Archive for November, 2008

>Montana Madness

>Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

I am in currently in Great Falls, Montana the home of housemate, and in the interest of full disclosure, boyfriend, John. So all of the lectures about not dating your housemates that we got at orientation apparently weren’t too effective. But its been a couple of months now, and things are going great. We still aren’t sure if living together in the Casa de Romero qualifies as “living in sin,” but we’ll take our chances.

It’s nice to have a break from work for a few days and get of Spokane. Besides the retreat, a day trip to Couer D’Alene and the overnight in Yakima, I haven’t left the city at all. With a bike being my main form of transportation, my life has been pretty confined to the 2.5 miles between our house and downtown. Spokane is nice and all, but I was definitely ready for a change in pace.

Great Falls is a nice town, about twice the size of Blacksburg. I think there are about as many casinos as people here. I’ve never seen so many casinos. Granted, growing up in Virginia, I’ve never really seen any. I played Keno at a bar last night. (They have gambling machines right in the bar – this place is ridiculous). I lost a dollar, and probably embarrassed John seeing as how Great Falls natives are too cool for that kind of behavior.

The Northwest is a different place, I’ll tell you that. But I still got to watch the Tech/UVA game today. Go Hokies!


Do something to change the world: Invite strangers over for dinner. Ask Mom and Dad about that one.


Read Full Post »


>Last weekend we entertained the lively JV crew from Omak, WA. Omak is on the Colville Reservation and four JVs live there who teach in the elementary school. It was interesting to see how people can have a completely different JVC experience than we are. We had a fun weekend. Jon’s parents were also in town and they took us out to dinner. Pretty exciting times! Another big splurge for the weekend – the new James Bond movie. I definitely enjoyed it.

Its funny how living on a stipend of $80 makes you think so much more about you purchases. For instance, a movie was $10, so it was definitely a treat. Not that $10 was a ridiculous amount to spend, but it makes me realize that its not something I can do very often, so I should definitely enjoy it when I can. Or going out for a cup of coffee. I probably do that about once a week, but it reminds me what a big luxury coffee really is. It comes from thousands of miles away. Think of how many people, farmers, merchants, coffee shops have to work for you to have one cup of coffee. (And think of how many people are working below a living wage for it). I’m trying to switch to only drinking fair trade coffee. It’s something I’d recommend looking in to. And another east/west difference: regular coffee is always referred to as drip coffee, and its always about the 5th thing down on the menu. Espresso rules the roost out here.
The point is – enjoy what you do.
Do something to change the world: Forego to-go cups. Bring along your travel mug or ask for a house  cup next time you are getting coffee.

Read Full Post »

>Social Justice Soup

>So work.

I work at St. Anne’s Child and Family Center, which is basically a day care. Because what the government alots for a working family to pay for daycare doesn’t actually cover daycare costs, St. Anne’s is a mixed income model. By enrolling 70% private pay families and 30% state pay, low income families can participate in high quality daycare.

Granted, this means for my year of working for social justice, 70% of my time is spent hanging out with kids whose designer overalls cost more than I make in a week. Which needless to say, can be a little frustrating.

So Kelly and I are looking for ways to incorporate social justice into our jobs. On Wednesday we hosted a preschool family cooking night. We made pumpkin soup from local pumpkins and provided families with information on the importance of eating locally and how to cook with kids. It brought some new families in that hadn’t participated in school events before, which was exciting. The kids had a good time, but I think the parents had a harder time following directions than their 3 and 4 year olds did!

Why eat local? Here’s two easy reasons:
1. You aren’t paying the high gas prices it costs to ship your food across the country. Food is also more nutritious because it there is less lost time from garden to plate.
2. Money stays in your community instead of going to a CEOs pocket.

Do something to change the world:
Go to your local farmer’s market. Or look for local products in your grocery store.

Read Full Post »