Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Scary But Exciting Beginning

I guess I should begin with a little background information....

My name is Amanda and I live in New York. I currently attend SUNY New Paltz and am a Photography major with a minor in Anthropology.

With that said, I have never blogged before. I thought it would be easy... I think a mile a minute but when I sat down to write hour ago!... I realized it would be a lot harder for me than origionally thought. But anyway, no more sidenotes...

The reason for this blog is to document my life in New Orleans, Louisiana over the course of the next 11 months. I will be working with an organization called Rebuilding Together New Orleans through Americorps. Although I am not there yet, I am constantly thinking of when I will be and how amazing this adventure will be.

I have worked with non-profit organizations in the past. All of my experiences have been good, despite the usual red tape, and I enjoy the work tremendously! I have mostly worked with Habitat for Humanity in Yonkers (NY), Guatemala, Newburgh (NY), Morehead City (NC), Hungary, and most recently New Orleans (LA). I started my High School's Habitat for Humanity chapter and my love for the organization grew from there. In college, I started as a general member, and then slowly became the co-president of the club. I participated in numerous builds in Newburgh, New York, as well as Collegiate Challenge trips to Morehead City, North Carolina, and New Orleans, Louisiana.

My crazy idea for the New Orleans experience was born sometime in September of last year. I was already settled in college life, and some of my classmates were beginning to think about studying abroad. As I looked for a photography study abroad program, I began to realize there weren't many to choose from, at least not any that jumped out at me. I was also thinking about New Orleans a lot firstly because it was the two year anniversary in August, but also because it was the scheduled destination of our Collegiate Challenge trip for the following March. I was doing a ton of research on the topic, and realized, the city was being rebuilt primarily by volunteers. Next, I began to do research on programs, about a semmester in length, that I could participate in in the city of New Orleans. I found the Rebuilding Together website and although they were a year long program, and although they weren't even taking applications for the following year yet, and although I knew my parents wouldn't be so excited about it, I knew that was what I wanted to do!

The rest is a blur of history. Our spring break trip was amazing and I met some really amazing Habitat people. It was followed my trip with the Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Work Project trip to New Orleans in May in which I worked on a blitz build and constructed a whole house in a week! I cut out of school early, and was able to survive taking finals early and moving out of my room much due to the help of my roomates and friends for keeping me sane!

There was one catch to this whole trip, this whole amazing adventure... I had to maintain my status as a fully matriculated college student. This meant I had to take 12 credits worth of classes while working full time... Not to mention, all of the courses had to be offered by my school! Through a long and grueling process, including being said no to about 1 million times, I was finally said yes to a few times, 6 to be exact, so I have four courses lined up for next semmester, and two for the following semmester.

Two of these courses for the following semmester will be independant studies. Thus is the reason for blogging. As apart of my grade, I have to keep some form of a journal and since I can't mail journals back and forth to my professors, I will be keeping this blog. In it, I will discuss all things New Orleans!

Now I realize that I am not in New Orleans yet, although the temperature makes it feel like I am, but I feel like if I start blogging now, I will get in the habit of blogging and it will be easy to continue to do it when I actually get to New Orleans. There is also a lot more "behind the scenes" type of stories that I wish to share in this blog as well about my entire experience. I feel like these items will be easier to share before the adventure begins and it will allow me to make the days go by faster leading up to the actual move in day, which as of now is August 11! (65 more days!)

So hurray for my first of many blogs!



Sara said...

Heck yeah! Good luck, Amanda!

Robin Marie said...

Amandaaaaaaaaaaa! Welcome to the slipper slope of blogs! Yay!

The turtle who will be sleeping on your floor in NOLA.