Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lop City: Month 1

Our lovely little home.

 Have I already been on the Cape for a month?! Time sure does fly when you’re at lop city. Sometimes, when we're doing service with tools, I like to sing a lopping song to the tune of Taio Cruz’s Dynamite. “I came to lop, lop, lop, lop, get out the way, me and my crew crew crew …and it goes on and on and on!” Yeah, I’m a dork. But don’t worry, I mostly sing it to myself in my head. Whatever gets you through the lop day?

Hm…so what can I say about AmeriCorps Cape Cod? I live in a house with thirteen other people, and only two bathrooms. This actually hasn’t been such a problem so far, but we still have ten months to go, so we shall see! Our house is literally a stone’s throw from a retirement home. I’m sleeping in a bunk bed for the first time since summer camp. You can’t keep a secret from anyone, and pitchforking for 8 hours ain’t no joke. I’ve even been given the spectacularly unfortunate nickname of ‘Pooper,’ in reference to my stint in this costume. But I love it here, and the other corps members are an awesome group of people.

Oh yeah.

  Training is over, and now each corps member has an individual placement (IP) twice a week, along with a community development day and two days of direct service. I can’t believe how many new things I learn everyday. Before coming here, I had never even held a drill before. By the end of our one-day carpentry training, I’d helped to built six wooden kiosks. I am pretty terrible at using a hammer, though. I can’t nail anything straight!

My IP is with the engineering department at the Falmouth Department of Public Works, focusing on mapping stormwater outfall sites, and public outreach to raise awareness over the environmental issues that can arise due to water pollution. Since Cape Cod has a single-source aquifer, it’s very important to prevent water contamination. With most houses on the Cape still having septic tanks, and the water table being so low in many areas, this is a serious issue. I’ll be working primarily  on doing outdoor mapping and inputting data into GIS. Yes, fellow Gburg ES majors, seems as though I can’t escape the GIS lab after all!

Downtown Falmouth (or DTF, as Will has named it) has the most adorable collection of restaurants, stores, coffee shops, and bars. I can’t wait to check them out on my lunch break (well, not the bars). My start time for work is the ungodly hour of 7:30 AM, but at least I’m done for the day at 4 PM. It seems as though my time in the office and out in the field will be balanced pretty evenly, which should hopefully keep things interesting. My boss Bob took me out on a tour of Falmouth on Thursday, and we visited all of what he considers to be the best beaches. Sitting there in the DPW truck, rocking my yellow reflective vest and gazing out at the shoreline, I couldn’t help but think to myself that this is not real life! It was a hard decision to make, but I’m so glad that I finally settled on AmeriCorps. Apparently, I was talking in my sleep during the first week and said aloud: “I like it here.” Hopefully I can maintain this level of excitement for the rest of the year!

Explaining what groundwater is to grade schoolers with the help of my trusty fish hat.

 What else…Jenna, Kayla, and I visited Martha’s Vineyard last weekend for the first time! I spent most of our time there identifying candidates for my future home. Someday, I will be fabulously wealthy, and I will live here. Worst-case scenario, I at least need to find a friend with a boat - a man-friend or a regular friend, either one is fine. Maybe the Cape Cod goggles will help? I was also struck by just how many Black Dog General Stores there were on the island – whoever owns the company must be loaded. All of those $25.00 chew toys really add up, I suppose.

Clam Chowder at the Black Dog Tavern in Vineyard Haven.

 The leaves have started to change, and I am experiencing the beginning of my first New England fall! We were given mini-pumpkins at an early-October service project, which have been stuck in random places throughout the Bourne house. A few of us have gotten this idea into our heads that we need to carve pumpkins, so I think tomorrow we may venture out to a patch. In Copenhagen, there wasn’t really a fall season last year; we skipped straight from summer into a rainy, gray early winter. I’d forgotten how invigorating the crisp feel of the air around this time of year can be for your spirit. There’s so many awesome things about fall. Slipping into a flannel shirt and your favorite pair of boots, sipping some apple cider and walking through fallen leaves, curling up with a good book in front of a roaring fire. We’ve been having fires every night and it’s pretty much the best thing ever.  Add some Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin munchkins, and the obligatory viewings of Hocus Pocus, and you are set! On Cape Cod, we get the double whammy of fall leaves AND the ocean, which thanks to growing up in a landlocked state I react to like  a starving person being given a steak dinner. It’s like a scenery orgasm!

Bourne huddle during capture the flag at the National Seashore!

Right before we went out for my of the more normal pictures of the night.

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