Oh P.S.

I really love Charles and Linda. They are both so wonderful.

Modpodge of Goodness.

Saturday, June 28
Michelle and I are up, eating yum brekky of mini wheats for me and oatmeal for her, and watching Hannah Montana. We both got up at 7:30 and guess what. Today is Saturday. Isn’t that pathetic. We sort of laughed when we saw each other and looked upon the time.
Two weeks of camp are over, and I feel like a ton has happened since I last wrote.
Last Saturday, we all (minus Kara because she wasn’t here) went over to Russ’ and Sarah’s. We got there, jumped in the lake, floated about
for a while (though I usually can’t handle the cold) and then went inside and talked for a while. We talked about books and food and Sarah told me that she has trouble sleeping so Russ reads to her each night. They have been reading aloud to one another since they got married (!!!!!!!!!!). That is just very wonderful, I think. They have such a wonderful relationship. Russ is so caring and Sarah has such a fun and strong personality. She also lectured us on the importance of going to theee…eh hem…womenaly doctor, if you get my drift. I feel like they are both grandparents to me while I am here. I just really appreciate how much they care for the interns.
After we talked, Sarah had gotten the fixin’s for a DELICIOUS SALAD!!!!!! And we ate it. And it had strawberried, spinach, romaine lettuce, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, oranges, kiwis, cucumbers, and maybe a few other delightful toppings. It was so good. Then afterward we had ice cream and watched the movie ‘Big Money,” which was okay. It was pretty good only because I really like Diane Keaton, Queen Latifa, and Katei Holmes from Dawson’s Creek.
We woke up on Sunday and did not go to church, but instead had some quiet time which was very nice. That afternoon it started to storm (surprise, surprise) so we called Luther, who had invited us to his house, to see if he still wanted us to come. He did!
And guess what. We got there, put our swimsuits on, got in the water, and 20 minutes later the sun came out and it was warm and gorgeous! I rode one of the two Sea Doos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And then I successfully water skied!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT!!!!!!!! I am so mega talented, but even I had several whip outs which were quite painful. One even gave me the worst (or best) weggie I had ever had in my entire life. I though for sure I would just pull my swimsuit out of my mouth it was so far up yonder there. One time when I crashed, I sort of face planted my self in the water, and I felt like lake water had gone waaaaaaaaaaaaaay down in my eyeball socket. But my contact was still intact!!!!!!!!!!!!

:::I have to comment on this photo. Nick the cat it so elusive and he esacepes me all the time. Plus, he is foul and mean. And mysterious.:::

I woke up on Monday really, really tired. But 10 or so of the kids were absent, so Monday was easy peasy. No big D. It was relaxing, and I felt like I really had the chance to spend good time with my kids, without having to yell at them.
THEN BLACK TUESDAY occurred, which is the day the kids were very bad and the interns were very woe begotten and even sad and everyone was in low spirits indeed. We were all so frustrated. At one point, a boy for which I have almost nil patience was looking at me with a balloon in his mouth (when I had told him twice to not touch the balloons) and I told him to give me the balloon right now. He just raised his eyebrows and said “No.” real nasty-like. I said it once more, same response, then I just looked down, knew I was about to cry, and left my TA with the kids and took a walk. I think I was tired, overwhelmed, and stressed out. I normally would not cry when such a thing happens, as it happens often with kids in general, but this one boy. mMMMMMmMMMmM, he pushed my buttons. But Wednesday was better, Thursday very good, and Friday very good. On Thursday, we planned some really special things for the kids. We had an hour and a half where they went to three different stations outside: dodge ball, drip drip drench (where the kids sit in a circle and play duck, duck, goose except with a cup of water and they drip, drip, drip, drip DRENCH! And run around) and then Michelle and I were at a station where they made goop (which Bryan insists has an official name and it is “INSERT LAME NAME HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”) and I painted their faces (most popular requests: kitty nose and whiskers, doggy spots around eyes slash doggy nose, black widow with a red hourglass in the middle of the body, spider web and spider, butterfly, and dog).
Then on Friday we had a woman who trains service dogs come in and talk to them and show them what the dogs are trained to do. The kids were very patient and respectiful; I was so surprised. There were two dogs—a golden retriever that reminded me SO MUCH OF ALLY that I felt a bit sad because I wanted to pet him but I couldn’t because he is a service dog and you can’t pet service dogs but alas, I shall petski Ally in 2 weeks so all is good on the Ally missing front, and a yellow lab. The kids asked really funny questions:
Allyisia: HOW COME THAT DOGGIE (yellow lab, still a puppy and in an earlier stage of training) GETS TWO TREATS AND THAT PUPPY DOESN’T EVEN GET ANY?

Mollie: So, I know you said you pick up the….when a dog goes to the bathroom you pick it up with that baggie but…what do you do with the liquid? (i.e. the woman had showed us how she picks up the dog’s poo in a little baggie, and Mollie was confused about how that worked with the dog’s pee.)

