My first few weeks in Colorado, back during the long hours of training, I wasn't quite sold on the attraction of Colorado. Sure, the mountains in the distance were pretty to look at, but I had also been surrounded by that for my four years in South Korea. Longmont though had a little more appeal, a quaint downtown, free buses, multiple breweries, good restaurants and a few parks, I was cool with living there for a few weeks. The town, the project, the staff, it was all going pretty swell, so I guess it makes sense that our departure came before some were ready. Me being me though, I was ready to go , six weeks and I was growing stir crazy, ready for a new city, new routine and new friends. I often wonder how I'll ever settle down somewhere, but that's not really necessary, is it?
Our last few weeks with Habitat St. Vrain continued in the same manner as the first, we met every Tuesday to discuss the plans for the week and then got to work. Day after day making progress on the different site locations, fostering deeper relationships with the staff and long term volunteers and growing more attached to the city and projects. Another perk of being so close to our campus in Aurora meant that it was a breeze for staff to come and visit, which I appreciated, mixing up the routine of the day to day construction life.
Our first visit came from our unit leader Amy and a few other staff members, visiting us on site in Lyons to get a look at the work we were doing and judge how the project was going. This is one thing about Americorps NCCC (and likely any major corporation) the meetings and debriefs and "How's it going" questions on repeat. I'm not sure I could ever go back to the corporate world, I do too much eye-rolling and not enough @$$ kissing. Thankfully though,[most of] the staff I have to report to here are genuine and I manage to craft an answer to most of the questions. I always enjoy having Amy on site, she's a breath of fresh air and encourages the 'right' discussions, even if they do start with a few "Bueller" moments.
The week after Amy's visit came a special visit, a representative from headquarters had planned a visit to campus to discuss the program with staff and was hoping to connect with a team in the field, being only an hour away meant we were the selected. The representative was looking to host discussion groups with the team, sponsor and team leader, you can only imagine the number of eye rolls I had to deal with that day, especially from the construction staff, they just love discussion panels. I appreciated being able to give my two cents on the program though, just not sure how far up the chain it'll go. The highlight of the visit though was that Sarah and Ashley, two other Earth team leaders, decided to ride up for the visit, always good to see a familiar face and hear some of the Earth unit gossip.
The final visit and maybe most anticipated was from our regional director Ken, and as a bonus our operations bookends, Richard and Randall, decided to come along for the ride. Among team leaders and corps members there seems to be mixed opinions towards Ken, some loving him with every core of their being, while others could take a pass on any interaction. I too was unsure of how I felt about him, but his visit helped swing me towards the love field. Hearing him speak in front of the corps, often spewing the same rhetoric, I got bored, but talking to him one on one is a different story. He's still obligated to ask the mandatory, "How's it going" questions, but there's something about his persona that makes you want to spill your soul as an answer. I didn't, but there was a pull to do so. I could see him relax a little, being away from his yellow cup, or it may have had to do with the influence from Richard and Randal, both of whom are chock full of sarcasm and attitude, so yes, I get along with them quite well.
Really, the best part about having staff visit is the opportunity to show off all the work the team has completed over the course of the last six weeks. While the projects are spread across three different sites, there is significant improvements at each of the sites we can lay claim to. Each team member has found their niche, something they're good at and enjoy, stretching from truss work and dry-walling, to caulking and painting, there's a little bit of something for everyone. It's been a whirlwind of a round, lots of projects, crazy weather, and so many different projects, but I feel like we nailed it. The feedback from the staff and volunteers was almost all rainbows and butterflies, so there's not much else a proud mama, sorry Team Leader, could hope for.
A Year of Service
My life, being anything but predictable, has taken another turn. Rather than moving to Jeju, South Korea - my original plan for Fall '18, I'm going to test drive Denver, CO and its surroundings, an area people just keep telling me "I'd love".