The Rain Never Bothered Us Anyway

Every day I have peered into the art room, hoping for a glimpse of the masterpieces the girls and boys have created. Finally, I was in the right place at the right time, when the art teacher walked into the teachers lounge. When she offered the opportunity to look into her class, the art major in me had to stop myself from sprinting down the hall. I helped her remove the very abstract clay turtles from the kiln so that the third graders could paint them. To be honest, I think I was more excited than the students. Besides the fact art was being made, it was an opportunity to observe them in a different setting. I have played with these children for the past 4 days, and seen how effective Playworks is there. However it was nice to see how the skills they have developed outside translate to the classroom. Today we also helped to prepare a garden for the students to plant later on. The knowledge of all things that our Living Learning Partner, Tim, has came in handy when we casually built an irrigation system. It was tested when it rained soon after. Because of the rain, we played penguin tag in the first graders classrooms, which was adorable. When it was over, I tried to leave and I got swarmed by children and couldn’t move. Naturally the only thing to do in a situation like that is to turn onto an iceberg until Tim heroically used his magical polar bear abilities to save me. Before it rained, I ended with a soccer game of Volunteers vs. Students. We narrowly lost by one, which was impressive because there were 4 of us and 30 of them! Despite the rain, it was another great day of service and I am excited for tomorrow!

4 on 3

We started our day at the school garden. We spent the morning weeding, cleaning and preparing the garden for the kids to plant in. As the gardening was going on Julia got on her knees proposed to Marissa and Marissa said yes and accepted the grass ring due to lack of better options. I spent the last 10 minutes of this period annoying Bowden just because. After lunch we had recess as usual and it went smoothly. I played penguin tag with first graders and still managed to get tagged two minutes into the game. Forth graders didn’t seem to be very excited about “fishy fishy cross my ocean” but we managed to get some people to play and follow the rules. The rain brought down my energy level but soon recess ended we moved on to making anti bullying posters. Kaitlin’s artistic talents made this process easy and everyone else pretty much traced. However, Dale was eager to take control of his own life so he made the poster without much help. I colored the letters… Our drive back to chestnut Ridge was brightened by Zack’s beautiful voice. After devouring chicken fried rice and pumpkin cheesecake we watched the Lafayette Basketball game. Good job. Nice try boys. We ended the night after reflection and a painful game of mafia.

Happy hump day! It’t the third day of our service and I am still keeping the energy going!
The special project of the day is to create a walking path at the school’s bus stop site for children and staffs to exercise. In the morning session, our team divided into different specialty groups which includes measuring the path’s length, creating footprint stencils, and marking the pathways with chalks. After recess sessions, we continued the project by coating the footprint trace with yellow paints. During recess, I already saw kids walking around the unfinished path, and nothing could compare to the satisfaction that the kids’ smiles can give me.
It stroke me today that it had been an amazing learning experience working with this diverse team. As Mary pointed out during reflection, we have people who are good at maths and calculations, people who excels on the recess soccer fields, and people that are artistically talented. ASB has drawn people from different fields together to tackle the same goal; we divide and conquer!

North Carolina just got……..colder

Hump Day!! Another interesting day of ASB! While working with the kids today, I had a couple of unique expierences.  Between trying to stay warm (so much colder today), playing flag tag with a 4:1 ratio, and a particular awkward encounter. An encounter where I needed to reconsider my efforts.

As as recess began for the third time of the day, Fatima and I began to jump rope with a group of kids. As I attempted and failed to jump rope, one of the kids didn’t talk much. I introduced myself and thier was no response. The kid’s shirt was in all spainish and as a grip up we were told a language barrier would be present, so, I assumed this student did not speak English. Attempting to get past the language barrier, I decided to speak Spainish. After about 2 sentences of “Spainish”, the student politely told me they could speak English. So the student was just quiet and I assumed wrong…..that’s not akward……

All in all, I overcame the little akward occurrence and it was a good day. After this incident, I had a good conversation with the student; however, I’m sure I learned more than her. I learned more about her and a very simple thing: Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.





Zach and Bo: Recess Celebrities

Today was a super eventful day here in North Carolina. It was our second day of service, and I had a great time. We started off organizing the physical education closet in the morning. At first it seemed like an overwhelming and impossible task, but we worked well as a team and finished the job in two hours. It looks awesome now and it’ll be a lot easier to find supplies. The cleaning of the supply closet was followed by 3 and a half hours of recess. I didn’t realize how tiring it would be but it was really fun. I played soccer and flag tag with the students. Zach and Bo are like celebrities here and are constantly being pulled to play different games. The students still only refer to Zach as “Zach Efron,” and I can think of at least 5 girls that have a crush on Bo. Their egoes are getting out of control (totally kidding). We participated in a co-ed volleyball practice after recess. The positivity and support of the students towards one another was awesome! Every time someone made a mistake (including me because I messed up SO much) the students would tell me that it was a nice try. It’s inspiring to see this level of maturity at such a young age. After practice, we came back to our camp and ate dinner and then Luis taught us how to dance! I didn’t realize it was possible to have as much rhythm as he does. I was definitely impressed. That’s it for today, but I’m really excited for tomorrow!

Taking it in, recovery

After a week of exams, interesting sleep cycles, and a plethora of exciment, we finally set out to North Carolina!!!