Many kids: Can he roll over? Can he play dead?

Jeremy, sitting in my lap and whispering to me after the woman told them MANY TIMES that the dog doesn’t do “parlor tricks” like roll over, play dead: Can he jump? Do you think that dog can jump?

After that, we had them come into the cafeteria, and by tables, they came up to some long tables at which we had stations for them to make….

You just have milk, sugar, vanilla in a wee bag, and put that small sandwich bag inside of a gallon size bag that has ice and rock salt in it. Then you shake the bag (i.e. churn the ice cream) and we had delicious toppings for them to choose from: chocolate chips, Oreos, and sprinkles. With 40-something kids, this was quite the feat. There was water everywhere, and 4 or 5 of the kids had taken their milk/sugar/vanilla ingredients and poured them onto their ice and rock salt. That obviously does not work, but it was funny nonetheless. They made new ones.
Then Michelle and I are the only ones home now, because Bre and Amanda went home for the weekend (Mom’s birthday), Ashlyn went home for the weekend, and Kara is still home from her week off. So Michelle and I went over to Charles and Lindas and had dinner (YUMMMMMMY grilled salmon with a delicious caper sauce, steamed broccoli, and a salad with spinach, carrots, homemade dressing, sunflower seeds, and some other delicious ingredients) and then we had ice cream and watched the movie “The Guardian.” It was quite good, but sad.
Some cool things about camp, to note:

We have decided to work our hardest to write a grant for money so that we can prepare our own menu for the kids next summer. I think I already wrote about how frustrated I am with the food (see above. Lunches = nasty soggy sandwich, potato chips, sugary fruit cup, chocolate milk while brekky = sugary cereals, always fruit loops, lucky charms, or trix). We are starting now, because the deadline is August 1. Michelle and I are researching and emailing people today, so I think we’ll start out strong.

We had a group of 4th grade boys who were giving us a lot of problems the first week of camp. Michelle was really frustrated (she leads that group) so we decided to try something new: They asked two of the boys, the two leaders of the group, if they would help out in the second grade classroom. They said that Bre and Amanda needed some help. So the boys accepted, and jumped on the chance to serve us. They asked what they could do, and now want to help out everyday. It’s funny, because it was really just a way to separate the boys and to sort of punish them. Instead, they have taken it as an honor, which is what we wanted, and now they are really showing great leadership in the camp.
We implemented “Mission: Treasure Box” on Wednesday. We have a treasure box and we award one, two, or three good neighbors the chance to pick something out of the treasure box each day. IT HAS WORKED WONDERS. One of our most challenging boys got to pick yesterday! Everyone is holding doors open for each other, and reporting to us ways that they are being good neighbors. Isn’t that wonderful?

We have all talked about that we want to come back.
OUR NEW YORK TRIP IS WORKING OUT!!! I don’t know if I reported this or not, but we all want to go to New York. Michelle’s g-parents have one week free (well, practically free) anywhere she wants to go, because they travel so much that they get these. And they had one week this year that they are not using! Also, Amtrack tickets are cheap because we are ordering them so early!!! So we are thinking we will go to see the Christmas lights, from maybe the 18-23. That way, We can get back on 23rd. and I can drive home on the 24th!!!!! Isn’t that awesome? So all in all, traveling plus lodging for a week would be about 90 dollars each!! Yay!

I am, I am certain, in love with the weekends. Right now, I just worked out for 45 minutes at the Y and Michelle and I are sitting in a wee cafĂ©, sipping tea. I feel my lifestyle, the last three weeks, is exactly how I want to live when I am on my own. Work out, with a friend, on my own, or with my snog partner, drink lots of tea, enjoy the sunshine, spend time outside…it is all so wonderful.
I love it!


One Week of camp down.

