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I realize I haven’t written anything in a while
I guess I just kind of left you hanging
I leave for Iowa and suddenly disappear
My apologies…

October 14, 2009 was my first adventure on a commercial flight
   adventure seemed like the right word
I met a fellow Marylander at the airport and off we travelled to Chicago

Our connecting plane in Chicago was so small
   we had to walk out onto the windy runway to board 
      Obviously, not a lot of people travel to Cedar Rapids, Iowa
The flight consisted mostly of 20 somethings
We all knew what we were there for
   but no one was brave enough to address the group
I got the aisle/window seat
Iowa was a flat, field view

Everyone was staring, once we landed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Someone that worked at the airport expressed their confusion
   as to why the flight was so full
      and as to why it was so full of young people

After a loud NCCC staff greeting we were piled into vans
It was a quiet ride

Once we reached the Iowa Braille School we were sent through an
Assembly line of papers and room keys and signing of documents
The thought repeating was,
   “What have I gotten myself into?”
Nervous, we scan the “cafeteria” for dinner
   high school flashbacks ensue
We rush to get uniforms fitted
And sprint to make the first community meeting on time

It doesn’t take most of us long to make friends
The first night was too lonely and/or full of tears to repeat

We’re in our unofficial groups now
Going to meetings and learning the town
It’s a new routine, an early routine;
   but I like it

Sometime after all this we have to say goodbye to our groups
   and hello to our teams
It’s been a week, but it feels like I’m letting go of family
No one really takes well to their new “family”

More training
More early mornings
More Physical Training at 5:30am
More falling asleep in training

Besides official government things
We learn about the AmeriLanguage
”Ameri” can go before any word
AmeriWord, see I just did it right there
Ameri… well, anything
   you understand

I feel as though I need to tell you about AmeriGoggles
You’ve heard of Beer Goggles, yes?
Well AmeriGoggles are when you start thinking people,
   you once thought of as unattractive, are… attractive
See, being stuck in an AmeriBubble
Where you see the same people all day long
Can make you a little crazy
The Goggles are real, people!
   I’ve seen them take down many a corps member

We have a few small projects we work on
Neighborhood clean-ups
Removing invasive plant species
Controlled burns
Building picnic tables
Gutting houses affected by a flood
Winterizing parks
Cutting down trees and turning them to mulch
And so on and so forth

The night life in Vinton consists of one thing
Bar hopping
   bar hopping the three bars available
   has karaoke every first and third Wednesday and Saturday
And Golf Right
Which used to have some simulated golfing game
   but it doesn’t work anymore
      and it costs too much to change the name of the bar

It’s nice to just ride a bike around town during the day though
I feel like it’s one of those cutesy, family, movie neighborhoods

Everything closes early
   or closes in the middle of prime shopping hours, just because
And nothing’s open on Sundays
Except for the Chinese restaurant in town
   which does actually have Asians
   which I find so surprising
      seeing as Vinton is, I swear, at least 90% Arian
         which I find creepy

The people, for the most part, are beyond friendly
I feel like a celebrity when I walk around town
They just stop whatever they’re doing and stare
Vinton doesn’t have 18-24 year olds
   because they leave the second they’re old enough
So everyone knows you’re part of AmeriCorps if you’re young
   it’s also a town of 5,000 so I guess they just know if you’re new

It’s 10:00, my bedtime
I’m living in a cabin in Augusta, Michigan now
Second week of working for the Sherman Lake YMCA starts tomorrow
Don’t worry, I’ll continue where I left off 
   I have a month’s worth of memories to recover and record

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