Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Next Adventure

So, you may be asking “Gee Jen, you finished FEMA Corps, what’s next?” Well, here’s your answer!

I have recently been accepted to AmeriCorps NCCC in Sacramento this fall as a Corps Member. I still have to fill out the paperwork and dot all the i’s, but if everything goes well, I will start serving in the beginning of October. This means I will not be working with FEMA, but instead will be doing more traditional, hands-on service with non-profits, government agencies, and faith based organizations. Most everything else will be the same; I will still be working and living with a team, earning very little, driving around in a 15 passenger van, and working long hours.

I’m excited and nervous about having a new team. I’m looking forward to starting off on a blank slate, maybe this time I’ll have a smaller team that won’t be obsessed with Mexican food and hot sauce. I’m also positive that I will compare my new team to Pine 4 at some point. What if they don’t eat healthy, and their shopping list doesn’t include 10 cans of beans? What if they don’t name inanimate objects like their van and GPS (Musty and Marva by the way)? But, in the end I know that I will learn to love my new team just as much as Pine Four. Hopefully, my time in FEMA Corps will make the transition a little smoother. For example, I won’t have to adjust to wearing a uniform all the time, or to getting very little sleep. And the prospect of only having $4.75 for food each day doesn’t shock me anymore, I’ve actually figured out a very efficient system for group shopping (take that Duggers!). No matter what, it will be an adventure in a part of the country that I have not gotten to explore before.

As for this summer, I will be doing a combination of visiting family, friends, and WWOOFing. WWOOFing is when you go to an organic farm, work on their farm for a certain amount of time (could be weeks, months, or the whole year), and in exchange the farmers give you room and board. I want to WWOOF not because I plan on working on a farm or owning a farm, but because I want to learn about where my food comes from and gain some skills and experiences that come with farming.

I plan on updating this blog over the summer, and it will continue to be my blog during my NCCC service as well. So, keep checking in, I’ll try and add some photos once I’m home in CT.

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La fin

The past couple of weeks have kept me pretty busy. Memorial Day weekend we went to “Celebration at the Station” in Kansas City. We celebrated with extremely unhealthy food, patriotic music, and fireworks over the World War I museum. It really is a wonderful, and free, event.

Last week we thankfully returned to our original mentors, meaning we had plenty of work overall. However, it was a pretty short work week overall, as our last day of work was May 30th. The night before, we did one final clean of the cabin and packed up the van. Then, on Thursday, we went into work for three hours, handed in our laptops and blackberries, and starting driving to Iowa. After are long hauls to Jersey, the 5-6 hour ride to Iowa seemed like a breeze. There was a bit of confusion when we realized we were driving towards a town with a severe storm warning, but luckily the storm was ahead of us, so we missed any trouble.

Saturday, we completed our second to last service project at a fair in Cedar Rapids. There my team manned the General Mills Cereal Tent. A brilliant idea on General Mills part, kids start off with a blank cereal box, then a plastic liner is put inside (my job), then they get to choose between two types of cereal or mixing them (mixing cocoa puffs and honey nut cheerios was a big hit), then they add candy, have their bag vacuum sealed, put a toy prize in the box, and finally they get to color and decorate their box to make it their own. It was a huge hit, and we were kept working for three hours straight.

This week has been spent completing final debriefs, handing in supplies, and completing final trainings. Our team debrief went beautifully which is a huge relief, summing up two months of service in front of the staff can be stressful at times. We also found out that we will be able to complete a team mural and flag. The mural is in one of the training rooms; our spot is right next to the white board, so I’m excited that when people are bored in future trainings, our mural will be one of the ones they stare at.

Next week, we will have one more service day, as well as our final meetings and some focus groups. Next Wednesday, they will close up are kitchens, and we will be fed as a corps instead. This means, that I have 4 team meals left, which is pretty sad as that is one of my favorite parts of FEMA Corps. This whole year I’ve been spoiled by generally only having to cook once a week, and by eating a variety of meals through my teammates.

Next Thursday, we have our AmeriCorps graduation, and then Friday morning, I will be heading home. So, this adventure is coming to an end. I’ve been reflecting a lot on what this means. Mostly, I anticipate missing my team, and having trouble coping with not having my AmeriFamily around me constantly. For the past ten months, I’ve worked, ate, lived, gossiped, explored, and grown with the same 10 people in my life every single day. I’ve experienced the good and the bad with every single team mate. Luckily, I’ve already experienced a semi-similar situation when I left France, but I’m not looking forward to leaving friends a second time, and I anticipate this time feeling even weirder, even though everyone will be staying in the same country.
Anyway, that pretty much sums up my past couple weeks. Hopefully, when I get home I’ll post some pictures to go with the stories, even though I’m back on Campus, internet is still not good enough to add pictures to my posts.

A plus tard. J