What a week! It’s hard to believe I was in Denver only 4 days ago. It feels so good to be settled in Tucson in our three cozy apartments and starting our project. Everyone at United Way has been so welcoming and it seems like the team is already very comfortable here. This project is incredibly different than the previous projects I have had with NCCC. I’m used to physically demanding work like construction and trail building, but this project takes a lot of brain power. It’s been quite a long time since I have been in a classroom so I feel a little out of practice, but I’m picking it up and starting to feel more confident with the concepts. We have been training all week, learning everything we can in four days about tax law. It might sound strange but it’s actually turned out to be a lot of fun! The two trainers, Carol and Ann, are very helpful and understanding about the fact that we are being thrown a ton of information at once. We have a test this Friday for beginner and intermediate level IRS certification so we are all a bit nervous. I never thought I would ever learn to do my own taxes let alone be able to do taxes for other people. The examples and stories the trainers use really put everything into reality and have helped me realize how much this truly is a service to many people in need.
On top of loving getting up and going to work, I feel very blessed to have such comfortable housing. Since being in AmeriCorps NCCC, I have had some interesting housing in the last year and a half. I know that the team feels very grateful to have so much space considering we had very little space or privacy last round. I even have my own room which is pretty unheard of in this program. I have tried to create my own “Zen like” atmosphere to help keep me mentally healthy. I even have a balcony to do yoga! Plus, it’s really nice to have a quiet place to do my paperwork and wind down from the day.
Class was pretty hard today, but we got through it and everyone seems to be getting the hang of it. I am very impressed with the team’s positive attitude and overall performance at work and I think they are going to do an amazing job this round. After training we played ultimate frisbee at the high school across the street, which was a lot of fun. The team is getting along great and even though we are split into three apartments, we still choose to hang out all together most of the time. Best part is…we laugh…A LOT, even about taxes! The quote board in our living room is full of hilarious Water 4-isms, and Shiny is a constant amusement for us every day.
Tucson is awesome! I can’t wait to tour around this weekend and check out 4th Ave. We drove down it the other day and there were tons of great thrift stores, cute restaurants and a Co-Op that I’m pretty excited about. Oh, and they have Trader Joe’s here which makes me very happy.
It is Ian’s birthday tomorrow so we are going to have a special dinner and his favorite cake. After our test on Friday we are going to go on a team sunset hike to celebrate both his birthday and our certification! All in all, life is pretty good here in sunny Tucson, AZ. I feel very lucky to have this project and especially lucky to have such a positive, open and supportive team. It’s going to be a good couple of months!