Showing posts from January, 2008


For some reason I can't edit that last post without deleting all my info, so I will just start a new one. The hassles I deal with...


The map in the post below shows the route I traveled in 3 weeks time.

Alright, so let's start from the start, meaning forget about the travel details because I just don't have time now, and maybe someday I will come back to that. I doubt it. I arrived here (Perry Point) on Tuesday morning at 6:30 a.m. via train, they picked me up at 7:15, and my day kept going and going and going. We've been doing "in-processing" since then: lots of paperwork for health insurance, policies, procedures, etc; uniforms, including BDU pants, steel toe boots, many shirts, khaki shorts, different types of hats, sweater, fleece vest, and a shiny black coat; physical exams, including vision, hearing, urine test (mandatory pregnancy & drug screening), breast exam, tuberculosis test, tetanus shot, plus run of the mill body check-up; team building, inc…

Night 3

I came with the intent to post a more detailed blog, however I got wrapped up in checking emails and sending messages that the time I allotted for myself has passed. Midnight is here, and I need to get up early to go for a walk. I would really love to catch another sunrise over the bay... and I should get myself into the habit before it's mandatory. Starting next week we have physical training at 5:15 am eastern time... that's 3:30 am Utah time. Please make note that if you consider calling me sometime I will probably be in bed around 10 pm ET, 8 M(ountain)T.

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So much has happened in the past few days. Wait, so much has happened in these past few weeks. I thought for sure I would be blogging about my experiences frequently but I have so much going on that I'm overwhelmed and can't even remember everything that has happened since I left. It has been so amazing.

I guess I should start with my current status: I have arrived in Perry Point, Maryland and am wrapping up my second day of in-processing for AmeriCorpsNCCC. I'm not sure I have ever been happier to be in a place away from "home." I don't know where to start. Where did I last leave off? Hold on...

Oh wow. There's a lot to tell. Ok, New Orleans was fun. Duh. Our hosts, a house full of college students, were generous with their time and sincerity, showing us the city in it's glory and sadness, welcoming us with a place to sleep, and giving us friendship. I look forward to going back some time and spending more time exploring, but the areas I explored were …

Southern Reflections

I've been distracted for the past week, not able to really organize my thoughts and my desire to get out and explore the city has been minimal. I'll admit, I'm feeling a bit homesick. I'm positive that a night of dancing would lift me up back to the state of mind I'm usually in, but the prospects of trying to figure out the late-night bus system and worrying about the wishes of everyone else has me a bit haggled. I don't feel safe taking off into an unknown city by my lonesome, but that time alone with myself, my grooves, and the tunes would do more for me than anything else. I haven't gone this long without a solid night of dancing in months... probably like 6 months. The life is draining out of me, bit by bit.

The night our group headed out to Krewe du Vieux my spirits got a good pick me up from the live brass bands marching down the streets.

Upbeat music always takes over my body and releases my mind from whatever grasps might confine it. My hips started s…

Crochet Project

After a bit of searching I have found my newest project:

On the website from which I obtained the pattern, they call this particular piece the Between Meal Centerpiece. Clicking on the link will take you to the PDF if any of you want to make it too. :)

I've never completed an intricate crochet project as large as this, and I'm just not sure what to expect. My mother bought me a pattern book last spring and I quickly became addicted to spinning out doilies, and it's safe to say a 5 inch doily takes me between 5 and 10 hours, depending on the intricacies and how many times I have to back track for losing count or dropping stitches. This piece has a 30 inch diameter.

PS. I'm still in New Orleans. I've been sleeping on the floor for a couple nights, but I've decided to sleep in the chair tonight after Jess, one of the girls we are staying with, killed a 2 inch cockroach inside the house. She then informed me that it was a small one... and that they are very common. Sh…

Living in Fear

I woke up this morning with a sour & heavy feeling in my stomach-- the kind only fear can produce. Do you know the kind of sinking feeling I am talking about? The tense muscles, ringing in the ears, and an abnormal dizziness...