Friday, June 20
Okay for the most part I am feeling better about camp. I have had a few really great interactions with kids to help ease my worry about hoping this is more than just a low budget summer camp for them.
First of all, I got a little emotional when I saw (again) all the kids reading with their reading buddies. The kids are actually very excited when we put books out on the tables for them to read after lunch or after snack. I read with a boy named Mathew today, a book called...”Two to Grow on” or something like that. It is so awesome to see the adults next to them, with one arm around the child, helping them read. It really is just wonderful. I love it a lot.
Additionally, a boy in class today was being SO SO SO bad. He was ignoring what I was telling him (which, by the way, seems to be a trend among many of the kids because many of them have learning disabilities, while most of them have issues at home) standing on the chair, rolling on the ground and whining and so on and so forth. So, the rest of the class (including me and Kara) sat at our desks and passed around the talking sticks and answered the two questions “What can we do to make Isaiah feel better?” and “How does it make you feel when Isaiah does not want to be a part of our group?” The kids had great answers, thinking that if we told jokes or as Norah suggested “invited Isaiah over to play video games and then he could be my friend” or even play with him more, he would be happy.
Then, they said that when Isaiah didn’t want to be a part of our group, it made them sad, angry, and even a little hurt. It was really cool to see that they were able to discuss how they felt, even though they are really only 6 years old, and they also wanted to hear how all their peers felt, what their ideas were. It was really neat.
I feel a little bit on emotional overload, though. I have been hearing a lot of stories about abuse and poverty from the kids. It is too sad to bear. I love my kids—the first graders (along with the others, but especially my class)—and to think of any of them being abused or witnessing abuse or seeing their fathers leave or stealing the key to the pantry and getting caught and into a lot of trouble. It just makes me so sad.
Oh, so funny: one of my favorite kids, named Foster, looked at a weed that a girl from camp had brough in and he was staring at it, crosseyed-like, and asked “WHAT IS THIS? WHAT IS THIS? LIKE, SOME KIND OF BABY CHRISTMAS TREE?”
It was too cute.
I feel like I can never concentrate because the girls are always distracting me. They put in “When Harry met Sally.” What do they expect? Of course I can’t journal when this is on—it’s on my “Top 5 Favorite” movies list. Duh.
Today we let some of the kids pie us in the face. It was messy and gross and we smelled like soiled milk the rest of the day. My stomach has been upset since the beginning of the week, FYI. So I didn’t eat a lunch today, instead I packed one and it was quite delciiuos: PBJ, roasted garlic Triscuits, and half an apple. So, I am hoping that if I stop eating the freaky school lunches (WHICH AS I SAID IS PERFECTLY FINE FOR KIDS BUT NOT FOR GROWN ADULTS AND BLOSSOMING WOMEN) then maybe my stomach will start feeling better.
I think I will break for now. I have such a low attention span right now.
Talk to you soon. <3


Wednesday, June 18
It has become quite hard for me to summon the energy to sit down and journal, because I have taken to writing Syda letters, which is secretly my one love of life. It is my favorite thing. And yesterday, whenst I arrived home from camp, there was a letter taped to our door (which has happened once before—from Linda and Charles…) so everyone screamed, ran out of the van, and rushed to get the letter. Everyone was quite sad to find it was for…MOI! Wee!
It was probably the best letter from Syda in the whole entire world. I just love her so much. SO I am going to finish her letter after this, but first I am making myself update you all camp-wise.
Today was the third day of camp, which is actually hard to believe. Now, I am drinking chai tea and reflecting on this statement. I have been thinking about camp a lot, actually, just not writing my thoughts down. I have talked to Bryan, and to the other interns. Here are the problems I am having:
I am having a hard time making this feel like camp, not like school. We are in an elementary school, limited supplies with which to work (i.e. we don’t have outdoor activities, large open field that the kids could frolick through…), and our curriculum in centered around reading, writing, and learning in general. I love learning, don’t get me wrong. It’s just hard to separate learning from school.


I have been struggling with implementing the peaceful resolution slash universal values part of the camp. It’s making me feel a bit guilty and sort of like a failure. Upon further investigation and further reflection, I have come to the conclusion that just having adults there who care about the kids and college aged young women who care about each other and about the kids is doing a lot for the kids. They probably rarely get to spend time with women who are in college and who are interested in their well being. And who are good role models. You know? So I feel privileged to be able to share time with them. And to show them that I care about them and that I am, in fact, a good neighbor.

On that note, the simple fact that these kids would otherwise be at home, probably alone, through the summer is reason enough to recognize the success of this camp. The kids are starting to really love reading time. This is great because not only are they reading (WHICH IS AWESOME) they are also spending time with caring adults who are there solely to spend one-on-one time with the children.

Also, they are getting fed. I don’t think the food is the absolute best or most nutritious (i.e. ham with pores and that looks like a brain, potato chips, and fruit cups, oh and chocolate or plain milk) but I do think that it is filling them up and for kids, the lunch is great. Even though Bry thinks I am being a big baby for not wanting to eat the freaky ham or potato chips again, I know that I require different nutrients (as a 20 year old almost-adult) than what a child requires. It is a simple fact. I am not some freaky person type thing that eats weird food. I need some good stuff to sustain me whilst I am working with my kiddies.

I just got interrupted because I had to search for the name of the city in northern Quito where I was living last summer. COTOCOLLOA!!!! Duh. I could not think of that for the past 3 days. It was so annoying.

Anyway. Additionally, I am just needing to relax at camp and I am spending his weekend trying to learn some more camp songs. Why haven’t I don’t this before? I love camp songs.

I feel very space-ey now because Amanda’s computer is playing songs and everyone is talking and I am just having trouble concentrating.

