On the road

First day for our team FITting in — a great team bonding road trip that ended with a lot of laughters.

The morning started out a little grey, rain pouring down when we tried to pile all the packages into the vans. But by the time we got to Durham county in North Carolina, seeing the warm sunset outside the window made our bumpy trip totally worth it. After we settled in, and had a dinner served by our host in Chestnut Ridge, we had more team bonding games in our lodge– Mafia is one of my favorites. “Successfully” being a Mafia until Dale(the narrator) gave out the secrets! We had so many laughters until midnight. And the group made me feel more comfortable to open up myself!

After today, after getting to know each one in the team much better, I cannot wait for the upcoming week and adventure that awaits us!

The Trek

No, I don’t mean Star Trek…today we started the long journey from Lafayette to Chesnut Ridge Retreat Center in North Carolina. We left Lafayette campus at 8:30 am, bright eyed and bushy tailed. We were all ready to go. Eleven hours later, after endless road trip games, sing alongs, and naps (especially by a certain team member) we arrived at our destination!! Right away, I knew we would be getting the full camping experience, and I was very excited, as long as S’mores would be a part of the deal. After a great dinner thanks to Chesnut Ridge and much to the surprise of the group, we played some interesting ice breakers. Things got pretty heated, but in the end we are a better team because of it. Overall, it was a great way to spend our first day. WE OUT!

Marissa Stop Accussing Me

The first day of our trip is in the books! The drive was very long, but thankfully we played a lot (and I mean A LOT) of games in the car to keep us entertained. We learned that Luis might possibly be colorblind because he thinks lemonade is green, and that Zach can sleep for a full day and still be tired. Mary also paid her first toll and pumped her own gas! They grow up so fast. We stopped at California Tortilla where Kaitlin and Luis decided to chug hot sauce for fun. We arrived at Chestnut Ridge at 7:30ish, we ate dinner as a team and did some team bonding. Tomorrow we’re doing a cultural activity, and Monday starts the real fun! I’m so excited to see what the rest of the week brings!

Hello North Carolina!

We made it at last! After hours of driving, laughing at good (and bad) jokes, and the occasional foot cramp, we arrived in sunny  North Carolina! Although it was dark and late, we were all very happy to be at our new home for the next week! Once we moved in, enjoyed a delicious dinner and three ninja games later, everyone was ready for the next day! As we all settled down for the night, I thought “I wonder what’s next? What awaits us tomorrow? What will the week bring?” As I turned over in my bunk bed and looked out into the darkness, I knew this break would be one to remember.

What’s Gross National Happiness?

12 hours of team bonding, 20 questions, and pump up music later, we arrived in North Carolina!  Everyone here is so friendly and kind.  For me, yesterday was an exercise in being gumby and in trusting the process.  Our vans were quite packed (one might even say cramped), and we were driving for 12 hours in the rain.  However, we all kept a positive attitude and turned the experience into a great bonding time.  I was also so nervous the night before because I knew I would be driving for a large portion of the trip.  I have an almost maternal attitude towards everyone in ASB.  I want so badly for everyone to have a safe, meaningful, affirming experience.  While the first toll I went through was a little panic-inducing, and the Jersey-girl I am struggled with pumping gas (shout out to our friendly neighborhood Zack for swooping in and saving the day), everything else went smoothly!  I even took the lead for the second leg of our journey.  ASB is all about pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone.   Yesterday reminded me to trust that process this week and to trust in my team to be there to help me when I run into roadblocks, both literally and figuratively.  I can’t wait to see where this week takes us!

Hot Sauce Showdown

The day started off with weather I hadn’t seen in a while nor did I want to see on the day we were starting our trip: rain. From trying to use the sleeping bag cover to protect the pillow from getting wet to keeping half of my body dry while the other half was out of the car as we fit our luggage, we somehow managed to fit in 12 people and bags in 2 vans. Spending most of the way there getting much deserved sleep was the right decision, at least for me. The rest was spent singing along to music, playing 20 questions with words/phrases like Gross National Happiness, ..-.-.-.–.-.(Morse Code) and Ali Baba, and trying to consume the sauces from the Wall-of-Flame ranging from your average Death Sauce to the menacing Endorphin Rush. Finally arriving, eating food and settling in led us to playing a series of games which involved a lot of karate/ninja chops and pretending to be townspeople out to find out who the MAFIA among us was (one of the MAFIA’s hits was coincidentally, by hot sauce). Safe to say , by midnight, we all (except for me because I slept most of the way here) were falling over each other to get to sleep.

Quite Amp Up for Tomorrow

It is surprising and quite disturbing  to find out that things have not fully recovered even after a decade, even in a country like America. I wonder how long will my country, one of the countries with the lowest GDP will ever get back to where we used to be, after Nargis Cyclone.

We are teaming up with St. Bernard to renovate a house. Prior to the trip, each team members had to research about the economic, social, and other aspects of the city and present it at the meeting.

It would be better for me personally, if I have been to New Orleans before Katrina Hurricane so I can know what New Orleans was like and what it is now. To be honest, I don’t know if would find the aftereffects of the Hurricane though.

Team Life After Disaster

It is hard to believe that we will be on the road tomorrow! The trip approached so quickly, but I think we are all really excited for the trip to finally be here. Tonight our team had a pizza party with the other ASB Team Fitting In and my team will be staying over in our team leader’s common room because we will be leaving at 4:30 tomorrow morning for our flight.

I am fortunate enough that this is my second ASB trip. Last year I was on team Chicago and had the oportunity to volunteer in Charter schools in Chicago. It was a really great experience, I learned so much and enjoyed spending time with my team. I am looking forward to what team Life After Disaster has to offer!

Getting ready for PlayWorks!

It’s a strange feeling to be sitting here, writing my last pre-trip ASB blog post.  This will be my fourth, and last, Lafayette ASB trip.  I remember being so nervous before my first trip and not fully understanding what I was getting myself into.  I certainly did not expect to become so deeply involved in ASB.  Three years later, I feel much more prepared and excited for this trip.  I think our team has formed strong bonds with each other already, which we will need for this week.  We have discussed causes of childhood obesity at great length and have come to understand that this is a social issue, not just an individual health issue.  Our education the past few months will put our service in a new, more informed context.

I am very much looking forward to the coming week.  As intern, I have been working since last April to help plan these trips start to finish.  While my experience on Executive Board has given me a new appreciation for the work needed to make these trips a reality and helped me develop valuable skills that I can apply to multiple areas of my life, I think sometimes I lose sight of why we work so hard to put these trips together.  In the midst of reserving vans and compiling housing information, it’s hard to remember the mission and vision of our club.  Finally going on this trip will be meaningful not only because I’ll experience the end result of all our planning, but also because I think it will help me remember my values and why I wanted to devote so much of my college career to ASB in the first place.

My First ASB Trip

Hello y’all! Tomorrow I will be leaving for New Orleans and I couldn’t be more excited. This is also my first ASB trip through Lafayette and I have no idea what to expect. I am looking forward to bonding with my fellow teammates, learning more about the New Orleans culture, and listening to some swinging jazz music. Getting away from the snow and cold will also be a plus, hopefully I will get a tan. I’ve never participated in community service that has involved this much physical work, but I am eager to learn new skills and make a difference in the community. Good luck to the other ASB group, Fitting In. It was great to meet you guys and I wish you nothing but success and good times.