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2004-09-11 - 5:08 p.m.


Greetings from Perry Point, MD! This round of projects is quite different from all of the camp songs, swimming time, and all around silliness of our summer at Double H Ranch. I feel like a real AmeriCorps member again, doing grunt work, putting on the khaki and grey every morning. I think it is a decent way to end a wonderful 10 months of service. Can you believe I have just over 2 months left of my service year? It is amazing how quickly time flies sometimes.

Well, a few weeks ago I returned home to California for a week of vacation. It was really wonderful to spend time with my family and friends, and enjoy beautiful West Coast weather. I went through a strange adjustment period when I first got back though. It was almost as though I felt guilty for being home, seeing loved ones, having fun, when I had spent 10 weeks at Double H with children in very precarious positions. I think I have changed in the last 8 months being out here, living such a simple life. I didn't realize that I had changed in some ways until I returned home. It took me by surprise though, I guess I assummed I had changed a little, but I didn't expect to feel so strange in the surroundings that I am most comfortable in. I almost felt as if I didn't fit in there anymore. I think I will go through a strange post-AmeriCorps period when I am back in CA for the first month or two after the program ends. Anyway, I guess I am rambling, but I just wasn't expecting to feel so funny at home. Regardless of this though, I loved being home, seeing family and friends.

I am looking forward to returning and beginning a teaching credential program. I have sent in an application to Bethany College. It is a really small Christian School near Santa Cruz. I think Bethany would work out better for me than San Jose State because it is close to home and it would be easier to work in with a full-time job. I plan to be busy in the next year. If everything works out I would start at Bethany in May for Summer Classes.

So just about everyone in AmeriCorps is in Florida right now helping out hurricane victims. It is a circus down there! My sources tell me that my team is next on the list to go down to Florida. So if Ivan decides to make his way to the SouthEast United States, I will be down there, working with the Red Cross 16 hours a day for 3 weeks. I feel guilty because I sort of want Ivan to hit the US- I really want to experience doing Disaster Relief. But, if we don't go down to FL, our project on Barren Island will be starting on Sept. 21st and it should be really cool. AmeriCorps is hesitant to send us down for Disaster because Barren Island is an important project and they are really depending on US to lead these teams in planting grass for erosion control. An added bonus is that PBS will be there filming one day! If we do end up going on that project I will let y'all know when to look for me on the TV!

We have one more week of working on the Promenade. I am going to come right out and tell you that I hate that project. I really don't mind the work. It is hard work, in the heat, the sun blazing down on us. What I don't like is working with some of these men on the constructin crew that was hired to oversee the project. There is this one man on the crew who is a complete jerk. Now I try to avoid him, but seriously, he is ridiculous. NO one on my team tries to act like we are professional carpenters, we take direction very well, we are honestly on the project to HELP THEM. This particular gentleman takes it upon himself to very rudely and bluntly tell us (especially me, I fell) when we are doing something wrong, or not up to his "professional" standards. It was really getting on my nerves last week and put be in a fowl mood for days. I broke a drill bit when we were laying decking last Tuesday and I had to hold back tears because I KNEW this guy would be unkind about it and I didn't want to deal with it. I am realizing now how wonderful and sweet our site supervisor, George was at Camp Norwich during our first project round. George was awesome. This guy is not.

So I have decided that the next time he bothers me or says anything unkind I am going to say, (sarcastically) "Have you ever considered being a motivational speaker? Because your comments really make me feel GREAT about myself and abilities. In fact, because you have been SO kind and helpful the past 3 weeks I've decided that I want to become a professional carpenter, just like you. So we can spend LOTS of time toghether!"

Okay, so maybe I won't say this to him. But I entertain myself as I am laboring with the screw gun, or hammering in hurricane clips by thinking up witty comebacks to various unpleasant exchanges I might face with this person.

I just returned from the Annapolis area. I went and did an ISP there for the MS Challenge walk. There are over 400 people walking 50 miles in 3 days! The walkers had to raise at least $1,500 to participate. We (me, elsa, bama, and paula) volunteered today. We drove up yesterday afternoon and stayed at the YMCA base camp with the walkers. We were in this dilapitated shack of a cabin... but by now we are used to sleeping in strange places, so it was no big deal. I think the MS Society had more volunteers than they knew what to do with. Today the walkers were doing 20 miles, so they have various pit stops and rest stops set up along the trail/route. Our job was to drive in our minivan (I was the driver) to the different stops and pick up any injured walkers along the way. Well, there were no injured walkers, and half of the walk was on a trail, inaccessible to vehicles! So there wasn't much for us to do. So we ended up making ourselves a cheering section on wheels. I would beep the horn repeatedly, while my passengers whooped, hollered, and waved at the walkers we saw on the side of the road. I think they liked us. Then around lunch time we delivered pizzas and other goodies to the volunteers working 3 of the other rest stops. The best part was that we didn't really know where we were going, and our directions were not the best, so you can imagine what fun that was. But we ended up getting the pizzas where they needed to go.

I really like the idea of doing one of those "walks" sometime. Raising money for a good cause and then walking and challenging yourself to support it. Maybe my Mom would want to do one now. She's all buff and cute now becasue she has been going to Curves for over a year. My hot little mama. Ok it is settled my Mom and I are going to do a cancer walk or something at some point in the future. She just doesn't know it yet. And I will be asking all of you for donations. haha!

I have been so tired and boring lately. I haven't done a whole lot in my spare time. Our work day starts at 6:30 AM so we can beat the heat on the promenade. SO I wake up at 5:30.... thus putting bedtime at around 10 pm. Plus, I think I am still trying to get energy back from all the sleepless nights and hard work up at camp. whew. that was a crazy summer. But I am glad I had it.

Hopefully if we don't go to Florida the Barren Island thing will be cool, and I hope I get up to NYC for a weekend.

Anyhow, I should go now. Hope all is well! Send e mails!

Health and Happiness



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