But all in all, the first three days have been good. I can feel myself each day getting a little impatient with the other interns. I just don’t like feeling like I am the only one yelling at the kids (even though I know I am not), and feeling like I can’t enjoy my time with them because I am the only one enforcing order and non-chaos (which I ALSO know I am not). But all these things are the result of feeling like we need to have a calm and controlled atmosphere. Which, in the aforementioned paragraph, I have already vowed to relax more. So I think letting go of my need to have order (which I THINK is the result of my previous camp. Because I was working with my boss and my boss’ boss, so I always felt like I needed to have control of the situation to show competence. You know? Mess’t up, yo’.) will help with everything.

Oh how fun! We are planning the funnest (which isn’t even a word) day in the whole world. Fridays are officially VAIR FUN FRIDAYS!!! This Friday is Water Day. We are going to have pie contests (where you have to find the hidden gummi worm), water balloon toss, bobbing for apples, water relays, etc. It will be very fun. I am excited because it will be outside, and the kids will be running around. Oh, and freezie pops for snack!!!!! Horray!
Okay, love you all.
I have to finish Syda’s letter.



Pain and Suffering to Those Who Put Off Journaling For Five Days. Pooo.

Sunday, June 15
I haven’t written in quite some time, yes? It feels like time has been flying. Wednesday we got our neat-o blue polo type shirts which we will be wearing to camp everyday, and when we finished up our movie, guess what happened.
We were all infected with this virus type thing called “Spend Mass Amounts of Time Learning Dance Moves From High School Music-itus.” We decided to use “We’re All In This Together” as out closing song for camp. The lyrics are as follows:
Together, together, together everyone
Together, together, come on lets have some fun
Together, were there for each other every time
Together together come on lets do this right
Here and now its time for celebrationI finally figured it out (yeah yeah)
That all our dreams have no limitations
That's what its all about Everyone is special in their own way
We make each other strong (each other strong)
Were not the same Were different in a good way
Together's where we belong We're all in this together
Once we know
That we are
We're all stars
And we see that
We're all in this together
And it shows
When we stand Hand in hand
Make our dreams come true
Together, together, together everyone
Together, together, come on lets have some fun
Together, were there for each other every time
Together together come on lets do this right
So we learned some dance moves, we’re crazy like six crazy things that had overdosed on crazy tablets. We woke up the next day, tired and groggy, to go to a seminar type thing with tow teachers from Moneta Elementary. They talked to us about how loving the kids was far more important than making sure there was complete order in the classroom. One piece of advice we got was to remove the child from his or her peers if there was a discipline situation, talk to the child, and instead of getting angry or yelling, we should express our disappointment. They were two crazy teachers. They each had been teaching 5th grade for over 30 years, and they just loved their job.
We had delicious lasagna delivered for us. Writing now, I can’t remember what else we did with our day. I guess we probably worked out at the Y, which is always a great time.
On Friday, we had a reading workshop with a language specialist at Moneta Elementary. She was so helpful and so great at speaking! She was well prepared for us—she had folders for each of us, a power point, and activities planned. She talked about the importance of encouraging kids, getting them books that are in their grade level, and the differences we will see between first, second, third, and fourth graders. It was really neat:
Preliterate and emergent readers (typically Pre-K and early kindergarten) are just learning directionality (which way to hold the book and reading from left to right), pretent read and write, and have very little speech to print matching abilities (i.e. they don’t undertand that each group of letters equals one word).
Beginning readers (typically late K through 1st graders) are not fluent readers, meaning they concentrate so hard on each word, they are not able to grasp the entire meaning of the passages (i.e. they have pretty weak comprehension due to concentration on decoding each word).
Then you have transitional readers (typically 2nd-3rd graders) who are just beginning to read silently and are approaching fluency and higher levels of comprehension.
She also gave us some statistics on the communities with which we will be working:
About 60% of the students at Moneta Elementary receive free or reduced lunches.
According to the United States Department of Labor, more that 25% of the U.S.’s adult population cannot read or write.
About 40% of 4th graders do not read well enough to perdorm at grade-level.
33% of 4th graders from college educated families nation-wide are poor readers.
Isn’t that just sad?
I am so excited to read with my kids. Hearing this woman talk, I have been thinking about what it would be like to study linguistics, language pathology, or reading. She has her master’s in education with a focus on reading, and she works with adults (educating them on the importance of reading and the most effective way to connect with their kids) and kids (helping to improve their reading abilities. I would really enjoy working with kids and hopefully learning to love reading as much as I do. Also, I really enjoyed leanring about different theories and methods of teaching. I REALLY liked it. Possible career path? Yes.