In the past I had recurring episodes of panic; amid any perceived confrontation I would need to sit down for fear of fainting; my mouth would go dry, my legs would ache something fierce, and nausea would peck the confines of my stomach and throat. Adrenaline surges are a horribly overwhelming event. I would react in this manner almost any time I was scared, sad, or angry, such as during an argument with a parent or upsetting discussion with a boyfriend. Over time, and with a bit of help, I exchanged my strange reactions for a more peaceful demeanor. In fact it has been nearly a year since I had such feelings (the last being an abrupt end to the relationship I shared with my then-boyfriend).

What has caused a revisit to such negative emotions? A dream.

Leaving …



I have 1 year before I head back to Utah to go back to school, which means plenty of time to research whether or not midwifery and health are the studies I would like to dedicate myself to for the next few years. I will be reading books and articles and reviewing them here. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. I can add them to the list.

My excitement and happiness right now are indescribable! I've always had a penchant for reproductive health, hence my affinity toward Planned Parenthood and their mission, and I've spent a LOT of time doing research of my own (for years) so as to make planned and informed decisions. Becoming a midwife would only further my ability to support healthy and natural reproductive choices.

PS. I'm really enjoying the book 3 cups of tea. A review will be posted sometime in the next couple weeks!

The Miracle of Birth

We started our morning in New Orleans with an exploration of birth. First, we viewed a fascinating video of kangaroo birth.

Next, we watched a clip of a "rhino birth," really just a clip from the movie Ace Ventura.

There are 4 people sitting in this room-- 4 semi-adults, two men, two women all in their early twenties, and I was baffled to learn that NONE but myself had ever watched a video of the live birth of a human. I thought watching such was a requirement of high school classes! I swear, I've seen footage of birth at least 4 or 5 times and felt it was very informative. And I would love to actually be witness to a birth. How can women of child-producing age, and wanting of children, not know what the process entails? When my Aunt C was pregnant with her last child I remember the oldest daughters, down to my cousin L, being invited to watch the birth of their youngest brother. I was seriously jealous that I didn't have those sort of options in my family.

I remember t…

Missing Mardi Gras

I have three pages of writing that I just can't get myself to post. The paragraphs are disjoint.

So, instead, I am starting new! Hello family and friends! I have crossed the Mississippi and am sitting squarely in New Orleans, Louisiana after 40 hours of traveling by train from Tucson. "40 hours?!" you might exclaim of my most recent travels, but the ride was very, very enjoyable. Once again I had terrific conversations with strangers, some near my age, some a decade older, some my grandmother's age. Remember Jonathan the musician from my last blog entry? He met us in San Antonio for our 40 minute layover, and we ran to the Alamo to check it out. Literally, ran, in order to get back in time to catch our train. Fun!

Tucson was very relaxing. The weather was near 60 degrees F the entire time I was there and we had so many blue skies and colorful sunsets. Brit's family took us to the desert museum. Pictures tell more than words when it come to sights seen, so here you …

Day 7 of 21

We are a couple of cool travel partners.

I find pleasure in watching strangers through their windows. Here in the city apartments are crammed so close together that our most intimate behaviors are exposed to the world if we choose not (or forget) to close the blinds. Personal behaviors, the kind you don’t always display to the public, are some of the most interesting to witness; the silly butt-scratch, reading the newspaper with morning coffee, and of course, sex. The other morning two people were leaning out their window enjoying sunlit love in the apartment across the way, stroking hair, kissing lips, foreheads, and necks, rubbing each others’ eyes, massaging, and each holding the other in sweet embrace. Their bed appeared to be arranged against the window, and by laying their pillow on the windowsill, and moving their heads out into open air, the sunlight could warm their faces. I doubt they knew we were watching and I was nervous they would take their romances inside upon seeing us…


After having spent a few days wandering through the city by foot and public transport I feel we are becoming more connected than most tourists ever do. The conversational exchanges I have been witness to may make some nervous, but they bring a sly smile to my face. I enjoy being here.

Welcome to the West Coast! It dawned on my today that I will essentially be setting foot on all 3 coasts of the United States in these next 3 weeks-- the western, the southern AND the Eastern. I am a lucky individual. Anyhow, we arrived at the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco version this afternoon and an immediate sense of relaxation washed over me. The past few days were restless but the views today made up for all inconveniences we faced the days before. Waves crashed before us, wind-bent trees stood ahead, and a homeless man complimented me on my hair (despite the frizz!).

