Saturday, November 12, 2005

Atlanta and pre-Thanksgiving

Hello to all! I am in Atlanta right now visiting Alexia (my cousin). My teammate, Whitney, and I drove down yesterday. It's about 4 1/2 hours from Charleston and we got Veterans day off (being a federal employee rules!)--so, we decided to drive on down and hang out.
Atlanta is a beautiful city! It's "cityesque", but it has trees everywhere that are starting to change color--so pretty! :)It's also fairly cold. Well, it's cold to me because I just came up from Miami where it's like 85 degrees with humidity. Basically, my body hasn't adjusted to cooler weather yet. Charleston is pretty cool, weather wise, right now as well. Something I will have to get used to! :)
So, about "pre-Thanksgiving"--Alexia and two of her cousins from Uncle Bob's family decided to have a pre-thanksgiving because they weren't going to be together for the actual Thanksgiving (at least I think that's what the story is... it could be more complicated, but that story works for my purpose!). They just happened to be having the dinner today, which is GREAT news for me! I LOVE TURKEY! So, I'm kinda going to have a thanksgiving celebration this year, which I thought wasn't going to happen at all. In case you're confused as to why, we only get Thanksgiving day off, not the friday--so I can't really fly home. Plus, it's only 4 more weeks until I'll be flying home for Christmas--Yea! :)Long story short--I probably will be doing something for the holiday, but it won't be "traditional." Anywho, I've gone on way to long about this! Sorry!

In case you're wanting a bit more information on what I actually did during my first spike, here's a bit of a breakdown:
1. The first week we picked up about 2 tons of trash and debris that was along the parks that border Biscayne Bay. It was gross, nasty, smelly work, but we did it and we did it well. We worked with a lot of the Solid Waste workers from the city of Miami--they were pretty funny and it was fun talking to them about their city and telling them about our program. I think they thought we were all pretty crazy. :)
2. We spent the next week in Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. I wrote a lot about my time there so I won't go into to much detail. I'll sum it up with these words: Canoes, lopers, motorboats and ATV's.
3. We went back to Miami about 3 days after Hurricane Wilma hit the Miami area to a house without power. For three days we worked with the City and FEMA distributing ice, water and food at three different locations. It was hard work--my arms were bruised and my back was killing me, but it was amazing to be working there and seeing the faces of those who were affected. It's something that I will never forget.
After that, we spent the rest of our time working on Virginia Key. We removed a whole lot of "invasive exotic plants" (aka weeds) from areas that had native plants. We worked on clearing out the nature trail so that people would be able to acutally walk through it and we worked in the nursery--cleaning it up and transplanting different species so that they could develop a bit more and then be moved out into the hammock area. We also planted some new plants while we were there. Overall, I think we got a lot done for the area. If we had more time and no hurricane, I think we could have done a lot more, but I was pleased with what we did accomplish.

Overall, we had a pretty atypical first spike and we had a lot of bad luck. I hope that it doesn't follow us for the rest of the year! :)

All for now-- the turkey is calling my name!
Grace and Peace.

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