beer, food, margaritas and at times, a shit show. SO much fun – those two always make for a great time. It was a great break and opportunity to relax… I don’t get that much these days. There is always something going on, but I see the benefit of it, especially now that I attempt to help my CM’s get their Life After Americorps figured out. Lots of Dr.’s appts, GED classes and test set-up, interviews, GRE and LSAT tests to schedule and study for, and overall excitement for graduation. Badger 1 has done a lot this year, and although we won’t leave the program as best friends, we definitely will remember how much we learned, grew and accomplished as a team.

Personally, I have also been pretty busy with LAA plans. 2 weeks ago the Unit Leader position opened up for immediate fill. I’ve submitted my application…

I’m extremely hopeful and confident, but unaware of who my competition may be. I know this position is exactly what I want right now, so I am hoping that it will all work itself out. But, I’m not worried… a backup plan of Cali is still set to go, and I know everything happens for a reason. So – that’s all I’ll say about that.

I also have submitted my application for Teach for America. Will hear the first word on that next week. Pretty fun time.

I’m starting to reflect on what we’ve done this year. We’ve been in so many communities, made such small, but meaningful impacts, and also very large impacts. We’ve met SOOOOO many people and whereve we go on the east or gulf coast, we COULD find someone that we’ve worked with. Not to mention all of our friends within the program.

I’ve also done a pretty good job of keeping in touch with friends over the course of the year. Some people I talk to every couple of months, some every day… but we talk.. that’s the key thing. I wish I had more time and energy to stay up all night keeping connected, but… I frick’n love sleep. Deal with it.

Got a lot going on in my head… don’t feel it’s all necessary to share. I’m proud of what I’ve done this year. I’m excited that there is enough interest and support to keep this program going and growing. I hope I can continue to be a part of it.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

First taste of the Pacific

Wow, I don't do so hot at keeping this up-to-date.

Well, first things first.

California was amazing. I didn't know what to expect of the roommates, the area, the weather... anything. But I do know that I cannot wait to get back... if that plan is not altered (I'll get to that).

I didn't get into San Fran until Saturday versus Friday night, because the airlines "crew were late." So I got put up in a hotel in Houston. Nice of them, but I had a hotel reservation in San Francisco where Zac was... not the best night.

I got in on Saturday afternoon, and just headed south to Marina, CA - future home of mine. Zac's 2 roommates are frick'n awesome. We had a blast all week... whether we were having a few drinks, cooking for each other, doing nothing but watching Jersey Shore (ugh) or Teen Mom (a must see), or attempting to eat at the Noodle Bar, or get any kind of food that I wanted (unsuccessfully), we had a great time. I even talked them into buying a kitchen table and chairs. The place is basically mine already.

Zac and I didn't get out and enjoy as much as I think I may have liked to, but the main point of the visit was just that... to visit him. After 8 weeks, all the sights are miniscule relative to the time you just want to spend with each other. I'm such a tool for saying this... a year ago I'd have been making fun of EVERYONE who said this, and probably not talk to them anymore out of annoyance. But, truth be told...

So, I did not get to see San Fran. That's about a 2 hour drive from Marina, 4 hours in total for a day, and getting a hotel was not an option because the money was already spent on that once. Zac and I checked out Monterey and also drove along HWY 1, which goes along the coast of California. We did some trail hiking, and then stopped along the road and chilled at a bitch. And by chilled, I mean dominated some 6+ foot waves. Those things can kick your ass... hell yea!

It was really good to be around each other for so long. We have known each other for just about a year now, and that 9 days was the longest we had spend together (the longest stretch of time that we saw each other on a daily basis). It was awesome.. this is definitely a great thing!

I should have spent a lot more time on my Teach For America application... but I didn't. So I still have to do that. But Zac's boss has offered me a job with the afterschool program - so I've got at least something going for me when/if I make it out there!

I flew out on Sunday.. but when I arrived at the airport they told me my flight left Saturday... wtf Ryan??? So there went another $150 to fly standby. Still got on all the same flights I needed to, just 24 hours later. Idiot.

So... while I was in Cali I found out that 2 staff members from my campus are leaving the organization. That means that the Unit Leader position that I want to apply for in the spring, is now available NOW! The job posted yesterday, and closes in 2 weeks. That means that I have to put together a Federal Resume and do the application online, which consists of about 12 questions. For lack of a desire to explain the federal application proces... I'll just say this is a very time consuming task. But I'm doing it. I believe I am qualified for this position and would suit it very well. And although I had plans to move to Cali for 6 months and relax, gaining more experience for the position (staying fresh), and then applying for it in the spring, if the opportunity is here now, then I must act now. I really do want this... and Zac is supportive of that. It's a great opportunity.. .SO, I am beginning that process. Wish me luck!!

Other than that (aka - my personal life), things on the team are going well. With all of our strong personalities we have not become a family, which is frustrating for many people, including myself. The amazing thing, though, and the point I explain to them, is that we are incredible because we can put our differences aside, and be one of the most functional, effective and effiecient teams in this corps. We don't whine, we get things done, we provide excellent results, and we really do have fun... doing our own thing. I told them today that I am proud of them, because as some teams are winding down and getting anxious to just get done, they still show up, positive attitudes, and their game faces on. This team has come SOOOO damn far. I really am proud of them. It's been a great year... and I hope I have the opportunity to oversee dozens of teams go through this process in the years to come....

Well... we have a lot going on.. so I should get off of here. We are doing a mobile food pantry tomorrow, followed by publicity for our Community Day next weekend, then we're doing a Haunted House ISP on Saturday and I need to not only make it to the beach this weekend, but also get a solid start on my UL application. Still need to connect with friends too... several that I have not talked to in far too long.

Alrighty... with only 34 days left until Graduation... ... ...