Our first day, started with some rain, some people that couldn’t get their bags to the meeting place because they overpacked (Dale!), and some dunking donuts.

Over the trip we ran into some complications, some of us forgot the color of lemons, some learned how to pump gas, and others thought that going against the Wall of Flame was a good idea.

When we got into Virginia, (which felt like Maryland btw) we stopped for food at California Tortilla. Best Mexican Food In The Nation (according to Marissa). We walked in and discovered their Wall of Fame, or should I say Wall of Flame. A collection of the tastiest, hottest, and craziest sauces in the world.

I was feeling adventurous and along with Kaitlin took on the challenge to find the hottest sause of ’em all. We started with a tasty lime Chalula. This wasn’t hot enough, and so we moved to Original Death Sauce (with chipotle) and a flaming smiling skull. We were ready for it, this was it, we poured some into our burritos, and after a toss took our first bite. This “Death Sauce” seemed so primising, I picked it up with the promise of a chanllenge, but I got nothing, it was mildly hotter than average hot sauce, but it certainly did not live up to its name.

Feeling accomplished at mocking Death, I walked back to the Wall of Flame looking for the next one. After thoughtfyl searching I came across Endorphin Rush. A name that was there to attract me, I’m sure. When I tried it, I felt a flame light up, the burrito suddenly had taking a spirit of its own and it was alive protesting to not be eaten, it was an intense fight. It was like biting into a fresh, ripe, habanero. All was white, white pain, I felt it in the back of my thoat, it was the sneaky kind, it goes by unnoticed, until it’s too late, until you have committed to swallowing the bite, and then the real punch takes you by surprise on its way down.

Let’s just say that 7 hours later I was still recovering.

Right now we’re on the hunt for the next Endorphin Rush.



The chirping of Bo’s Cousins

Imagine being on spring break and waking up as if you have an 8 am but with the excitement of a 9 year old just before recess which is exactly what we all were. The first day volunteering at the school and we were all pumped with energy. Honestly speaking, I did not expect myself to become as tired as I did but I guess after four hours of playing with little kids, one would kind of want to just nap, even on a blacktop. Thankfully, by 7 pm, I had eaten and showered(SUCH AN AMAZING FEELING). But the night was far from over. We headed out deeper into the forest to a bonfire area to the sound of chirping crickets and beetles(whatever sound they make but Bo recognized them as his cousins).From roasting S’mores to mad lib horror stories to light writing, it was definitely a night to remember. Although, I was so tired by the time we came back to the cabin that i fell asleep on the couch(just an average day for me though).

Young, Wild, and Free

I think I can speak for everybody on the trip when I say that today was an all around great day. We not only got to learn what Playworks (the organization we will be working with throughout the week, that encourages healthy play) was all about  but we finally got to play with the kids! At recess, I personally had a great time interacting with all different kids from a variety of age levels. It was especially rewarding to play games in which everybody was included, which I thought Playworks and the Coach did a great job organizing. It was really refreshing to see the smiles on all of the kids faces. Throughout the day, I was especially surprised how all of the teachers and students embraced us. It definitely made my experience a lot better knowing that the kids were genuinely happy to have us there with them. The kids also added some humor into our day. They referred to once of our trip members as Zac Efron (which I think boosted his ego just a little too much).  They were a great group of kids to work with and I hope that by the end of the trip I impact at least one child’s life.

One thing that really resonated with me was the Junior Coaches program. After we played recess for three hours we got to help out with this program. It encourages a selected group of kids to be leaders among their peers, especially in the recess environment. I think this program is so positive for the children’s self esteem. It was very obvious that they were all confident with themselves and their abilities to lead a group. I think it is a great thing to start at such a young age, and I hope it will have a positive impact on their future lives.

Overall, it was great to just be a kid again, and to relive my recess days. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the week brings, but as for now I definitely felt young, wild, and free.

In 45 mins…

Bowden said we would arrive in 45 mins and we drove for another 2 hours. We spent a whole day crammed in a van with pillows and luggage. I would not have survived if it wasn’t for Dale’s music. Around 7:30pm we made it home to mac & cheese and it was all worth it. Being super exhausted did not stop us from staying up and playing games until 12am. We played mafia for 3 hours and I didn’t get to be mafia once :(

On the bright side, I wasn’t the first one out of ninja  which is usually the case. I don’t remembef much of the late night activities because I was half asleep but stay tuned for updates on our adventure in North Catolina.

Just Add Hot Sauce

After about an 10 hour travel day, we have made it!!! We had some close calls, but my brave team handled them well.  Mary and I battled toll booths and then Luis and I took it a step further and conquered death.  Actually. We went to a Mexican food restaurant and tried a hot sauce called “death”.  It was really only injury worthy though: the real killer was one called “Endorphin Rush”.  The next time we challenged death was when they put me behind the wheel.  After my car learned that animals can love and what gross domestic happiness was through twenty questions, we finally got to Chestnut Ridge!  After dinner, we ended up playing Mafia for probably three hours.  People died from falling off of beds, parked cars, and tripping over pebbles. Others were wrongly incarcerated, some (like me) simply for “looking innocent” or others for moving.  We fought to the very end, but when it was over I felt so close to my team.  Put 15 strangers got in a car, add some hot sauce and some obstacles, and 10 hours later, you get a strange big family!