Lastly, she gave us a few hints on working with kids while reading: flagging words they do not know, repetitive readings, sounding out words, making SURE the child is reading a book that is at her or his grade level (encouragement is the most important part of being a mentor and helping the kids love reading. They will not like something that frustrates them or makes them feel dumb. Even if the book is too easy, the child will feel success and want to read more. Yay!)
Kara and I laughed the entire day and this is why:
Kara woke up and said:
“Sarah, look at my hair.”
At first, it just looked a bit puffy because I was not wearing my glasses. Then as I put on my glasses, I started laughing because this is what Kara had slept with her hair wet and this is what she looked like:
It was vair vair vair amusant.
Friday night we held a meeting at Burnt Chimney Elementary (the first elementary school at which we will be working) and met some of the parents and children. Whilst observing the families of mainly boys (i.e. two families that had 4 boys only), I notices that they were all pretty ill behaved. I am most nervous for the behavioral part of this camp. I know that curriculum-wise, we have it all figured out; at the cabin, we are all getting along REALLY well; in the community, they love us. Just, at the camp…I worry about keeping the kids occupied and having them respect us, you know? For dinner, we went to a couple’s house. They are “The Tennies.” Their house was really nice, the food was delicious (I HAD MY VERY FIRST SWEET POTATO CASEROLE! DO DELICIOUS! Plus some pork loin,. Salad (WITH DELICIOUS GRAPEFRUIT AND ALMONDS AND ORANGES IN IT!) and some broccoli and some bread. For dessert I had mint chocolate chip ice cream. Yum.) and they took us out on a boat. I feel that as six young ladies, we are not ALWAYS so good at the “interacting with older people” type thing. It is usually quite funny, but this dinner lasted until 10:30 in the P to the M so we had a lot of time for weird silences.
Yesterday was awesome. We woke up late (our morning session was moved to later in the day), ate breakfast, and went to the church around noon. We had a session with a young lady named Monique, who previously worked in the writing dept. at Virginia Tech. She talked to us about effective ways to get the kids excited about reading, different ways to bind a book (because they will be “writers” for a half hour each day, creating their own stories and books) and about ways that we can write reflectively. She said to breathe, observe, analyze, and try again. ALSO, so goodski, she talked about the importance of basically ignoring grammatical mistakes during our camp. We are here to connect the students to one another and to their writing through compliments and encouragement. We want them to express themselves. She had asked us some question at the beginning of our session which required us to tell her some stories about our time here so far. Then she said, “What would you have done if I listening to your story, then said ‘good story, but your use of ‘you’re’ was really incorrect and I found myself bored toward the end and blah blah blah?’ That would have been just rude.” And she’s right. We want the kids to enjoy expressing themselves, not feel discouraged because we correct them. It’s their story to tell, not ours to critique. Additionally, she told us that so many times, professors get it wrong. They should not be saying “good paper, but this was wrong and this was wrong and this you didn’t do right AT ALL!” They should be saying “I really enjoyed THIS! Give me more of this!” I completely agree. She was really encouraging and wonderful and I like Monique. She also invited us to go to her workplace, which is at this nonprofit craft school for adults and she said we could come take classes and be teacher’s aides for a day during the weekend. We all are really excited. On the way home, I freaked out, made Kara turn around, and rescued a turtle from the middle of the road soit wouldn’t be squashed. We put in in the Lunsford’s pond whenst we returned. We also named it “Penelope. IT WAS SO CUTE. It just kept peeping out of its shell with its cute little eyes. I think it wanted to wave its cute little foothandtypething at me, but it was a bit shy.
THEN WE GOT BACK AND FINALLY COOKED DINNER FOR CHARLES AND LINDA! That has been my most favorite thing of all. It was delicious: Pan seared pork chops, home made mac and cheese, biscuits, a delicious salad with mushrooms and strawberries, and brownies, ice cream, and homemade chocolate syrup for desert.
Then, we drove to Roanoke and saw Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers in concert at a bar called 202 Market Street bar. It was really awesome, he was really good, and we had a ton of fun. The bad thing was, in the room Stephen was playing, people were seated and eating and stuff. So everyone else had to watch from the back of the room. Then, for the last two songs, I went to the front (followed by the rest of the girls!!!) and we danced and danced and it was so fun.
Afterward we went to the Roanoke star which is this huuuuge star in the mountains that is all illuminated. It was really cool.
This is such a long post! Serves me right for not journaling for a while. Lame-o I am.
This morning we went to Josh’s church (Epworth Methodist) and it was really awesome. They recognized us and said we were doing God’s work. Which was scary. But cool.
I like Josh. His wife is so beautiful and HIS KIDS ARE SO CUTE OMG. Three girls.
I think that’s it. Now, we are using the ‘net at Russ’ house and are about to go swimming. Also, TOMORROW IS THE FIRST DAY OF CAMP OMGOMGOMGOHMGOTTENHIMMEL!
Love you all. Happy Father’s Day. I got one tear at the thought of everyone being together at home for el dia de los padres ‘cept me. It’s okay. I texted him, yo.


The Hair Cuttery.

