As Spruce 6 ventures on the familiar trek back to Iowa for 2 weeks of closure, I’ll update you all on the life we lived in the lush, warm, hip city of Atlanta.
Upon arrival, we were temporarily lodged in a hotel located in downtown Atlanta on one of the numerous “Peachtree” Streets/Roads/Ways/Avenues. Apparently, Atlanta really really likes peach trees.
We were within close walking distance to Centennial Park, Georgia State University, Underground Atlanta, the Coca Cola Factory, the Atlanta Aquarium, and the Ferris Wheel (a defining feature of Atlanta’s skyline).
About halfway through the Round, our lodging was moved to a church in East Atlanta, where we would be residing with 3 other FEMA Corps teams for the reminder of our time in Atlanta. This was an interesting challenge (4 teams in one kitchen, common area & dormitory); but not unusual for AmeriLife. I loved it- we had the opportunity to meet Corps Members from other campuses, all at different stages of their service year and with unique perspectives on the program.
Our weekdays consisted of working in a FEMA Distribution Center, maximizing the logistical capacity of FEMA by essentially offering an extra set of hands to manage, handle, ship and receive FEMA’s disaster response materials. We were immediately certified in Forklift Operations (Yes, I know it is difficult to imagine a klutz like myself operating a forklift… No, I did not destroy everything in my path). I met some hilarious and wise characters, learned a whole lot about efficiency, and realized that I thoroughly enjoy doing hands-on labor.
Outside of the typical 40 hour work week, we spent the majority of our time exploring yet another new city. Below are some of our adventures:
- Wind-Down Wednesday: a free weekly springtime music event that takes place in Centennial Park
- Dogwood Festival: Piedmont Park is transformed into an enormous 3-day festival filled with hundreds of vendors, artisans, puppeteers, live music, rides, and a dog show
- Elevator Rides: we may have taken advantage of our free pool access at the nearby Marriot by sneaking in a ride on the insanely tall elevator
- Scolding by Park Security: we were innocently playing harmonica and washboard on some (forbidden) rocks at Centennial Park and were forced to recite the sign displaying park rules…4 times…each
- She Came From Above: my first Hard Core concert experience
- Mid-Day Naps: daily naps during lunch in the Atlanta sun
- Waffle House Wednesdays: persistent members of Spruce 6 graced the local Waffle House with our presence every Wednesday for lunch
- Morning “Mustards”: Spruce 6 musters every morning to talk about feelings and do a laugh-inducing silly activity
- Grant Park Imaginary Swamp: Spruce 6 had to evaluate the foreseeable environmental impacts of an impending hurricane at an imaginary swamp in Grant Park
- Family Easter: Spruce 6 spent the most delicious Easter lunch together at Daniel’s house- om nom nom Vegan cupcakes and creek-side mediations
- Amicalola Falls: an eclectic group from the 4 different teams adventured to Amicalola State Park (located near the base of Springer Mountain, the base of the AT)
- Froccer: an innovative cross between Soccer, Frisbee, and Truth or Dare
- Friendship Bracelets: for my Spruce 6 homies
- Venture Capitalist Project: convincing two venture capitalists to donate $10 million to a cause of our choice
- Little Five Points: a hip neighborhood in Atlanta filled with thrift & antique shops, used bookstores, bars, and aspiring artists
- Zeus: a fascinating character that owns a shop in Little Five, a jewelry maker that crafts with bronze and copper
- Letter Challenge: communicated with a special someone via letters (only) for 30 days ~ check!
- Columbia, SC: a much-needed visit to reunite with my long-lost friends at USC, accompanied by the one and only Daniel McCracken (expressing his unique hipsterdom in a confused southern city)
- MBTI: lots and lots of psychoanalyzing personalities
- Hodge Podge Open Mic: always impressive poetry performance by Annie Paradis and impromptu spoken word by yours truly
- Red Top Mountain State Park: a weekend camping trip filled with rain dances, hiking, bluegrass, skinny dipping, bacon S’mores, and loon calls
- Bruins: watching the playoffs with fellow sports fans…. And having my soul crushed
- MLK Jr. National Historic Site: an always needed reminder to appreciate our humble and historical leaders
- Himalayan Spice: Spruce 6 celebrated the round by eating delectable Indian and Nepalese food
- Feelings: we had lots of these… And learned to embrace them
That about sums up Round 3, folks! It’s hard to believe that we have two weeks left in this whole crazy AmeriCorps adventure. The end is near, and we are filled with bittersweet thoughts of nostalgia and excitement for what comes next.