So, as it turns out, I was mistaken. There is proof of Erik shaking me like a baby and there it is. That’s us in the Canadian Subway on St. Patrick’s Day those many years ago. What a moment! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, maybe you should read this first.
So moving right along, I talked about SOSAD and what our purpose of going to Detroit was – which a quick update – was to volunteer, working with inner-city kids talking about violence prevention and education promotion. It changed my life and opened my eyes in ways I couldn’t understand.
I want to first spend some time talking about the grand times I had with my group during our spring break trip. I think I may have forgotten to mention that this little venture was taken during our spring break but personally, Ft. Lauderdale (or any other beach resort or typical getaway) has nothing on the amazing experience I shared with those nine people.
It’s been long enough now that I can’t remember all the details but fortunately I kept a journal at the time (possibly the only time I wrote in it every day haha) and it’s helping me to fill in some blanks. Part of being a site leader, well co-site leader, was to come up with activities during the week that helped reflect on the day but also to help connect the group. I don’t remember the exact activity but it gave us the chance to talk about what we hoped to get from the trip, which in turn helped us learn about each other. It turned out to be what we would do at the end of every day, spend some time reflecting and talking about how our day went at any given school. It was a really good thing to do, especially because we’d met awesome people but also hear some horrific stories. It was good to share.
Well, early in the experience we ended up having to have “the talk.” “The talk” was well, about “Jody” haha. You see, Sara and I were traumatized by that woman. So unfortunately we got a little paranoid about having a repeat performance and at times were more than cautious about certain activities, etc. Members of the group became annoyed after a while of hearing she and I mention “Jody”, etc., so we had a good heart to heart about the whole thing. They assured us that none of them were “Jody” and so me and Sara were finally able to let go and move on with our lives. I told you it was a life changing experience. If you’re curious about “Jody,” you need to read about the very first Detroit trip called The “Jody” Experience. It was an adventure.
The week was filled with plenty of highlights from the schools but also just getting to hang out and spend time with each other. Part of the adventure of the trip was when we arrived, the YMCA where we’d go shower, wasn’t open yet but after being in a van for double-digit hours with several people, well you get a little desperate to clean up and so some of us accepted the challenge of showering in the only shower available at the school we were staying at for the week. A few of us tried it because we were going to head into Windsor, Ontario and wanted to feel clean before going anywhere.
The challenge was there wasn’t any hot water available. Let me tell you – taking a cold shower in Detroit in the spring time when hot water isn’t available – NOT a good idea. The water literally burned my scalp the second it touched it because it was so cold. I couldn’t stay in the water for longer than a few seconds at a time. I vowed I would never take another cold shower again… it was traumatic. Of course, time would make a liar of me but that’s for another post. *Disclaimer* I’m having a bit of a memory lapse here – this may have happened the first Detroit trip but it kind of doesn’t matter because it’s important enough to mention regardless.
There were many other highlights too. One night the group split up and a few decided to go out and see what Detroit had to offer while the rest of decided it was worth hanging inside for the night. We all got in our jammies, yes I said jammies, and well, were bored. A bunch of college students bored in a private school means you get creative and so “Jen Curling” was born. It was called Jen Curling but really, everyone had a chanced to be “curled.” If you know what curling is then you have some idea for what I’m talking about. The idea was to try and wheel a college kid between two set spaces in the hallway. We used to wheeled chairs for this little experiment. It was a blast! Sometimes it’s just those little things that make you most happy. I’m not sure what the school staff would have said had they known, but they didn’t and don’t I hope.
There was of course the night at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand restaurant where we all decided to be brats and tease the Alternative Spring Break coordinator by taking a photo of us drinking “beer” but it was rootbeer… total rebels weren’t we? It was a fun night. It actually got a bit more interesting as we ended up trying to find a club to get to. We did find a place where we could go and we hung out for a while. The smoke was tough on Karri and I wasn’t so pleased when someone spilled their drink on me, so we didn’t end up staying too long. We stayed long enough to get our dance on though and watching Erik get his groove on was well worth the spilt drink haha.
Jaime also had us visit what is called the Heidleberg Project. It’s this really neat, art museum if you will. It’s grown but at the time, if memory serves, it was about two, maybe three houses, that had a lot of regular, discarded items turned into artwork. Everything is outside the houses and there was so much to see. It was very impressive and certainly very unique. I’m glad Jaime researched it and had us check it out. I don’t have the photo with me but I took a photo of a tree trunk that had fallen over, still had a thinner branch sticking out and it was carved and painted to look like a snake. Amazing!
Well, this apparently will have to be a three part deal. I hope you all don’t mind. The last part will focus on the volunteering. Trust me – it’ll be worth having hung around for it.