Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ain't no reason things are this way

Two nights ago I was flipping through the channels on TV and settled on a documentary on HBO. Usually I am too tired to watch television and end up falling asleep on the couch with a melted bowl of ice cream by nine o'clock. That night was different and I watched Homeless: Motel Kids of Orange County with my sister.

The title is pretty self explanatory and this program is vastly different from the typical shows about Orange County. You all know what I'm talking about: Laguna Beach, the O.C. and the Real Housewives of Orange County definitely ring some pop-culture bells. However, these kids on this documentary don't lounge by their pools, get waited on by the hired help, or even go to Disneyland which is walking distance from their motels.

Most of the children were younger than seven and their pastimes consisted of playing in the dumpsters or dangling from the motel's balcony. When they aren't at school, Church run soup kitchens are their main source of food. All these little kids wanted was a house, something I was afforded without struggle. When I was their age I wanted macaroni and cheese, Barbies, and eternal summer. The motel kids go to school in the summer to avoid staying in their discounted rooms all day long.

I know that during sometimes I can get too caught up in my own life, but this documentary was a reminder of what other people are facing. I strongly encourage people to see this program, I will be very surprised if you aren't affected.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Reasons to love

Burlington, Vermont. What a wonderful place, and I am so glad that it is only an hour away from Plattsburgh. I am reminded of it's proximity daily, because friends, I have discovered that like the song, it's a small world after all.
When I go into Starbucks with my sister to buy a pick-me-up carmel frappuccino, the first thing I see when I walk in is Seven Days, Vermont's weekly entertainment newspaper. One of my professors works at Seven Days and seeing this tie to SMC makes me happy.

Last week I wrote that during the summer I do an abnormal amount of reading. Anyways, the setting of the book I just finished, The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian, is loosely based on COTS in Burlington. COTS, which stands for the Committee for Temporary Shelter, offers housing to people who are in need. St. Michael's has a very close relationship with them through the MOVE program, so it was neat to read about them from a literary perspective.

Lastly, the strangest thing happened while I was at work on Saturday. I was just wandering around the campground, doing some lovely maintenance work when I spotted someone who looked unusually familiar. He asked me where the showers were and I couldn't drop the feeling that I knew him. I looked a little closer (I had to squint, I refuse to wear my glasses) and I decided that yes, it had to be the person I thought it was. A little over a year ago I went on an extended service trip to Baltimore, Maryland. My group worked closely with a soup kitchen called Our Daily Bread. An Americorps volunteer was our quasi-boss. I guess when he's not being a Baltimore superhero he likes to come and camp in Upstate New York. This was too weird and I still can't get over the coincidence. I wish I would have told him where I recognized him from, but alas it was too late.

I am pleased to say that I will be making another return to Burlington to see the Swell Season (they are the people from the movie, Once) at the Flynn next Wednesday. I am so glad that I go to a school in such a cool place, and it's seriously strange how SMC connections pop up everywhere. Until next time!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Watching the wheels go round

I find it almost unbelievable that I have been home from school for more than two months. It's crazy! It feels like yesterday that I was packing up my beloved room in Founders to head back to Plattsburgh. So, I thought it was a good time to recap some of the highlights of my summer:

1. I went hiking with my dad and lovely dog, Millie, up Panther mountain in the Adirondacks.
2. Going to Cape Cod to see friend and fellow blogger, Michaela. The fact that I saw Taylor Swift just added to the fun.
3. A bunch of my friends came up for my sister's high school graduation. It was so nice to see everybody and revel in the beauty of SMC love. Look how adorable we are:

4. I visited my cousin, Meghan, who lives in Burlington. Together we went to the Ben & Jerry's factory in Waterbury. The tour we went on was full of cow jokes and ended with a free sample of Milk & Cookies. What can be better than free ice cream? While in the flavor graveyard I learned that peanut butter and jelly was once a legitimate ice cream flavor. Weird.
5. I went on my first jetski ride ever! And I loved it!
6. Thanks to a wise friend I have invested in Netflix, and it was a wonderful decision. Some really good movies I have seen are the Lovely Bones, Legends of the Fall, and my personal favorite, Whip It. It's about a girl who joins a roller derby league. Is anyone interested in starting a St. Michael's chapter? Just let me know...
7. My friends Kelsey, Shelly, and my sister went to a Passion Pit concert in Montreal. Montreal is such a fun city and the concert was amazing because we were so close to the band. Here we are, post concert enjoying the night air (sorry about the angle, it's my sister's attempt at being artsy).

8. I've been reading nonstop. At school I don't really have time to read for fun, but at home it's almost all I do. So far Jeannette Wall's memoir, the Glass Castle, has been the best.

This is it for now, but hopefully I will have many more adventures to go. 43 days until Peru!!!