So it's been quite awhile since my last post. Much has happened since then so let's go back to Texas.
We finished up our time in Freeport pretty well. We inventoried, packed-up and moved an entire classroom building - clearly the highlight of the project. The bird observatory is short several hundred invasive plants and was all dressed up in holiday cheer by the time we left.
A few weeks before the round was over we found out one of our own was getting promoted to be a team leader. We were said to see her go but she's been doing great with her new team.
We also were informed that our team was selected to go on disaster relief in New York. Since the only constant in AmeriCorps is change we were excited but hesitant to make plans. After receiving no new information upon our return to Denver or over break I was beginning to think it wouldn't happen. Luckily by the end of the first day back in Denver we find out that not only our we going to New York City for 2.5 weeks but another Fire team was coming with us!
I was incredibly excited that our plans were finally set and I was eager to get started. Too much happened in those short weeks to explain in this post so I will devote a separate post just to our time in New York.
Once we completed our disaster deployment we came back to Denver for a week of rest/prep for our original project for this round: Habitat for Humanity.
The drive to Oklahoma City was much simpler, albeit infinitely more boring (thank you State of Kansas), than any of the driving we had done back on the East Coast.
So OKC is pretty small. From a quick glance it looks like it's the size of Rochester. No worries though - they've got a lot of cool things going on that we plan to explore while we're here.
Our apartments are pretty sweet! We're in 2 2-bedroom apartments with full kitchens, cable and Internet. Overall a huge step up from our classroom 10-person bedroom we had back in Texas.
Habitat is a great organization and everyone is so happy to have us here.
This branch in particular is one of the largest Habitats in the organization, averaging about 40 homes built each year. Our first day on the job we got to help frame a house (check out the photo). When we arrived it was just a concrete slab and when we left all the walls were up and we started insulating.
My first weekend in Oklahoma consisted largely of finishing grad school apps. I am happy to say that I have completed all applications for the U.S. schools to which I am applying. Now all that is left are the incredibly confusing international applications. It was not, however, all work and no play for Ali. After submitting a few apps I went with the team to the Zoo. Yes it's February but there were still animals to be seen. It was a bright sunshiny day (try to get that song out of your head now!) and it was great to just walk around and have some fun.
Back to work in a "snowstorm". A couple inches of wet snows caused some panic for the locals. You could still see the pavement and people were crawling on the highway. Anyway we were stuck working inside for the day and I spent the bulk of my time washing windows - I wonder if I've had any past experience with that...
Today was much better. We were outside all day, working in the sun and putting trusses and gables up on the house we helped frame a few days ago. It's pretty gratifying to step back at the end of the day and be able to see exactly what we accomplished.
That's it for now. I will post pictures soon and be sure to update more frequently. Stay tuned for the NYC post!