Sunday, September 30, 2012

First week down...

Things are starting to fall into place. Not that you can anticipate much of anything that happens as a Student Host, but the part that is routine is setting in. Its a lot of trouble shooting and damage control. Which is fine by me.

Most of last week was fairly quiet. I did training, explored the campus, met a lot of people, danced, hung out around the camp fire, and knitted. This week I have my first class. I'm taking Pine Needle Basketry. I'll be sure to post pictures of my project once my camera gets here. Which will hopefully be tomorrow.

Our new students and instructors arrived this afternoon and classes started this evening. I feel like I should have more to share, but until I can take some photos, there isn't much to report. Life has certainly slowed down since I got here. This is a pace that I love. Even if the work is 24/7, not constantly feeling anxious and worried about my job is wondrous.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My new world....

My journey was long, but here I am on day 3 of living at the folk school. I've unfortunately left my camera at my sister's in IL, so until she ships it too me I can't share any pictures. This week is pretty laid back and I'm not taking a class, as they like to give the Junior Host time to transition in to the surroundings. This is very important, considering I'm one of very few hosts to have never been to the school before. Normally, a host has either attended a class or been a work study prior to getting awarded the position. I feel pretty lucky to have been chosen without having done either.

 I feel like I'm doing a pretty good job on navigating, but I'm certainly lacking some of the "jump in and get it done" attitude that I tend to exude. Right now I'm shadowing Sadie, the Senior Host, and Tammy, my boss. Things seem to be going fairly well and I'm sure I'll feel like an old pro in a couple of weeks, but for now I'm still a little lost.

The meals have been amazing! I'm so glad they are able and willing to make me "special" food. The tofu scramble at breakfast has been spectacular and last night the spicy chickpea and tomato dish was so good I over ate. Everyone here is super nice and helpful. It's a very positive and caring community. Which is exactly what I need.

Tonight is my first folk school dance. I'm excited and a bit nervous. Its been a long time since I've done what I consider "real" dancing. By that I mean dances that have actual steps to them and aren't just people grooving to the music. I'll start my first class next week. I'm taking Pine Needle Basketry. Should be fun and it's something completely outside my skill set.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


This morning promises to be a perfect late summer day. I'm sharing an outside table at the food co-op with a tiny sparrow. There is a delicate breeze blowing across the patio. I had forgotten how amazing it is to have a plethora of vegan options. I was a little overwhelmed looking at the breakfast possibilities in the bakery/deli case before me. Today I settled on a chocolate chip scone and a cup of coffee. I'm unsure what to do with the remainder of my day I might drop in for a class at Amara Yoga. I could also take in the sculpture walk at Meadowbrook Park. This day is filled to the brim with possibilities.

Comfort of feeling at home...

I'm currently a day behind on posting. This is an entry that I made in my notebook yesterday afternoon while I was waiting for Palmer to finish up at work.

"The first thing I'm comforted by are the familiar smells of places from my not so distant past. Baked goods and coffee at Art Mart. The produce section at Common Ground Food Co-op. The mustiness of vintage clothes at Dandelion. Crisp Apples and pumpkin pie at Curtis Orchard. The distinct smells of home.

Greeted with big hugs, kisses to the cheek, the words, "I knew I heard your laugh!". Proof that no matter where I go, or what I do, Champaign-Urbana will always feel like home. I drove passed all my old "homes". The house on Hill St, where my studio apartment goes on without me, seemed to be saying, "Welcome Back". I've certainly missed it most since my move.

Its funny seeing familiar faces and wondering if they recognize me. Its amazing what looks the same and what looks so different. There was a part of me afraid I'd feel strange being back, that it wouldn't leave me feeling as calm as when I left. What a silly thought to have had. After all everyone told me when I left, "You can always come home". And even though its only for a few days, I certainly have."

Last night Palmer and I went to Siam Terrace for an amazing dinner. I had forgotten how good and how spicy their Mock Duck Basil was. So happy I have a little left over for lunch today.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

On my afternoon walk...

While I was on my walk around Decatur Lake, I got to see the local Sailboat Club out and about as well as a Heron perched on one the docks. What a beautiful day to be out on the water.

On my way...

My journey officially began at 7:30 am on Friday. I wanted the first day of the trip to be the longest amount of driving, to make the rest easy. I drove the 8.5 hours to Omaha, NE to stay with Carl's cousin. We had a wonderful night filled with many a glass of wine. I had originally planned to spend the whole weekend in Omaha visiting all the vegan hangouts. Instead, I opted for an extra day in Illinois.

I let myself sleep in on Saturday, since my drive to Decatur was only 7.5 hours. My route took me through northern Missouri. It was a beautiful drive filled with lots of trees, farmland, and sandstone cliffs. Robin and I celebrated my arrival with a Mexican fiesta. I had really missed traditional Mexican food while I was living in South Dakota. Texmex just doesn't do it for me.

Robin has to work today, so I'm on my own until this evening. So far today, I've posted to Season of The Vegan, read part of A Discovery of Witches, ran on Robin's treadmill, and had a tasty lunch. I think I'll take a walk and explore around the lake this afternoon.

Tonight I'm going to make us an amazing dinner. BBQ Tempeh, Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes, and Wild Rice are on the menu. Tomorrow we have plans to go to a local coffee shop, Wildflour ,for breakfast, go hiking, and then enjoy some Indian food for dinner.

Thus far I'm having a lovely time on my sabbatical. I can't believe I'm only a couple weeks away from my time at JCCFS. I'm so excited!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Almost time...

Well, I have less than 48 hours until I hit the road. I've nervous, excited, and can't seem to shake the feeling that I'm forgetting to do something important. I have a "To Do" list that seems to grow by the hour. I'm going to start packing the car late this afternoon. Before I start packing, I have to get the oil changed and spend a good amount of time at the car wash.

Carl and I spent the weekend in Sioux Falls for Ted and Savannah's wedding. It was beautiful! I always have a great time hanging out with Carl's family. They're such a fun loving bunch of characters. We had planned to come back on Monday afternoon, but we were still so tired and having so much fun that we stayed an extra night.

Here's my updated travel agenda:

Friday 9/7 Leave Rapid City, lunch in Sioux Falls with Savannah, stay the night in Omaha with Carl's cousin Stacey

Saturday 9/8 Leave Omaha, drive to Decatur, IL and stay with Robin

Tuesday 9/11 Drive to CU and stay with Palmer and/or Jen

Wednesday 9/12 Get together at The Blind Pig

Friday 9/14 Drive to Naperville

Monday 9/17 Drive to Carmi

Tuesday 9/18 Get together at Dimaggio's

Friday 9/21 Drive to Brasstown, NC and camp with my folks

Sunday 9/23 Move into my rooms at JCCFS