So I've now been in Nashville for eight days and am starting to feel settled. I arrived at the "tool shed," which is somewhat appropriately named since it looks like a tool shed and is painted green, last Saturday before lunch. As you can imagine, a lot has happened in the last eight days, so in respect for brevity I'm going to "bullet."
* I met Susan the site coordinator, who is sort of like my liaison with the church and my job but really much more than that--I've seen her seven out of the last eight days. She's incredibly organized and thoughtful and picks up on "hints" really well. For example, I mentioned that I did not have any coffee filters nor did I know how to make coffee. So Susan shows up the next morning with filters and a lesson. I've been mentioning my fondness for jacuzzis, but no luck yet.
* I met my roommate Leslie. She's 23, from Charlotte, majored in biology at Chapel Hill, and spent the last year in this same program--except she spent 11 months in Guatemala. It sounds like it was an intense experience and that she formed some really strong friendships with her host family. Despite the fact that we're very different, we are getting along well. We both cut up a lot, like to eat, and enjoy exercise, so that's a good start:) Oh, she's never heard of Family Ties or Different Strokes, but I'm trying to get over that. She's on the far left in the photo above.
* I've been slightly "orientated" to this church (I actually live on the church property) and its staff, which has been a bit of culture shock. This is easily the most liberal church I'm aware of (after all I've lived in Georgia my entire life), much less a part of, so I've been "processing" a lot. I'm looking forward to understanding more about why some people believe what they believe, etc. In addition, this is the most socially aware and engaged church I've ever attended. I LOVE how this church is sharing Christ's love with the world with programs like A Room in the Inn (providing a meal and place to sleep for homeless people in the winter), Habitat for Humanity work days, an upcoming mission trip to help Katrina victims, annual trips to Guatemala, letter writing campaigns for Darfur, etc. Plus a lot of the members are personally volunteering through mentoring programs, Meals on Wheels, etc.
* I joined a gym. And it has 18,000 members, a parking deck, and is sponsoring a COOKIE fun run this next Saturday. Yes, you read correctly. It's like my two passions are merging together to raise money for a good cause. Since I'm watching the spending, I'll be getting cookies and a free tee shirt by volunteering (calling out split times) instead of actually running the race. Sweet deal except for that entire 7:00 a.m. report time.
* I got a library card, which is only notable because the libraries here are awesome. You can check out your own books; they have everything under the sun; and you can return your books/DVDs (checking out The West Wing soon, assuming I become motivated enough to hook up the DVD player) at any branch.
* Completed a scavenger hunt with my lovely roomie. See how thoughtful I look in the Civil Rights Room of the downtown branch of the public library? We added a stop at the Pied Piper Creamery, which serves delicious homemade ice cream including fun flavors like "White Trash" and "Are you there God? It's me Margarita." Plus they give lots of free samples and big scoops.
* Met my boss, who seems great and very enthusiastic, and toured my new place of work. I asked where my secretary would sit, but at this time office space seems to be limited:) Anyway, I start work tomorrow and am to report at 8:45.
* Went to the Greek Festival with the former NEPs (the people who did this program last year) and saw some cool dancing and ate a yummy dessert.
* Watched UGA lose and ate sushi with a high school friend who lives here.
* Was commissioned today at church and enjoyed a reception afterwards. I've met a lot of nice people and am doing my best to remember names.
* Attended FIVE church services in seven days.
* Had my first guest blogger.
Bottom Line: I've received a super warm welcome, am adjusting well despite a little reluctance to return to working tomorrow, and think this is going to be an awesome year.
p.s. I'm grateful for all of the free food we received this week. We had lots of lunches, dinners, and cookouts--and food was given to us (i.e. a huge bag of cheese cubes from the reception today:)