>I left, on a jet plane. I’m not quite sure when I’ll be back again.
The grand northwestern adventure officially commenced bright and early on August 4th. Actually, it was well before “bright,” the sun didn’t rise until about two hours after I had been at the airport. But after a relatively hassle free journey I arrived, quite sleep deprive, quite jet lagged and quite ready to be in:
All of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps had orientation at Camp Adams, in Molalla, Oregon (about 45 minutes outside of Portland). The area was gorgeous. The forest was so dense with pine trees that you could smell them as you walked around camp. We didn’t get any famous Portland rain, but the mornings and evenings were quite misty and cool. The late afternoons were sunny and warm; however, for me at least, the cool was a welcome respite from Williamsburg summers. The cabins were adequate, but the best night’s sleep was in the meadow. The Spokane house decided to camp out under the stars and watch the meteor shower. (Which hits its peak August 11-13th so go out and watch it!)
Orientation focused on the four main values of the JVC: community, spirituality, simplicity, and social justice. We heard many speakers, did many group activities, etc. It felt a lot like summer camp at times. But on the bright side, we ate locally grown blueberries every day! Sustainable, yet delicious. Mmmm. In addition to catching up with Caitlyn, a JV in Portland whom I know before, I saw Laura, a friend from William and Mary. Neither of us had realized the other was doing JVC, but now we’ll both be in Washington. She is in Tacoma, and I (in case you didn’t already know) am in Spokane. Orientation ended with a missioning liturgy. We had a beautiful mass, and were given Jerusalem crosses, and were sent out in to the world.
The next monring the final leg of the journey began. The Spokane community took a variety of ways to get there. Two by bus, and the rest of us carpooled. The drive from Portland to Spokane was fascinating. As we were leaving the lush Oregon coast, we stopped at the Multnomah Falls and went on a mini-hike. Next we drove through The Dalles, where grass became more sparse and the trees fewer and fewer between.
Then we hit the desert.
Yes, the desert. I wasn’t even sure if I believed that there really was a gigantic desert in the Northwest, but let me tell you, there is. It was yellow grass, dust swirls, and tiny shrubs for hours and hours. Until we suddenly hit the oasis – Spokane.
We arrived at the Spokane house, Casa de Romero, to one of our support people cooking us dinner. The house, built in 1904, is darling. Its greeen and yellow on the outside (go tribe!) and the inside is full of pictures of former JVs, candles, quotes painted on the walls, plenty of bedrooms, and sadly – one shower. For 8 of us. Its definitely a year to get cozy. Spokane itself (the little I’ve seen) is a nice city. The Spokane River runs through the middle of the city, and the Spokane Falls are absolutely gorgeous. They seem to just spill down haphazardly along the side of the city.
The past few days have just been spen settling. The former JVs left us plenty of food, which is great since our first paycheck doesn’t come in until the 15th! Work starts tomorrow, so look forward to hearing about the chillins in a few days!