Wednesday, June 11

We are about to watch a movie, but small update:
This morning we got up and go re-fingerprinted. Then we had a meeting with Russ and Charlotte, both members of the curriculum team. We presented our curriculum and GUESS WHAT…
…THEY LOVED IT! Charlotte said that in her years of teaching and mentoring, all her student teachers were never this creative or efficient. She loved our ideas, and she was impressed by us IMMENSELY.
Isn’t that just crazy. After our meeting ended, we looked at Charlotte’s car which was FULL of neat-o supplies (3D CHALK, markers, cotton balls, pipe cleaners, etc…SO MUCH FUNSKI STUFFSKI). We went back inside, and Kara asked me to cut her hair. I did so. She got le fringe! I.E. THE FRINGE WAS BORN FROM THE ASHES OF NOTHING! THEY ARE PHOENIX FRINGE! She looks ridiculously adorable. I like her a ton. The experience was quite nervous-ey, seeing as how Ashlyn, Michelle, Amanda, and Bre were all staring and critiquing and being all munching munchers with pretzels. My nerves were tight as two tight things. After cutting her hair, Kara had to get ready to leave for dinner for her sister’s graduation and Amanda, Bre, Michelle, and I left for our class of the PILATES varitey!!!!!!!!! IT. WAS PAINFUL. All this bending and holding and hundreds-ing and rolling and bending and LAUGHING (because I was facing this mirror. In it, I could just see from my clavicles up and during pilates we did this one thing, you see: you had to hold your legs all stretched out in front like a “V,” sitting on your bumolio, and so THEN guess what was all I could see in the mirror. My face (which was grinning and also ridiculous looking) and two skinny legs just poking out from the what appeared in the mirror to be “The beyond.” It was mad.)
We got home, got fried chicken (again) delivered, with some mac and cheese and cole slaw (Again.) And now we are watching a movie called “Sydney White” with the vair cute but wee bit annoying Amanda Bynes. Goodbye for now.


Prostates and Hemorrhoids.

Tuesday, June 10

So it’s late, but I thought I would give a few updates:
We are practically done planning week one! That’s so exciting.
We woke up this morning (with new spiffy Y passes, courtesy of Charles the Wonderful.) and went to a Yoga class from 10:10-11:05. IT WAS SO AMAZING. I felt so stretchy afterward and happy and full of good thoughts.
Then we went to the church, where we ate PB&J and then sat for 3.5 hours and planned the curriculum for week one of camp. The theme is “Nature” (i.e. everything in nature is good, we should take care of the world…) and fun things include: birdhouse making, dino racing, listening to J.Johnson’s “With my Own Two Hands” and then making a big huge banner that says “NATURE IS IN OUT HANDS!” where the kids will make hand prints and color a picture of something in nature for which they promise always to care and we will hang it up on parents celebration day the last and final day of camp. There are many other fun things planned. You just wait.
After planning, we went back to el cabin-o, got dinner delivered to us by a lovely couple who made chicken casserole with salad and bread, ate it with Linda and Charles, then went to a presentation meeting about how to officially record the meals we serve to the kids, the ones that come from “Feed the Children.”
Then we came back, spent 3 more hours on “finalizing” the curriculum (by “FINALIZING” I simply mean listening to songs from HSM I, making up cheers, saying “doo, doo” more times that necessary, and really bursting out in fits of laughter.) We decided on a catchy “Hands, hands, I am thankful for my hands! Food, food I am thankful for this food! Friends, friends, I am thankful for my friends! DRUMROOOLLLLL GOOOOOOOD NEIGHBORS!” cheer that we shall chant before each lunch.
It is really getting exciting. I am nervous. Good thing I have yoga. It keeps me stretchy.

Snogs for One and Snogs for All,

p.s. Note: at one of the trainings we were at, one with the reading buddy volunteers, a vair elderly man sat down next to me and the other volunteers and he said:
“OHHHHHhhHhHHH! Thank goodness I can sit next to these good looking, young ladies! I get so sick of old people…being around them all day…all they ever talk about are prostates and hemorrhoids…”


The Murphies and their Monsters.

Monday, June 9, 2008

: : Beau, one of the Lunsford's dog : :

First of all, we don’t have internet access, so I am journaling on Word and then posting it when I get the chance. And hopefully I’ll be putting pictures up as well.
Today we began bright and early with our “Curriculum Training.” Basically, a few of the founders went over their ideas for basic ways they think might be good for separating each day and a little bit about the first week. The first week is “The Importance of Self,” followed by week two of “The Importance of Family,” then “Importance of Community” and “Importance of the World” for week four.

For those who don’t know, we spend four weeks with Burnt Chimney Elementary School and then four weeks with Moneta Elementary School.

: : Zac, the other dog : :

The days shall go as follows:
Gather at 8:15 to 9:00. Here, we’ll talk with the kids and talk about our “attitude of gratitude.” Here, we’ll talk about the weekend or the night before and talk about what we’re thankful for and what we love and what makes us happy.
Story Talk 9:00-10:00. Here, the interns will present 15 or 20 minutes of the week’s story, in a creative way, and the rest of the hour will be spent talking about, responding to, and connecting to the story and its message.

