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Category: Phoenix

Riding the Bus and The Merits of the Pool

My house and a cactus. From the left, Monica, me, Jon, and Peter. Peter is the one who no longer lives with us.

I’ve been in Phoenix for almost a month now, which means I’m starting to get into the flow of things, starting to know where I’m going when I drive around for work, and starting to understand my job a bit more. (Although I am still in the process of being trained, so I’ve been doing a lot of paperwork and data entry instead of visiting refugees in their homes, which is supposed to be what the bulk of my time is spent on.)  Simply because there is routine in my life however, does not mean that there aren’t small adventures every day. For example—in my daily routine, I catch the bus home at 4:50. What happens after that is often an adventure—I’ve talked to a woman about her African Grey Parrot, and the price of laundry detergent, I’ve had a conversation about how much I do (or don’t) look like Pipi Longstockings, and I’ve celebrated with groups of people at the bus stop because we were happy it was Friday. I love the public space of the bus that allows me to connect with people for a prescribed amount of time and then leave, each of us carrying a little of each others’ story with us.

Things around here have been going pretty smoothly. One of the people living with me decided to leave the program, so we are adjusting to the new dynamic of living with just the three of us. It looks like it will be a relatively easy transition. We had a Labor Day cookout  last weekend with the other house of JVs and a couple of coworkers. I was in charge of cooking the corn, which I grilled in the husks (also, we bought the corn 5 ears for 99 cents—now that we’ve found a cheap Latin grocery, the food budget is pretty easy to stick to.) We had chicken for meat-eaters and veggie burgers for vegetarians, as well as a bunch of side dishes that people brought, and then we ate freeze pops and went swimming. It was a great day.

Aside from pool parties, I’m getting tired of Phoenix, the city, because it seems dead.  No one is ever out. (Including me—it is hard to get motivated to use a lacking public transportation system when it is 108 degrees out.) I am hoping that the lack of vivacity in the city changes with the weather—by the end of the month it is supposed to start getting nice out. In the meantime, I’ll continue to make good use of the pool.

During the gallery hop, there was face paint available at one of the galleries. Some of the girls from the other house of JVs and I decided to put it to good use. It was very hard to keep a straight face for this photo.

This weekend I went to a gallery hop (which had by far the most people I’ve seen in one place since I’ve been here,) painted my face like a cat, caught up with friends from home and from school, and video chatted with almost everyone on my dad’s side of the family. Now, I’m going to go get a snow cone and try to read (and understand) a French novel by the pool. Life is pretty great.

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Phoenix (getting settled in, etc. etc.)

After a week of Orientation in Texas,  I find myself finally in Phoenix. It is just as hot as everyone told me it would be, but also just as dry. I’m not as sweaty as I imagined, and the pool at our condo complex is making the adjustment to the climate easy. I’ve unpacked my suitcase and started taping pictures to the walls, rearranged the kitchen cabinets (who keeps sprinkles next to bay leaves?) and tried  (unsuccessfully) to implement a grey water system. The basic premise of grey water is that you collect the water from your sink in a bucket and then use it to flush your toilet. All fine and good until you realize that the plumbing for the two bathrooms are connected and that water comes out from the back of the wall any time the water is used in the other room. And then run around trying to find towels so that your downstairs neighbor doesn’t suffer ceiling damage.

Overall things are going smoothly–I start work tomorrow, and I’m extremely excited about it. I sort of know what to expect, but I feel like I don’t have a good handle on what my day-to-day work will be like, and I’m about to find out. My community is eating together a lot, and that is nice. I made dried beans with tomatoes and onions and garlic on top of hoe cake with a salad the other night. The beans weren’t spectacular, but I think the next time I make them they’ll be delicious. Right now I have a bread pudding in the oven to mark the occasion of one of my roommates receiving his MCAT scores. It smells like brown sugar heaven.

My community members and I are all getting along swimmingly. Jon, Peter, Monica and I are already getting good at making fun of each other, which is nice. We aren’t worried about stepping on each others’ toes. When I have some pictures of us together I’ll post them.

I’ll let you know how work goes and everything! I miss you all and hope you are doing so well!