When I packed up my little blue Focus Saturday morning I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I pictured a slightly boring ranch populated by retired southerners and ordinary scenery. Luckily I pulled up to this gorgeous ranch nestled between a river and mountains, and found a bunch of energetic twenty-somethings in my front yard. (Which is pictured to the left.) This place is pretty amazing. The first two days I was pretty overwhelmed; most of the volunteers have been here since September, so I was thrown into their established social scene. They were all extremely nice, it was just a lot to take in at first. Sunday I just kind of kept to myself and explored the ranch. The goats and ewes are all pregnant, fat and funny. I really like watching them run about their pastures- they're quite entertaining. That night I decided to be social and made brownies to take the superbowl party. That was a lot of fun- we all made bets about who we thought would win, and the losers had to do dares that we put into a pot. I was smart enough not to side with the Cardinals, so I didn't have to kiss a pig or camel.
Monday the training started, and it is extremely intense. They've taken us on a tour of the ranch, we've met every staff member there is, and we've had to sit through hours of orientation material. It's a little tedious, but the people really do make it worth it.Speaking of people, I have four housemates. Al and Mary Ann were the first I met. They're a retired couple from Kansas- Al used to be an Agriculture professor. They're really sweet and interesting. I didn't know such things as electric yogurt makers existed until I met them. Arcadia is my roommate (she's eating the Ramen.) She just graduated from high school in Portland and has spent the past couple of months traveling Peru. Lauren was the last house mate to show up, and she's a returning volunteer. She seems to be a lot of fun, but I haven't been able to spend much time with her yet. Tonight we all went to Jacob, a staff member's house for a Potluck/ get together. We played music and sang together, and played some really hilarious games. I even got to hear a very hilarious rendition of Queen's "We Will Rock You" by one of the German volunteers here. Really, I wish I would have had a camera. I haven't laughed as much as I did tonight in a long time.
Tomorrow is the big day of the week- we're doing a low ropes course, then spending the night in the Global village as part of the Global Challenge program. It will be cold, but I think it will be a lot of fun. Thursday morning we hit the high ropes course, and then continue with our training. After training Friday we get to take a trip to Little Rock to visit headquarters, and I'm really excited about that. The building looks pretty amazing in pictures, so I can't wait to see it in person.
I've got a big day to prepare for, so I'm off to go to bed. I send you all my love, and thank you for all of the thoughts and prayers I know you've been sending my way. I have a good feeling about this experience- there aren't any real doubts or regrets in my head, as there were last time I embarked on an adventure. I know that with the support system back home and the one I'm building here I'll be just fine.