Tuesday, September 21, 2010

We do things different

My mom was in the bathroom when I heard a gasp. Crap, I thought, maybe she saw a roach or even worse a mouse! "What's wrong?" I asked. "Your sink, it's not finished." Oh, was that it? "Yeah." "Well, is it going to get finished any time soon?" "No...we use the gray water from it." "Oh" she said, sounding less than pleased.

Yes, the water from the sink in my bathroom goes straight into a bucket underneath. Once the level in the bucket reaches a certain height the water is used to flush the toilet. That means we don't flush every time we use the facilities. That might be gross to some, but I had some practice at Gabe's house this summer and at Polestar. We are also encouraged to use less water while showering. This could take the form of bucket washing, where you fill a bucket of water up and use a little cup to wet yourself and rinse (I have not made it to this level yet). In the third floor shower (the shower I use) we turn the water off while soaping up and then back on for the final rise. Not sure if I will be able to pull this off in winter, I have a fear of freezing in place. There used to be a bucket in the shower that would capture water while we were waiting for it to get warm, but the bucket has since disappeared and I haven't gone looking for it yet.

There are laundry lines outside of the house in the backyard and also zig-zagging across the front sitting room. These are used to dry clothes after washing (obviously). There is a dryer here at the house, but it is more energy efficient to use the lines. I think drying my clothes outside is actually faster than in the machine. I haven't officially timed it yet so don't quote me, I don't want to be held liable. It certainly makes my clothes crispy though. There should be a campaign to put softener in the air so that my clothes are softer when they dry outside, thus undoing the environmental benefits of air drying my clothes!

What else do we do different (from the average house hold)? We compost our vegetation scraps (and egg shells and the nectar of the gods, coffee). Our composter is a deep freeze, not my first choice but I guess it works. Dealing with the composter is not my chore and I have no motivation (as of right now) to rally everyone to change the composting device. Our produce comes from the local farmers market (I was informed two weeks ago that most of the produce is not organic, sigh) and our dairy (well not the yogurt) is also local. Ah yes, we drink raw milk (sorry parents). So far it hasn't killed me, but if that's what does me in I'll make sure you all know. I did promise my mom as she was leaving after Labor Day Weekend that, "cross my heart I would not die, I would fight for life." That was mainly in reference to the seedy company that sits outside our front steps most of the day drinking and doing drugs. Back to the food, we hardly have any packaged food (mostly the sauces and condiments and the yogurt) and we make our own tortillas. Oh, there's no air conditioning, which is no longer an issue, but there is heat (praise God). We take our shoes off at the door to cut down on dirt in the house. So not a bad way of living really. The only thing I would do different is save less stuff, there is a lot of miscellaneous items around the place that I am sure could find a better home.

On a side note, I am missing Nashville like crazy. I miss my friends, church, places I would go. I don't regret moving here or choosing to go to school, I just wish I could have both. In the end I know moving here is right and a good change for me. I just haven't had the need to feel homesick and so of course it's a shock to my system. As always I also struggle with the fact that I have no money. My biggest complaint that I dealt with this summer and continue now is why does it cost money to be friends with people? I was thinking about it this morning some more. In your adult life entertainment focuses around things that cost money - let's go out to eat, how about a movie, what about that show tonight? When I was a child you just played in the back yard, watched a movie at home or played a board game. Why can't we as adults do that now? Suggest something like that and eventually you are labeled as boring. It's not that I don't want to go out and do things (I love to! Let's have another cup of coffee), it's just that I can't, especially not three times a week (at a minimum). I am kina excited that Lori now lives over in Philly and has no job. So now I have someone I can be cheap with. I have to figure out how to ride my bike across to the other side. That is my near future goal.

PS: Read this article it made me sad...http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/world/asia/21gender.html.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What's in a name?

While my computer and phone (the glorious iPhone4 is causing problems, who knew!!) are syncing I thought it would be a good time for Internet diversion, so here's an update!

I have successfully been to all my classes once! The week was a little chopped up because of Labor Day Weekend, but now it is full steam ahead! I can confirm my previous thoughts that this masters' degree thing is going to be a lot of work. I think mainly a lot of reading. Using my time wisely will definitely be something I will have to keep my finger on! Not only do I have class, but my program requires an internship and I have signed up for work study. Some how they will all fit in, like clowns in a car. I think I'll be setting my alarm clock soon. I haven't had to yet because all of my classes are in the afternoon or at night.

Here are my classes:

Fundamentals of Policy Analysis
Law and Public Policy
Public Budgeting and Finance
International Community Development
International Economic Development

At first glance I think I'm going to like all of my classes, ask me again when I have to start writings papers and taking tests. Each professor is likable, but with their own set of quirks. Take today's professor, suit and tie but wearing crocks. I told him that I LOVED his shoe choice for today's outfit. He was ecstatic and I gave a big grin, glad to make his day! If I had to choose now, I think the finance and economic development classes might be my favorite. I am thankful that I do not have class on Friday, because that will give me a good day for getting work done, that is if I'm not at my internship or work study.

I have my first meeting with my potential internship this Friday. The organization is Cramer Hill CDC. Yeah, my heart skipped a beat when I heard CDC too! Unfortunately it's not a branch of the Centers for Disease Control, but it actually stands for Community Development Corporation. The Cramer Hill CDC "is dedicated to building a thriving, safe, family-oriented community that is economically and culturally diverse. Cramer Hill Community Development Corporation believes that development is most successful when there is continuous input from residents." Cramer Hill is a neighborhood of Camden that is North East of campus. I was matched up with this group based on my interest in community gardens and the environment. When I called and spoke with the director he told me that there were four areas that were targeted as places for me to help out. The director seems like he's gotten a lot done for Cramer Hill and I am excited to see what he has in mind. Before our meeting I need to read more of their site so I can be informed about the organization!

One great thing about my program is that I get along with all the other students. We are already talking about hanging out when we aren't in class. There is a total of nine (3 males and 6 females) of us that will be going to class together and then onto an international service after a year of classes. We have all the same classes together, but each of our classes have at least three people, if not more, from another program. I think this is a good thing because it will bring some diversity to class.

Well folks it seems like the phone is still acting sick. Looks like I will have to visit the Apple store soon. I would have posted some cool picture (I wanted to write about the endless pool and the gym here or about the house I am living in) but I just learned that restoring your iPhone means deleting all the data from last time you synced :-( Good-bye pictures. I will take new ones soon...some I won't be able to recreate (so if I sent you one feel free to send it back to me!). For now I've put a picture of my view from one of the windows in my room. It's Wednesday and the week is more than half way through, happy it's-almost-the-weekend-again!