: : The othe rinterns: Michelle, Bre, Amanda, Kara, Ashlyn : :

Cycles 10:00-12:00. Here, the kids will rotate between arts, reading, and recreation. The crafts and art will relate to the message for the week (week one: Nature), the reading will be done with buddies (the major goal of the camp is to raise literacy levels and to enforce a love for reading. We have some great books to read with the kids, including my new favorite one called: A Bad Case of Stripes!), and the recreational activities will be games that include all students and focus on teamwork. This will also be our opportunity to try peaceful resolutions and working together.

Lunch 12:00-12:30. Here we’ll be singing “Hands, hands, hands! I am thankful for my hands! Food, food, food! I am thankful for this food! Friends, friends, friends! Are the best gift of all!”
Free Play 12:30-1:00. Here, the kids will choose between drama and skits, arts, journaling, music, media stations, acts of kindness, etc…
Journal Time 2:15-2:45. We are meeting with a professor from VCU to talk about how to encourage the kids to write creatively and to enjoy reflecting upon their experiences! It’s going to be really cool.
For the last 15 minutes of camp, we have sharing time and we will sing a song about loving one another and being besties. Weee.
That curriculum training lasted a very long time, and afterward we had a delicious lunch and then had CPR and First Aid training with

Chuck Murphy. That was just, you know, training.
After training, we had a dinner planned with a family in the community (as we do all through the week, Monday through Friday) and it just so happened that we were going to Chuck’s house with his wife Annie and his dogs Lucy and Seamus.

O. M. G.
I am in love with this family. First of all, their dogs weigh 140 and 160 pounds. THEY ARE HUGE. They remind me of “The Never Ending Story” and also of medium sized bears. It was so awesome. They are lovable and gentle giants if you ask me. Which you would if you ever talked to me, but I seem to have no hours in my day. They are all filled with planned stuff and hanging out with the other girls.
While we were there, they prepared a delicious meal of grilled chicken, brisket, sweet potato salad, real spinach and orange salad with lime and cilantro dressing, and a delicious oatmeal cookie sheet with ice cream, chocolate syrup, and whip cream.
Before we ate, we swam in the lake for a bit. Annie came out and talked to us and filled us with words of wisdom. She talked about how this summer will really help us decide if we wanted to be teachers, and how we should pursue graduate school if we could financially afford to do it. She said it was important for the long run, salary wise. Also, Annie told us stories about her and Chuck, how she basically ran away from home because her parents were protestant and Chuck was Catholic and they did not want them to be married.
It was really encouraging but a little bit stressful. I don’t know what I want to do. That’s just a fact. I think I am pretty sure I want to pursue graduate school, maybe after Teach for America?
I have two years to figure it out.

After dinner we came home, made invitations for our new grandparents (Charles and Linda) to invite them to a dinner we are cooking for them this weekend. It is a father’s day dinner for Charles and a Mother’s Day dinner for Linda. We just really love them.
OH, addition to list above:
--Annie said that we should know that we have a huge reputation preceding us. People have been talking bout us! They say we are 1. Bright. B. Happy. And C. really good at getting along with one another.
Isn’t that crazy and cool?
So anyway, we went for a 1.5 mile run, nice and short (AND PAINFUL) and snuck the envelopes in the mailboxes at the end of the looong driveway. Since then, we have just been talking.
OH, funniest thing: we sent Annie on a mission. She works our with Charles every morning. So, we told her she had to find out his favorite meal and tell us so we could cook it for him on Friday. She said she would call and report back. It’s going to be so much fun. We are making a card for both of them, and then we are treating them to the dinner. We just really appreciate them and we need them to know that.
Lastly, if Charles gets our passes tomorrow, we are going to go to the 10:15 yoga class!

Oh, my address here is:

Sarah Nagel the Swimming Yoga Type
1812 Diamond Hill Rd.
Moneta, VA 24121


My cell phone number is: 330-635-2929 if you want to call. I’m busy, and I’ll be checking email once or twice a week, so email me or call or mail me a letter.


I haf a goot arrival.

Sunday, June 8th, 2008
Day one of being a Smith Mountain Lake Good Neighbor—weeee!
So I moved in yesterday. I drove West! From Richmond, three hours to arrive in Bedford slash Moneta Virginia. Smith Mountain Lake, if you will. I got to the cabin, and four of the other five interns were already sweaty, moved in and practically settled—Bre, Michelle, Amanda, and Ashlyn. Kara, the other intern, wouldn’t arrive until today. After I unpacked, Charles and Linda Lunsford (our “host families”) had dinner ready at 5:45 for us. Our cabin is located next door to their house, so we just walked on over for dinner—a classic southern style dinner!—of fried chicken, baked beans, bean salad, rolls, lemonade/sweet tea, and brownies for desert. Isn’t that so suitably wonderful? I think so. I tried baked beans. Can you believe that. They were sort of chewy and sweet. Weird.

