July 27th marks my 1 year in Miami. This time last year I was driving my little Saturn, Eva to Atlanta for training, where I would then meet my father and brother to continue onto Miami. Time has gone by pretty fast. I look back on this year and I see a jam packed year. I was very busy all the time, but work and school were very enjoyable, and have given me some wonderful opportunities. I went to phenomenal speakers, such as Temple Grandin, Sonya Sotomeyer, and Will Allen. I listened to the President speak along with Mitt Romney (I also sat in the traffic they created too).
School this past year, opened me up to so many ideas and ways of learning I could never imagine. After the first week of school, I knew I was in the right place. Our cohort came from all over the US to take part in the program. We each brought different views on everything, but are still focused around social change. Have such a great job and studies really helped with tolerating the busy schedule.
Here is a re-cap of my year in Miami.
Hurricanes- I made it through my first tropical storm, Isaac and Hurricane, Sandy. Neither of which were bad enough to evacuate or do major damage to Miami. I also got to experience my first hurricane day, where school and work were closed due to the weather.
Saturn- My loyal Saturn of almost 12 years finally went to car heaven. I started having issues in January and it was downhill from there. It was really hard to let her go. I remember going with my father to the dealership in Greenwood, IN to pick her out and driving her off the lot on Halloween. It was a great first car, and we’ve been through some good times. I currently own (or my father per say) a red Chevy sonic, named Minni.
Work- Being an AmeriCorps volunteer was hard or harder than I expected. Coming right out of Peace Corps, I knew the commitment that would be involved with the job. I never knew to what extent it would drain me sometimes. However, the Butler Center was such an amazing place to work. The students who work in the office have such an amazing drive for service, and it’s refreshing. They truly are the reason this office does such great work. The professional staff became such good friends, and I am lucky to never had a horrible boss. The whole job bundle really was great. I liked my VISTA leaders, Butler Center employees, and Student Affairs department at UM.
Visitors-Being in Miami does have its perks, either people are passing through Miami onto their next destination, or they really want to visit. I’ve had such luck with having both types pass through my year here in Miami.
The first visitors (after my dad and brother moved me in) were Bethany and Keith, they were on their way home from living in the US Virgin Islands. They had a stopover due to issues with their dogs, and had to rent a car to head home. We had a lovely dinner together before they headed north.
My parents and little brother made the 18+ hour car drive down to celebrate Christmas in Miami with me. They spent almost two weeks here, and I finally got to do some fun touristy things.
Spring semester was quite busy; Anne-Claire came to Miami for a few different reasons, each time making sure to see me. Shanna came for a long weekend, the coldest Miami weekend I might add, Heather brought me some PC Love, and Sarah and I spent a nice weekend together at Disneyworld.
Lastly, I had the Wilson sisters come to visit this past July. So in total and not counting duplicate visits, I had 11 visitors. Not too shabby if I ask myself. I also went to Tampa a few times to visit my older brother and his family while they were on vacation.
Update on me: As most of you may know I have accepted a position with the Butler Center full time. I am the Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator. It is very similar to what I was doing as a VISTA, but there are some added duties. I am excited to see what this year brings. I finish with my Masters in Community an Social Change in December. I’ve only got 2 electives left.
Not sure how long I will be in Miami, but I am here for now and enjoying it.
For all you loyal blog readers, I’m going to try my hardest to keep my blog up to date will all my adventures big and small. I choose to keep my original Peace Corps blog, since it is where my blogging days started. The adventure in my life did not stop with Burkina, and while I am no longer in Africa, a little piece of me will always be there.