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End Term week…

Sunday, June 17, 2007
(It is way too late for me to go through and link to everything... I will hopefully go back and add links when I get back next week, but for now it is a blogging hiatus for a week)

It is fairly surreal to be really done with the US-2 program. Leaving my friends that I have been so close to for the last 2 years was difficult, but it was ok because we all chose to say see you soon. We’re planning our own reunion, and are thinking about doing it in the great state of New Mexico during Balloon Fiesta in October of 2008. For sure, we will all come together again at some point.

This week has certainly had its ups and downs, all of us dealing with the past 2 years of service sometimes causes serious emotional distress. I got here on Saturday and hung out with Tiffany. We were the first to come in because we couldn’t get here on time on Sunday, so we got to fly in a day early. We went to church on Sunday morning at Origins church, which was a really good experience. You can check out the podcast by checking out Origins website. It is certainly a sermon worth checking out.

Sunday, Sarah had arrived early in the morning and slept while Tiff and I went to church, then Bre was there when we got back so we all went and grabbed lunch at our favorite brunch place, artepasta. Mary walked by and joined us as we finished up and headed back to AMH.

By that point everyone was there, so we went out to dinner and spent the evening hanging out. It is always amazing to me just how easy it is to be with the group. Though we come from different places and different backgrounds, we all mesh so amazingly well.

Monday was our first day to share, and we also did a GBGM podcast. I’ll link to that when it goes up. Monday night, of course we went and sang some karaoke because that is what we do on Monday nights.

Tuesday was more sharing and then we worked at getting to our feelings about the last 2 years. We did that both Tuesday and Wednesday, which was really difficult but ultimately rewarding. Processing 2 years of service in difficult situations certainly was an interesting task, but it was something that needed to happen.

Tuesday night was really cool because it was the Museum Mile Festival. We headed over to the Met, got in for free, wandered around and then met up with our first MIRYAP Barbara for dinner. There were street performers along the mile, and although we only went in the Met (because it is huge and there is some cool stuff there), we had a ton of fun.

Wednesday was good, we talked about our feelings again, but then Wednesday night was also pretty tough because one of our classmates had to leave early. Her husband had a death in the family, so she headed to be with him and to travel back home to Ohio for the funeral. It was hard saying goodbye, and the rest of the week wasn’t quite the same without her.

Thursday we went up to the Church Center at the UN and participated in a seminar called art as social change. We made masks to reflect who we are, we created a song about our experiences, and watched some movies about social issues. We then took a tour of the UN and had the craziest tour guide ever. That night, I met up with my friend John who had moved from Albuquerque to NYC in January. He came out with the rest of the group and we definitely had a great time.

Friday was our day off, so we got up and went in to China town. We did lots of shopping, and saw some crazy things. I got some sub par Boba tea, so I am excited to get back to Albuquerque and get some stuff that is good. The place we picked for me to get some was a really annoying restaurant instead of an actual boba tea place, so I was a little disappointed because they don’t specialize in it.

We headed back and tried to figure out what to do for Bre’s birthday, and decided upon this City party nights cruise that was a 2 hour cruise around Manhattan. We had lots of picture taking opportunities, and went by all of the cool sights of Manhattan. It was a fantastic way for us to end our term together for sure.

This morning we had our closing worship and all took off for the airport. I got to sit in the airport for 3 + hours because we all shared a taxi into LaGuardia and had to come early for some other flights and then I got delayed even further of course. I basically had a rough air travel day today and though I was supposed to get home before 8, walked into my house more like 12:15 am. Now it is a bit of sleep then off to El Paso for the mission trip. It will be a fantastic trip, no doubt, but I certainly am going to have to call on some energy from God to get me through it. Thankfully, once it is over, I have a chance to breathe a bit.

safe in NYC!

Saturday, June 09, 2007
For once I am the first US-2 to make it to Alma Matthews. The positive of this is that I get to be here an extra day, the negative is that I get to sit around and wait for other people to show up. The first should be arriving any time now, then the rest tomorrow.

This should be a time of relaxing, hanging out with some amazing people, eating good food and just in general having fun.

I'm about 90% done with stuff for the mission trip which is a lot further than I was last week. I managed to get a lot of it done during the craziness of music camp and answering questions and following kids around making sure they weren't hurting anyone or anything.

It is crazy for me to look back earlier in the summer about how much this travel stuff in May and June was going to be rough. It certainly has been, but God has blessed me with great friends to help me through it all, and some amazing stamina to get through it. I could certainly stand to not get on a plane for awhile though. It is amazing how much plane flights just wear me out. I still have a lot to get through though, but I am certain that God will keep me going through it all.

I think I'm gonna go get my book while I'm waiting for other people to get here. Just seems like a good time to get a little more reading in. More on what I've been reading is forthcoming for sure...

music camp, a broken car, and traveling lots...

Thursday, June 07, 2007
This has been music camp week which came right on the heels of being at home for Avery's baptism. I've also been a maniac about figuring out stuff for the mission trip this week as I will be in NYC next week for my end term event as a US-2.

Music camp is this phenomenon that is really like no other. This year, around 50 kids have descended upon the church to put on a musical. They learn the songs, their lines, and have fun doing it during the week and present it on Sunday. I didn't help last year because I was at annual conference in Illinois, but this year I'm here helping instead of back there doing the voting thing at conference. A shout out to all my Illinois Great Rivers folks at conference.... wish you were here... ha! (notice, I didn't say wish I was there.... I'm hearing the stories about how ridiculous the voting has been so far for GC)

I take off Saturday to hang out with my US-2s one last time at Alma Matthew's, but leading up to that, my car died. At a busy intersection. My friends came to the rescue and got me out of the jam, but it was a less than pleasant experience. But after a new alternator and spending almost all of my salary for a month on repairs, my car runs again! Thankfully I should be able to make it through the end of my term ok financially as long as no other major thing breaks on my car before I finish.

I've been talking about cupcakes and where to go to church Sunday in the city, and what we'll be doing and when we get in via email with the other US-2s this week. I am ecstatic to see them but already thinking about Saturday when we all leave NYC. It is gonna be so strange to be done with this program for sure, but it will always be a part of me and hopefully we'll all try to keep up with each other as we part ways. It really is an amazing group of young people that I am so thankful to be a part of.

When I get back, it is a night at home then back on the road to the mission trip. I'll probably blog from NYC, but I don't think there is internet access anywhere near us in El Paso, so stuff from that may have to wait. They both should be great trips but I have a seriously busy day tomorrow getting ready to go on both of them. It is definitely going to be a busy two weeks!
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