Afterward, the girls and I sort of plopped onto one of the beds and talked. We talked about random things mostly, but I exclaimed my absolute desire to learn yoga, and Ashlyn, who lives in Smith Mountain Lake and who is a member of the YMCA, said “Oh! They’re teaching a yoga class at the YMCA this summer…” I WAS FLOORED AND SO EXCITED THAT I IMMEDIATELY said that we should all take the class. Upon further investigation (i.e. stopping at the YMCA today and harassing the front-desk-spotty-Norman type) we realized the cost might not be worth it. It would basically be $25 for a FIVE punch card (a class a punch), or a $37/month membership fee that comes with unlimited use of facilities, and free classes of Yoga, Pilates, and more! The YMCA is newly renovated and bee-ee-ee-autiful. Then, today someone mentioned it to Sarah Basket, who is Russell’s wife and on our “Intern Mentor Group” and she told us that Charles Lunsford goes to the YMCA every morning for an hour and a half and he knows everyone there and everyone there knows him and GUESS WHATSKI.
Well, I shall tell you. We told Charles our desires and woes and he said “so I think what would be best is a two month membership. I’ll take care of it, get the papers tomorrow, and my guess is that you’ll have it by the end of the week.”

They love us.

Additional/extensive proof that they love the interns:
There is a HUMUNGOUS basket in our fridge full of chocolate, peanuts, and granola bars, which was waiting for us with a sign that said “Welcome Interns!”
Everyone already has all our names down like “that!” How, you ask? Well the day we were here for interviews and they offered us all the job, they took a picture for us…
WHICH HAS BEEN IN MANY A NEWSPAPER HERE. People have written many articles about us, even!
They stocked our fridge full of yogurt, milk, eggs, orange juice, water, and out pantry full of cereal, snacks, and different stuff! Yum!
They set up accounts at a local gas station and a local “Giant Eagle” but called something different, for us to go get anything we need.
We all have fresh sheets on our beds and fresh pillow cases ready for us and fresh blankets.
We all have keys to the cabin which are connected to float-ey yellow objects with our names on them, they have ordered us each polo shirts with the SML Good Neighbor’s logo on them and backpacks in which to carry our stuff. Cool.
At a blessing/commission ceremony that we had today, we were blessed by Pastor Josh. He said we are the organization’s “prayers answered in flesh and blood.”

Much of the time, the talked about how the organization got started, the challenges that it faced and faces now. As I have told most of you, it just started with four people thinking about the same thing, and getting together to realize they shared common goals and expectations. Then two years later, voila! Here we are! They were panicking in early March because they hadn’t received any applications from interns, and then we all turned in our applications, they interviewed us and they fell in love with us! (See above.)
We started today with church at 10:00. We went to Trinity Ecumenical Parish. It was a new experience: there was really no worship service, and everything was very formal. The minister has planned hi prayers, is was sort of call and response, where it’s in the program what you respond to his prayers. There were mostly older people. The scripture consisted of one reading from Mathew and two from the Old Testament. They were unrelated and the message was about labels and how in the passage, Jesus didn’t look at the sinners as tax collectors or prostitutes but instead as men and human beings first. We all decided that we were going to try a different church next week. I really didn’t like that there was no time for praise and worship. It was weird, but I learned that that is something I truly value in a church, a time during which I can use my voice to praise Baby Jesus.
Everyone has really high expectation for us, it’s scary and intimidating. They are really looking for us to be creative with the curriculum and to take the curriculum and make it our own. Also, we had an hour long training session on sexual abuse and how it recognize it and how to watch, observe, act and not be afraid of being wrong, because it’s better to be wrong than to be right and to not have acted at all.

After church and out service of commission and blessing (we had to stand up front and the congregation prayed for us!) we came back to the cabin and had an hour before our next orientation event. We jumped into the lake, and bobbed about wearing our ski belts (mandatory) and sitting upon noodles. We had a lot of fun and the water is very clean and very warm. The dogs would swim by (Beau and Zac), paddling and chasing fish and frogs. At 5 o’ clock Russell, Sarah, Wendi (so cool), and a man named Luther came. They are out “Intern Mentor Group.” They had sent us a book titled “The Little Book of Circle Processes.” We had our first Circle Process. We talked about expectation of the group—respect and confidentiality and intent listening—and we talked about what was good about the circle process and how we thought using in the classroom would work out. It was amazing to have so much support. (Again, see above list).

Afterward we went up to the Lunsford’s house and talked to them about the YMCA, and was petting their dog Beau, and when I went to the bathroom I saw a tick crawling on me so I freaked out and stripped off all my clothing and freaked out some more and eek! I really freaked out. But they are outside dogs and I am not used to outside dogs because Ally is pampered and spoiled. I remain spoiled and freaked out MAJORLY.

Now we are sitting about talking about how the fish mounted on the wall would be too big to successfully catch (and squirmy) and how the deer head mounted on the wall is a bit weird and maybe if we jazzed it up with garland and earrings and jewels it might be a bit more pleasant.

Love you all.