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Archive for February, 2010

Too Long

Sorry I haven’t written for quite a while. We have limited internet access, but the last two weeks have been full of training and team bonding.

All the snow has melted here so it much easier to walk around and enjoy the property we live on.

Last week we had red cross training, diversity training, safe places for children and a few team bonding activities and meetings. We were assigned to a new team last Wednesday and it was odd at first because our first team was so close, but were are getting along well now and enjoying each other. Everyone on my team are from such different backgrounds and areas it’s going to be a fabulous and wild year.

Last weekend I headed up to Delaware to go out with some friends and brought one of my roommates with me. It was so nice going out and dancing. Saturday morning we headed up to Philadelphia to go sightseeing. I was surprised by the gorgeous architecture of the buildings downtown the unique lay-out of the city. I saw the LOVE statue, South Street, game pieces garden, Magic Gardens, Independence Hall, Philadelphia Museum of Art and Penn campus and bars.

I was blown away by the modern and impressionist collection at the art museum. There were some beautiful classics from Van Gogh, Monet and Degas and some inspiring new work from Several Modern artists.

While traveling down South Street I felt like I was in a different country. There were so many odd, quaint shops selling trinkets, records, retro clothes and delicious food. We stumbled across the Magic Gardens, which is a building and an empty lot that a local artist has filled with mosaics. It was gorgeous, full of color, statues and inspiration. I had my first Philly Cheese steak and decided I didn’t love them. I also had a Philly taco which is a cheese steak wrapped in a piece of pizza, too much, but interesting.  

This week we had communicating peacefully, CPR and first aide, van driver training and healthy habits seminars and training. The CPR and Frist Aide training was probably my favorite because I knew I was learning important life skills that could be used at any time to help a person in need. 

Yesterday I did an ISP (independent service project) with team temp at Elk Head, a state park in Maryland. It was great being with my original team again. The weather was great and it was lovely working outside on a project that we got to see from start to finish. We built some gradual steps under an information sign for a light house. The material we used were recycled plastic 2X4s we cut up into different sized pieces and cut notches into to stack like lincoln logs, then we filled it with gravel. I used some power tools like a skill saw, which I thoroughly loved. The work went by fast and we worked together so well. After we had a team dinner at a local mom and pop cafe. 

Tuesday we are heading to Delaware for our mini-spike, so tomorrow we will spend it getting ready. We are doing infrastructure work at a state park and staying in cabins together. This will be our first team experience living, working, sleeping, traveling and cooking together. We’ll see how it goes…

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I have officially been in Americorps for one week now and I’m beginning to learn what I will be doing this upcoming year. We were introduced to teams, went through in-processing paperwork and had the most thorough physical known to man.

On Tuesday and Wednesday the sky opened up and dumped more snow than any Marylander has ever seen so several things screeched to a halt in the state including our training. Delaware and Maryland declared a state-wide emergency for two days.

The biggest challenge of the week was shopping for a weeks worth of groceries in one hour with exactly $381 for 11 people. It sounded much easier than it actually was.

I was able to get out on Thursday and explore the towns around my campus and get a feeling for where I live. I couldn’t be more pleased to be in such a historical, beautiful and political part of the country.

All 212 of us are living in an old VA hospital, which I am hoping is haunted. I am in a room with eight other girls, so the best way to describe this experience thus far is a colorful mix between college, summer camp and hostel life.

This Saturday six of us squished in Joey’s Buick and rumbled up to Washington DC. Andrea and I stayed at a friends penthouse in Chevy Chase feeling like Queens. The next day we met the crew at the mall and explored the American History Museum, Natural History Museum, National Art Gallery contemporary side and the glowing White House. Oh and how can I forget the delicious soul food on Howard University campus.

After sitting through several seminars and team meetings I feel this year is going to be challenging and rewarding, full of repetition and modification. I am thrilled and ready for this journey!

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