It was a very exciting first weekend in Tucson. If it weren't for the cold I've been enduring this past week it would have been beyond brilliant!
Friday night most of the team went out to enjoy the 4th Avenue scene. Shiny and I were both ill and opted to stay home. We instead spent our time sleeping. It was a great night, because I thoroughly enjoy sleeping. ^^
The next day I woke up rather early. I'm usually one of the first to rise in our apartment, if not the entire team. I had a long free day ahead of me so I "Yelped" things to do. Carmen (an opera) was playing at 11:00 at Century Park Place. Things in Tucson are extremely spaced out. It took a good 35 minutes to walk there from our apartments. (I really wish I could drive). The performance was amazing! I wish it were live-live opposed to broadcasting-live, from the Metropolitan Opera. Though not a musical, the experience reminded me of when I saw Jersey Boys... because the majority of the audience was significantly older than me, but a good audience! Carmen was, fortunately, really long. I was able to spend much of the day, nearly 5 hours, enjoying great music... and not spending money.
Unfortunately Carmen eventually did end, and I quickly found myself spending quite a bit of money at World Market. I was very, very happy to see boxed Spätzle, though it did make me a tad home-sick. I bought a couple boxes and will hopefully find a recipe to make Käse Spätzle for my roommates... because they aren't too fond of the Kimchi I've been trying to share with them... I have to eat it outside... The rest of the day I did a lot of nothing. I fixed my wireless settings on my laptop so I could finally get internet, which was quickly followed by a marathon of random google/wikipedia searches.
Sunday I went to church, and then the team and I went to Christina's house to have brunch, though the timing was more like Linner, with her family. There was so much food. I probably ate the equivalent to 4 breakfasts. Yum. :) The team had an overall fun time. There were Wii-sports challenges and then a walk in the desert. Meanwhile I either lounged or slept, because I was still ill. When we got back to the apartments I slept more.
Monday, Martin Luther King (MLK) Day, we had two projects lined up. First, from 9:00-noon, we helped raise money for Haiti earthquake survivors through the Red Cross. We held signs along the main road and collected donations. Derek and I held a huge sign together, at first. After about 30 minutes we decided that it would be more noticeable to drivers to actually wave at them as well, as opposed to just acting as sign-poles. We taped one end of the sign to a light-pole and the other end to my body (well my pant leg and the poncho I was wearing). I smiled and waved while Derek preformed elaborate gestures. We saw a significant increase in audience reaction, such as: honking, waving, and/or donating. We were having fun for a good cause.
Next, after a delicious pizza lunch from a pizzeria we are anxious to find, we did some "Rain Harvesting" for the Youth Volunteer Center. It's difficult to really explain what Rain Harvesting is, because they encouraged us to define it in our own words during our brief and debrief for the project. If I had to I would define it as: the act of actively collecting/directing water so that it is used to its fullest potential to benefit the environment. How this translates into action is landscaping in such a way that rainwater can be efficiently utilized by native plant life. We dug and placed stones to create a flow path for rain water, so that it meanders over the entire area opposed to just being washed straight down into a wash. It also included spreading mulch to retain water in the soil, preventing erosion. It was a short project, 1:00-3:30, but we all learned a lot about the environment and simple steps to help preserve it.
To complete our MLK Day of Service we watched the movie Crash as a team. Afterwards we discussed issues that arose or were neglected in the movie. I usually do not enjoy such discussions, because I'm rather emotional and can get very angry...which I did, but I am happy to have had them. I was able to talk about "taboo" topics with a very diverse set of people. I'm not sure when I'll have such an opportunity in the future. Afterwards I slept.
Tuesday we headed into the office and prepared boxes for each VITA tax program. Actually, we mostly prepared boxes. Derek and Shawn also prepared the computers we'd be using, and I organized the storage room. I like organizing. After work, dinner, and a quick run to Walgreens, I slept. I like sleeping.
I probably should make the title "A Restful Weekend"...