Thursday, July 12, 2012

First couple of days in JAX

I'm doing this on my phone, so I don't know how long and detailed it will be, but I figured I would try.

I packed my bags and left Boston early Tuesday morning. My friend Caroline came and stayed with me on Monday to help keep me calm and thank goodness she did. When I moved to Boston, I spent the week before alone in my house and I was a mess. I wasn't about to let that happen this time, so I recruited Caroline. She's one of those friends that I sometimes wonder how I got so lucky to have.

Anyways, after many tears, two flights and a layover, I arrived in Jacksonville. Anna and Mike met me at the airport and we headed back to their house. We got there around dinner time and Anna made pesto and pasta for dinner. Shawn, Mike's best man, came over and we hung out. I am so thankful for Anna and Mike throughout this entire process because I couldn't have done it without them logistically. I am having boxes and furniture shipped to their house. I also know that I would have been a mess staying alone in a hotel. Again, these types of friends are rare and I am truly blessed.

Anyways, on Wednesday, Anna had plans already with a friend and I had to work in the afternoon. It was actually just registration day, so it only took a few hours. Anna left me her car, so I drove to the hotel where I was staying and met The staff. I didn't know what to expect, but I definitely wasn't expecting to work out of a hotel room, which is exactly what we did. There were laptops set up on the tables and people were sitting on the bed. It was a mess. There were four senior corps members, including myself and we All had to fill out registration forms and on board, which meant a lot of time where one person was doing stuff on the computer and the other three were just awkwardly hanging out. Everyone seemed nice, but it was really quiet and awkward. There were a lot of times where something wouldn't work right and then we'd be just sitting there while they called someone to figure it out. When I finished everything, I was so emotionally exhausted I just needed to go back to Anna's to see a familiar face. I stopped at Target and bought her a bottle of wine and then headed on my way back to her house. Mike was working, so it was just Anna and I. We made frozen pizza and just hung out. One of her friends stopped by for a little bit and relaxed with us. I was so glad to just be able to go back to her house after such an awkward and quiet start. She drove me back to the hotel around nine thirty and we parted ways.

Yesterday was a lot more fast paced and not a lot of awkward down time. The two Program Managers led the day. We went over the process of starting a site, played a jeopardy game about Jacksonville trivia (which I won!!) and went over the roles of senior corps. We all ate lunch together, which was nice, and then in the afternoon we found out where we'll be serving.

I'm going to be at Jackson High School, which is the lowest performing high school in Florida. I am going to be in a classroom 60% of the time and then helping recruit and gain support throughout the city for the rest of the time. I'm really nervous about being in a high school, but I keep reminding myself of how nervous I was last year when I had middle schoolers.

Today was pretty short. We started with PT in a park. There were eight of us so it was definitely different than in Boston. After PT, we headed inside to the library and got to work. We started with the leadership compass workshop which is like the epitome of city year. It labels your leadership style by a compass direction. I am primarily a south which is the empathetic, feelings type of leader. That basically took all morning. Afterwards, we went out for an official team lunch. We went to this Caribbean restaurant by my school and I think I may have found my new love. It's name is curried chicken.

The afternoon was pretty short since next week is going to be insane. We just went over what Summer Academy is going to look like. I'm really excited because I think it will be more like the City Year I know and love. Academy is a week of training for every senior corps member across the country. It's held at Northeastern and I'm so excited to be back in Boston.

I have really missed City Year Boston this past week. I miss the sense of stability and organization. Staying in a hotel also doesn't help the feeling of just disorganization. I felt like this the week before City Year last year, but it was calmed by the start of service. Here, I think I might take longer, but I am confident that it can happen.