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.

1 comment:

Jenna Garber said...

Sarita! So good to hear from you :-) Sounds like this internship is perfecto for you.


PS I think of you every time anyone uses -ito or -ita. It´s so cute!