Impromptu Family

Have met so many cool people. Meeting new people daily still, but beginning to recognize a lot of people around campus. Getting to know everyone slowly. It’s a really great group of people who are all very internally motivated and hardworking.

We were all falling asleep at lecture today, though.

5:30 am yoga this morning, and then a full day of activities until 6 as usual.

I made dinner last night with Tony- we made mushroom, pea and chick pea curry for twelve people and it was so good. Then after that we all went over to the open mike night, where one of our teammates did an awesome job singing.

I went out the other night with Clint, this guy from Missouri who lived in an intentional community last year. We each bought a tiny pitcher, and then later the bartender called us outside. Actually, I just happened to glance over and he was motioning to us. All the locals at the bar were like, “Oh no, have to go to the office.”

And outside, he’s really quiet. Pacing back and forth then says, “We’ve got some extra hot dog buns leftover from our barbecue. There’s a little park about three miles down the road. They have geese and ducks and a little picnic area. Would you want to take your teammates out and feed the geese?”

And we’re like, sure! And then a homeless man comes up to us, and the bartender grabs a few dollars out of his pocket and hands it to the man along with a cigarette and tells the man good luck. Then we go back inside and the bartender buys us free drinks.

Really rough bar, but really welcoming environment.

I went back the next day because I had lost my phone, which is now found, but the bartender was back to being a man of little words and barely speaking. Just told me the bread would be waiting for us in the freezer whenever we want to come get it.

Took a driving test yesterday with the 15 passenger van. That was a little nerve wracking. But now I am one of four people on my team who are certified to drive.

We all took turns driving, the four of us, and I was last. The girl who went first, super zen Jess, had a person walk out right in front of her in the middle of the road. Right when we was going past on a busy street. It was terrifying and unbelievable. She handled it really calmly, but everyone in the car was a little shocked. When it was my turn, I had barely any time on the roads before I got on the interstate. And then there was construction. Most people just have five minutes and were on and off without construction, but I had to merge about 6 or 7 times with rapid fire different directions from two people and drive for 10 minutes on the interstate with a solid concrete wall right next to me. I would probably say that was the most challenging experience I’ve had since I’ve been here. In a car with new friends who are still basically strangers, but we’ve got our lives in one another’s hands now. We have to call out to the people in the back to “check our right/left” when we change lanes, as we’re not used to the blind spots yet.

Last night we had a lovely, lovely roommate chat about life and feminism.  I didn’t even start the conversation, I walked into it when I got home that night. Then we made and drank smoothies and watched Emma Watson’s UN speech. Do you remember that fortune I got from the woman back home at the psychic shop? About how I would meet two people who would be very different from me, and we would all approach the world in different ways but be really eye opening for one another? I think that’s these girls. We are three different extremes, and it doesn’t seem like we should get along at all in real life. But we’re becoming sisters after just a week of sharing a room together.

Also our teams- they’re not on my team, but we talked about how we are falling in love with our teams. When we initially got our teams, it didn’t seem that important. But the more you get to know people, the more intriguing and comfortable and fun they become. And everyone’s little personalities start shining and you figure out how we all fit into our preordained group. We do everything together, but are still really social with everyone else here.

Yesterday I went with the roomies and D and S to Taco Bell on our lunch break. We sat in the booth eating, and then this girl came up wearing the same uniform as us. She works for a local organization tied to us, and she got all our information and took a groupie with us. Then she texted us the picture and the information for the chilren’s home were she works, so we can go and volunteer with her.

Two night ago we had duty, and had to clean the common area from 7:30p til 11p. That day was nonstop from 5:30a-11p. I am still recovering from that. Hence the fruit smoothies.

We have a little gym on our first floor, where I ran last night since I didn’t have time to go out during the day. Yesterday it rained, which was a really big deal. I think it only lasted for a few hours, but they haven’t had rain in months so it was really important.

I’m on lunch break right now, so I’m going to get back to the powerpoint world now. But I’ll write more later, and see Mom and Pop Saturday.

Also, along with my fortune from a month ago- she told me I would be in a concrete jungle in the middle of a desert. I think I might just have to give her a call and let her know she’s got a talent.

I have not stopped all day.

So right after I got back from Starbucks with Tony, who showed up right after I got there, we had a birthday party for one of the members of my team.

Then I went for a jog. The best jog of my life- the dry heat beating down on my skin and the sweat evaporating immediately. I was just as dry when I started my hour long run in 90 degree weather as when I started.

After the jog I stretched and did sit ups and pushups. Then I headed back to change into uniform, no time for showers, just went straight to our first project. About forty of us went to the city fair and helped take it down after it was over. We got free pizza and arm strength.

I met a girl on the bus there- we got along really well. She told me all about her study abroad experience in Cape Town, South Africa. NUMBER ONE FOR THE DAY. She never went anywhere alone, and she never had any problems while there.

Then I met another girl from Chicago while we were tearing down the tents. Ended up in a circle of girls who didn’t know each other, and we all turned out to be vegetarian. Everyone is vegetarian here.

After we got back from the project I changed into sweats and joined the yoga class going on in the grass outside. They ended up doing partner yoga which was pretty awkward, I much prefer solo yoga.

After yoga we had a team meeting. I made tea for my roommates. And then checked out the library upstairs and got Miller and Hemingway. Met one of my teammates up there, and she randomly starts telling my about her study abroad experience in South Africa. NUMBER TWO FOR THE DAY.

Then my roommate shared this amazing Chinese eggplant dish with me, Cantonese. AMAZING. THE BEST THING.

So simple, so sweet, so flavorful and so healthy. I’m going to that restaurant tomorrow and stocking up.

My roommate is originally from China, but she moved to the US when she was 7 and got residency here. She told me her life story tonight, a lot a lot a lot to talk about, China in the 90’s. Crazy shit. Her family is outlaws and not allowed to come back, but her residency card for Shanghai is worth 10,000 dollars if she ever wants to sell it.

SO much stuff to talk about.

And then my other roommate got back and invited us out to a bar down the street. THE bar.

It was actually really cool. I ordered my drink last, and the bartender called me back. He wouldn’t let me leave a tip. He said he knows how much we make and that it isn’t much, and he’d much rather have our business than our tips. He’d much rather us have money to come back to keep his business alive. Really sweet. A lot of rough guys in leather jackets there, my roommate was telling me how it reminded her of Shanghai, she grew up in the poor area, and how there is something beautiful about rough people. Not all rough people, but you should never pass a judgment just by the culture someone grew up in.

She moved to South Africa for a year (NUMBER THREE FOR THE DAY) when she was seven, and then on to the US after that.

She trusts leather jackets much more than intellectuals, she said.

I told her that I usually fall into the other camp- trusting the sociopathic intellectuals.

She’s really interesting and has a lot of life experiences that I am so excited to hear about but have no time now to write about.

The bar was pretty fun, the guy I went out with last night showed up with the group we were going with. Met a few other people and this other guy who “only trusts drifters” kept pointing out my very obvious hipster life choices.

And then my other team members showed up, and it was a little party.

Which i promptly left with Shanghai roommate after we finished our drink. So that we could go back to our room and drink tea, read books and journal.

And now I’m pretty convinced South Africa is calling me in a weird way.

We had hard boiled eggs in our sink this morning.

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