Super Sunday.

This letter to an old friend sums up some of my feelings tonight. Mark was a friend from high school, a member of the social group I usually associated with. He did a term with NCCC last year at the Charleston campus and he was my first real introduction to the program. I remember reading his few & far between updates and seeing the photos and wishing I could know more about his life.

Dear Mark,

We have not had a real conversation since the winter of 2004. The memories I have of you are distant and mostly forgotten. I honestly don't know you any more.

BUT, I am feeling more connected to you than I ever did. It doesn't make much sense but you are the one person in my "previous life" that might have any clue what I am feeling right now. CTI is good. The Ameri-Bubble I'm living in is weird and I'm cut off from the outside world by choice. I see now how it is that you didn't keep up on myspace while you were gone-- there's so much more to be done. It's a hassle to reply to every email. It's a hassle to try and explain to others what my life is really like, because every explanation is the same and it can never contain what is really going on. Maybe I'm really not doing a lot here in training, but my brain is full.

We are leaving in two weeks for Biloxi, MS. Tonight my team watched Spike Lee's documentary "When the Levees Broke," a film about Hurricanes Katrina & Rita and the destruction in New Orleans. I watched it before coming but it has much more weight now knowing that soon we will be part of the response. I feel guilty for not doing anything before now. And I am thankful for everyone that has done their part before me, especially previous corps members (like you). Throughout CTI we've talked about the reactions some people have toward us as federal gov't employees, both negative and positive. We've been told we're lucky to have good reputations mostly because of previous corps members.

So thanks. Thank you for introducing me to NCCC. I can't imagine my life being any different right now.

How's life for you anyhow? I think you're going grad programs soon... right? Are you still with Heather? Are you still really cool? ha.

xoxo

I don't know what to tell people anymore. I get overwhelmed when I try to convey my feelings, my lifestyle, my team, all that I've learned, my worries and frustrations, and my utter happiness. I'll try and break it down.

My life is SO different now from what it was 2 months ago. I wake up every morning to spend the day in various trainings, including van driving, CPR, first aid, diversity, volunteer management, service learning, fire fighting, goal-setting, life after AmeriCorps, etc. They (the trainers, directors, leaders, etc) put a lot of stress on reflection; they want us to gain the most from our experiences as possible and that means we need to understand why we are here. We need to know what this means to us. Each individual has a different understanding of the program and our interpretations are all accepted. In my free time I do "nothing," but I'm always busy with something if I am awake. The food we've cooked, the goods I've crocheted and knitted, the places I've walked and the things of which we've talked, they all are making me a more conscious person. They give us a lot of time to think.

I'm tired. I need to go home and think some more while I crochet with my roommates. I love them. Them = Alyssa, Mara, Kendra, Emma, Katie, Mckenzie.

Eagle 4 is the name of my team. Team = Yvonne, Joel, Mark, Matt, Christian, Brett, Luis, Amy, Sara, Christy & Myself. We work well together and I'm excited for these next 9 months.

I would really love to send and receive mail, so if you would be so kind to send me an email with your mailing address I would appreciate it: a.rudd@aggiemail.usu.edu

If you feel so inspired to send me something, anything, you can send it here:

Amanda Rudd, Eagle 4
AmeriCorps NCCC, Class XIV
PO Box 209
Perry Point, MD 21902

It will get to me, no matter where I'm at. Unless it's a package. Packages don't get forwarded, we have to wait until we get back to the point.

I'm not homesick today. I just miss my family.

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