And Brit chased some gulls around :)

Our chosen volunteer service here in San Fran is helping out the volunteer center with advertisemen…

We are life changing individuals.

Britney: "To a successful day tomorrow for our chosen volunteer assignment and restful sleep."
Amanda: "To our friendship and the many beers to follow."

Clank. "Cheers!"

We walked around and around and around today. The same impressions have been sticking as the last time I came to this city, like the houses/apartments. Old buildings have an effect on me that's a bit indescribable. I guess it's almost like seeing an old friend or family member, at least the familiarity aspect of it all-- they have a worn and chipped exterior but are loaded with character. Walking through the city actually feels a bit home-ier than walking around Logan because of the crowded surroundings. One is never alone in silence here. Honks, screeches, shouts and clanks are commonplace.

May tomorrow be filled with fun sites and enjoyable service.

Oh, service. I plan on completing some amount of volunteer work in each city we visit.

Yammering on


Here we are. The beginning of our adventure did not quite begin… yet. We came to SLC to check in at the bus station and were informed our 10:30 pm bus would not board passengers due to congestion from the storms and bad weather northwest of us. The short-tempered woman instructed us to come back at 11 am to try and catch a bus then. Our hearts sank a bit when our plans were delayed and we discussed alternatives such as riding with a trucker, taking a plane, etc.“The manager is allowing us to board after all… the bus is late, arriving around 11:45 pm, but we don’t care! We are going!”A man tucked himself in a corner, shoved his hand down the ass-crack of his pants, gave it a good scratch, and then sniffed his fingers. He made sour face afterward and wiped his hand on the leg of his pants.1/9/08

Riding the greyhound has been interesting, with many different passengers I feel I am the minority here and I like it this way. We conversed with a young woman that had been stranded in Uta…


I'm sitting on the living room floor on a dirty rug next to wet, and even dirtier, shoes. I am eating whole wheat pasta drenched with pre-made sauce from a can, spiced with red pepper and feta, and thinking wow, this will be my last breakfast in Logan for a while. I've never really been one for traditional breakfast foods. Sun is streaming through the big window and my heart is jumping with joy.

I'm leaving. I'm leaving... I'm leaving!!

Sadness was my emotion for a few days but that has passed and now excitement has taken over my spirit. A serious journey awaits me and Britney-- and beyond our 3 week journey of who-knows-what, an even more serious journey filled with 10 months of volunteer work in who-knows-where, doing who-knows-what will follow. The only expectations of this next year that I have are positive; I will be happy, have fun, and celebrate life.

Do you remember the story of the heat vent in the bathroom, and my affinity toward laying next to it? Last nigh…

One more day to go.

I'm tired of counting down, but I won't stop, not until I'm in SLC on my way out of Utah.

Despite being a bit sad about leaving behind my friends and family while I go out and explore life away from home, I feel very loved. These past few days were filled with teary farewells and tight hugs. Special thanks to my family members that contributed to the trip, especially my mom & dad and aunties K & R. I received the book 3 Cups of Tea, and am looking forward to reading it. I felt inspired to start reading it tonight, but instead have been cleaning, organizing, packing, etc. It's 5:19 am and I'd really like to get some sleep at some point, but I'm going to run up to campus and over to the club very quickly, and then I'll come home and catch a few hours of shuteye before I head out to run errands at 10.

I will add some more info and pics soon.


I'm leaving on Tuesday... 4 days & 18.5 hours.

Tonight was my last night of work at the club and I'm gonna miss that place and it's employees terribly. Dancing with my friends and coworkers has a serious uplifting effect on spirit. Sigh. As I walked through the dark building, checking doors and picking up, I began to cry a bit. I don't think I've ever loved a job so much as I do as this one. Lisa's one of my favorite women... I really hope the club is still here when I return.

Saying goodbye to my father will be hard tomorrow. He's leaving on the truck for the next week so it will be the last bit of time we spend together until I return to Utah in about 11 months.

All these farewells have me a bit shaken up. Why is it so easy to cry? I'm not leaving forever. A year really isn't that long... and I'm heading out into an exciting life I'm building for myself. Snap out of it!