The Weekend at Last

It hasn’t been an especially long week, but I found myself excessively tired this morning.  After doing our morning with the young kids, I was glad to be on weekend.  Now I get a day and a half off before doing the intense last week of work here at the orphanage.  It’s been a great month for me–full of reflection and work and writing.  I have come up with several ideas for how to utilize my time in the Peace Corps.  Most of it requires wifi for faster internet.  So September is going to be an interesting month for me–looking for a new house and setting up the internet while I start working with the kids.

Today is the third day of The 50-Day Memory Challenge.  I wrote about last summer–reflecting on the massive fire that burned the mountains just outside my town.

Day Three: Watching Colorado Burn

Peace Corps Prom 2013

Last night was Prom.  After a good week of preparing, the committee was able to get the party off without a hitch.  All volunteers were supposed to represent either their state or their country.  A few people came in red, white, and blue.  But most people came as their state.  Lots of college shirts.  Someone dressed up as the statue of liberty.  I wasn’t sure what to wear to represent Colorado, so I showed up in a sweater.  A few of us talked about bringing our lighters to represent the fires—but that seemed a little inappropriate.

The evening started off with a few surprises.  For starters, the food.  This will not sound amazing for anyone who has not been away from American food for long periods of time.  But we had real pizza, club sandwiches, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and so much more.  Once everyone got their share, we were treated to a special song.  Someone from our Staj auctioned off “An original Blues Song of your life” at the Skills Auction.  An older volunteer—and my fellow CBT mate—won that auction.  After that, we watched a five minutes movie thanking the staff.  We crowned our two members of our staff Prom King and Prom Queen.

Then the music started.

Two and half hours of dancing in horrible heat is a bit much.  The thing is, we are in the Peace Corps.  When you are used to going without showers for long periods of time and are completely comfortable talking about your bowel movements with everyone, it is much easy to feel comfortable in a pool of your own sweat.   Plus, it is amazing to just let loose for just a few hours.  To top it off, we were treating to a well-organized flash mob.

We are all heading back to our sites tomorrow (or are starting the slow journey back to our sites).  That’s why last night was so important.  We have been so busy integrating and making sure we are respecting in our societies.  That leaves a lot of pent up energy and expression.  Having ten days here in Marrakesh—and a prom to top it off—is the perfect way to release that energy.  I’ve heard many reasons for why we have this training.  To go back over what we are doing here.  To give people a break so they don’t ET.  To bring the Staj closer together.

I honestly think all of that play into the need for this training.

I may not be going straight back to site (basketball camp), but I am certainly ready to get down to some real work in site.

 

Multiple Climaxes Revisited

I just finished the third draft of my latest novel.  I believe it is quite clean and ready for the eyes of family members and friends.  While reading it this time, I realized that I had organized the book in strange way.  I knew I gave it multiple climaxes.  That was on purpose.  What I didn’t realize was that each one was a different kind of climax.  First comes to the action climax.  Then comes the emotional climax.  Lastly comes to the story’s climax.  Each one has its own purpose.

I am very happy with the progress I have made on this novel–considering I’ve only really been working on it for three months or so.  I can’t wait to have someone else read it.  I’ll focus on something else tomorrow (probably the memory challenge).  After than, I am taking a road trip to see and old friend halfway across Colorado (I’m thinking about taking the long way past Colorado Springs to see how bad the fire is).  Until then!

Much Love,
Richard

The High Park Fire

The graphic above shows the burn area of the fire near town and the properties that we have been keeping a close eye on.  It’s been a long ten days.  The fire keeps throwing smoke into town.  When it’s not, it’s difficult to look away from the billowing smoke.  There’s talk about this fire going on for weeks.

I got a memory done.  It is below.  I realized late last night that my Elance project isn’t sue until tomorrow night…so I feel a bit better.  I am going to spend the rest of today editing and working on the Elance job.  I can’t wait until this week is over and I can just sit back with a  book.

Day Eight: Inauguration Road Trip

Order of Operations

I have three heavy-duty, time-consuming projects going on right now.  First, I’m four days into The 50 Day Memory Challenge.  Second, I have a large Elance job.  Third, I need to finish the third draft of my manuscript.  It’s getting difficult to sit down and figure out which one I should be working on.  This is the third day that it has been like this.  In the end, it goes like this.

1. Memory Challenge.  It’s quick and makes me feel creatively accomplished when I finish.
2. Elance.  Since I accomplish creativity early, I feel like I have the energy to do monotonous work.
3. Edit.  Doing this last means that I can do it for as long as I want without causing a problem.

I still might have to take a break to go on another adventure.  The fire here in Fort Collins is kind of crazy–37,000 acres in 48 hours.  It’s starting to hit the outer edge of town.  It’s still 0% contained and burning lots of houses to the ground.  I went on two expeditions yesterday–one brought us close to the flames.  The other got me pulled over.  What does today’s adventure bring?

Here is today’s memory:

Day Four: AIM Crush Realization

Fire a Brewing

I’ve become rather obsessed with the fire exploding outside town.  It started at 6:00AM yesterday morning.  Now, some 32 hours later, it is already bigger than 14,000 acres.  They are evacuating people on the north side of town and into the mountains.  After going for a swim in the Reservoir this morning, we drove as close to the fire as we could.  Although the fire was fascinating, it was the evacuating population that caught my attention.  Watching people loading up their vehicles.  One man was chasing down his dog.  At the evacuation center, young people were gathered in the parking lot because there was nowhere else to go.  It’s fascinating how disasters mess with culture.

I worked for several hours yesterday and hope to continue to do so today.  I am already deep into the third draft of my book.  I also got a lot done on my Elance job.  So…today will consist of more editing and hopefully finishing off the first part of the Elance job.  It’ll be hard work….but it’ll be worth it.  Until tomorrow, here is day three of my memory challenge.  It’s different than the others (and kind of cheating), but just go with it.

Day Three: The Abortion & Remembrance