Here it is! A new blog post finally!

I love it here. I'm afraid I'm going to be saying this to myself every day for the next 10 months and that it will be painful to leave, but I really really love it here.

In last week's blog I said that "In the houses we are allotted $5.00 per day for food," and Emma and I were the first to get to take our houses big bucks and spend it all very quickly. For grocery excursions we are only allowed to have 2 housemates go and we have a limited amount of time-- and money of course. We totaled $175 that first week so we went into the store, were told we had 30 minutes, and began our frenzied shopping. Beginning at one side of the store we loaded up on veggies and fruits, then got bread, cereal, chips, milk, etc-- but halfway through we lost our running total! And just then they announced we only had 5 more minutes! We panicked and completely rushed after that, grabbing what else was on the list and realizing that we were probably a good amount over our allowance. As we approached the register for check-out we sorted our most important items first, and saved optionals like condiments for what would be left. Turns out that we were only a couple dollars off and we ate like Queens all week long! The shopping trip felt like a game show.

This week when our roommates returned home from the store we screamed with delight-- 11 pounds of apples! Boxes and boxes of veggie burgers! ENDLESS CHEESE! Cauliflower! $245 in groceries for 7 people for only one week, and we have so much extra food. Next week we will definitely get more fruit, and varied types-- we all like to have a piece for breakfast, a piece for lunch, and a snack later if possible.

My diet, actually my entire lifestyle, has changed a LOT since coming to the Point, and I think I'm finally losing the beginning of the 20 pounds I gained when I quit smoking. Like I said, I live with 4 vegetarians and since being here I've had 2 meals with a little bit of meat in them, the rest has been without meat. And I eat so healthy-- veggies and fruit galore, beans, fiber, etc. Also, because we're so busy I find myself having to make special time to eat otherwise I forget meals and only eat once or twice a day. How strange. Grandma's valentine cookies coming in the mail today will reverse all weight loss immediately.

Uh-oh. I'm getting a bit of that swirling, loopy tiredness that comes with strange pills. The doctor warned me that drowsiness may occur. Ha! Oh, yeah. Turns out cramming over 300 people together from different parts of the country, with different illness, into one big communal living center can spread disease pretty quickly. I've got nothing too bad, just a sinus infection & UTI and some bronchitis. A couple bottles of pills later and an inhaler to make my breathing easier, I'm positive on my way back to good health. Having health insurance has never felt so good as this. Some of you know my difficulties in getting coverage and I am so happy to have automatic health care in this program; it will save me and my parents a lot of money.

What else? I have been so busy since arriving! Last weekend disappeared quickly, and it's 3:29 a.m. Friday night/Saturday morning and I'm spending it in this quiet house/computer lab. This week we have been very busy with training.

Here are the highlights:
  • TEAMS!
    • We were sorted out into the groups of 11 people we will be spending the next 9.5 months with. That first night I was disappointed to leave my pod, the temporary team, and I even cried a bit on the way home, and sobbed when I got to my bed. I was overwhelmed with negative feelings for the first time really since arriving-- I didn't feel good vibes from my new crew, I missed my old friends, I was feverish for the 3rd day with a strange illness and I could not shrug the chills for the life of me. When humidity and cold settle in together it becomes full body discomfort, and the fever only made it worse. I got homesick fast. I went to sleep that night vowing to have a better attitude the next day and clear my mind of negativity before starting.
    • My attitude paid off. I LOVE MY TEAM! The very next day we began getting to know each other and the shock of being with new faces began to dissipate. I'll get into the specifics about them later.
  • First day of work!
    • Two days ago we did our first hands-on work, helping with a trail in the heart of Baltimore. For the first half of the day we picked up trash along the stream, sides of the streets, and near the trail. We found many car parts (some wrecked), including tires, 5 hubcaps, a door frame, rear window, car battery, etc. Also found used condoms, tiny coke-bags, a .45 caliber handgun, lots of food wrappers and containers, grocery socks galore and MANY urine bombs. I nearly hurled when I picked up a bottle and dumped urine all over my leather gloves. That stench was sickening. For the latter half of the day (after eating lunch without being able to wash my hands and using gobs of hand sanitizer) we did trail clearing, removing invasive species! We removed bush honeysuckle, some strange thorny plant, and also rose vines that were not natural to the area. It felt so good to be doing physical labor and to see the fruits of our labor at the end of the day.
  • PT!
    • More commonly known as physical training, our mandatory PT is quickly becoming my friend. I really enjoy getting my heart rate up during dancing and cycling, but I'm finding pleasurable alternatives that I haven't explored in quite a few years. Running will soon be close to a daily activity, by choice. We have 5:00 am PT once a week doing fun things like crunches, push-ups and leg lifts. I enjoy that quite a bit. One evening a week we get to go to the YMCA building for about an hour, and we can swim, play court sports, or use the machines. I enjoyed lifting weights this week (cardio made breathing even more painful). Oh yeah! I passed my "pack test," the physical endurance exam required for those wanting to be trained as firefighters. The requirements were that we would go 3 miles in 45 minutes with a 45 pound pack, and we could ONLY walk. Anything else would get us disqualified. I don't think I'll get into the firefighting program because I didn't have the greatest time, and they only will talk 45 of the 70 people that passed, but I am happy that I passed. I look forward to all disaster relief and not only being able to help with fires.
  • Sleep!
    • It's the weekend. And 4:17 am is here. I have so much more to tell. I'll try and come back tomorrow for more but now I'm going to bed and not getting up until my body wants to.

PS. I'm now certified by the red cross in CPR & first aid. Yes. And here's another picture.


  1. The dude in the picture looks super happy for some reason. Is he growing a beard? :P

  2. Of course the guy in the picture would look happy...look who he has his arm around ;)

  3. You remind me of your mother: talented, charitable and an incredibly hard worker! Keep up the postive attitude!
    love ya,


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