When do we grow up? That is similar to asking when our day begins; does it start when we arrive at our destination, during our journey, when we wake up, or possibly long before we ever knew it would come? Growing up is a state of mind – one that we embody based on societal pressures, our relationships with other people, or the circumstances that we are handed in this everlasting journey. We feel compelled to move onto this next level of our life, one defined by “grown up” activities, but we never stop and actually smell the coffee that everyone is drinking. But when the cards are not in our favor – and eventually when it is time to meet our maker – we decide that it is appropriate to celebrate and enjoy what we are given on a daily basis. But why wait? There is no time like the present, and it is indeed a gift. Adulthood is not an inevitable part of our lives, it is a mere construction that we have stuck with for way too long. Being a kid is our most natural form, one filled with affluence, beauty, excitement, and pure joy, and we must let these virtues enter our lives. Be conscious of happiness and you will flow along with the world, like a rock in a stream.
This week is focused on an environment of absolute bliss – to pay attention to the celebrations of life rather than its tribulations, and suddenly the tribulations do not seem so horrible after all. And in order to do that, we must become kids again, growing backwards to reclaim the wonderful world we all share.
smiling now and excited for tomorrow,
the kids of forest view lane
Towards the end of our Disney trip Bender made a cameo appearance in the Indiana Jones (he stole the show) show while a group of us waited for hours in the Toy Story line. Although Steffan dominated, it was so worth the wait. The last group spent their final hours in Disney playing games and going to a showing of Indiana Jones. Unfortunately it was not the showing with Bender. We haven’t showered in 44 hours. We haven’t been in a bed in 31 hours. We’ve been on the bus for 20 hours. And now we are in DC in traffic. After getting a flat tire at 4AM and spending 5 hours at South of the Border, we are almost back! For most of the ride we slept, for the whole ride Ethan has been passed out. He might have been asleep more on this trip than he has been awake. Aimee slept straight through our last rest stop and this traffic is becoming unbearable. Claude really didn’t know what to do about the tire so we had a ton of extra bonding time to play more cards and just nap. Ryan and Jared beat Aimee and Brina so hard in a 3 hours spades game at the 24 hour restaurant at South of the Border. After a week of having Jared’s phone alarm stuck in our heads, when a similar song came on in the restaraunt Ryan made up words to pass the time. It turns out words only made the song more annoying. The food wasn’t very good at all, but it gave us something to do for a few hours. It has been an extremely long and interesting bus ride. We will be home soon and just in time for the game! Go Terps!
So for a change of pace we are finally at Disney! Pulling up with Claude in the party bus was a fun experience, but unfortunately our beloved Claude did not join us for our day of fun. We started off our day at Disney and Ashley’s birthday with a few cheers and then broke up for rides. Ethan, Jared, Aimee, Marissa, and Brina rode the Tower of Terror first and loved it. Now, along with Ben, Steffan, and Bender we are in an extremely long line for the Rockin’ Rollercoaster. And guess who’s in line with us?! Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies! Credit Steffan and Ben with the papparazzi skills. Ethans legs hurt from all the line waiting and can’t wait to watch bender scream like a little girl on the roller coaster. Shout out to my girl sherry baby.
Day 4 began bright and early with a catered breakfast of cereal and bagels thanks to group 3. Unlike all the other days (and the red sea back at the time of Moses) our entire group of 15 didn’t split, and we all went to the same house to finish up the job we started. Once there we all worked really hard mudding, sanding, priming and painting so that we could finish the house, since we were the last group working on the house. In the end we finished the house and got to spend time playing with Jasmine. We ended our day with a group discussion about Maimonides ladder of tzedakah and writing notes to each other on the back of our certificates (we got certificates from rebuilding together, a group we were working with), and wishing Ashley a very happy birthday before she spends it running around MGM tomorrow.
Jessica and Katie in the master bedrooms, mudding after sanding
Ashley and Ryan are working in the ceiling putting in insulation so heat bills don't climb to $500 per month
Judy and Aimee cleaning out the mud buckets because we did our last mudding on the house!
Steffan and Ethan getting the job done!
Day 2 on work sites.
Group 1- tammys house, sanding and completing dry wall
Group 2- regenerations, an upscaled resale store, the project of the church we are sleeping at. Aimee, Randi and Jackie spent all day ironing, sorting, and hanging up clothes. While working, we got to know a bunch of the people who volunteer at the store during their free time. Throughout the day we got to see every aspect of the store. Bender, Marissa, and Brina were doing a “man’s” job. Why do we say that? After we arrived at Regenerations we were told for the women to go fold and iron and the one man in the group was chosen to go to the back to take out an asbestos ceiling. After telling them the women can do construction work too, Marissa and Brina joined Bender in the back. Regenerations is hoping to expand so we were fixing up the back rooms. Many volunteers kept walking through the back, specifically elderly men. At one point Marissa and Brina were on the ladders taking down tiles while Bender was sweeping, Bender said to the man, “look all these women are doing the work while I’m sweeping.” The man replied, “that’s what happens when you allow equal rights.” Interesting. We completed two rooms! Looking forward to a new task tomorrow.
At the other site… Hello world its your boy ethan aka manishevits aka shabam aka yaboy! For shizzle! Today we put in work and got down and dirty. We sanded the mud on the ceilings which required a lot of physical strength, something I have an abundance of so it was pretty chilllll. We were all lookin fresh to death in our safety goggles and masks. Also we finished putting up the drywall. I’d say the highlight of today though was hanging out with Tammy-the homeowner and her two daughters- Jasmine and Isabel. I showed them my crucial backflip skills and they showed us their hannah montana sing along skillllz. They are adorable, yet intense, beating us all in a game of “chicken,” a basketball game they made up. Their energy and smiles were infectious, and it was truly a reminder to us all of how great it feels to help someone in need. They brought us cake and lemonade as a thank you and we loved it. Claude didn’t want any, apparently his doctor has him on the “tight and narrow.” He didn’t want any of our tacos we made either, its cool he’s still the man. OH I almost forgot to tell you, I got interviewed by the news! Don’t worry I kept myself composed and collected, answering questions with confidence and a distinct Ethan swagger, no one wanted my autograph but its cool I know they were just too timid to ask. That’s enough bloggivation for now. You’re welcome world. Its been ya boy ethana montana aka heavy E doin it dirty. Shout out to lil J son, my dawgs max and maddy, my main girl nancy-g and my boy Gary Goldspiel. PEACE!
After a little bit of a detour we found the YMCA. So it’s shower time for us and then it’s off to a chill night of bonding and Dairy Queen.
After breakfast and preparing lunches we took the bus to the sites for our first day of work. Six of us went to paint a house while the rest went to rebuild a woman’s ceiling. The few of us that went to paint had a blast! We had to first prime, then paint the entire outside of the house which didn’t take too long because of our hard work. Although most of the time was spent painting, we also took a few short breaks that we decided to use having multiple paint fights. While most of the paint was kept on the body, Randi and Ryans paint fight ventured upwards to their hair, covering their dark hair in a “skunk-like” appearance. Although they did not smell like skunks, the rest of us surely did from the day of hard painting. At the ceiling site we each took on different tasks to get the job done. The boys worked on cutting and measuring dry wall for the ceilings. Ethan crawled into the roof while jared, evan and bender did a great job and finished dry walling the bedroom! Marissa, Ashley, Ben, and Katie worked on sanding the ceiling to prepare for more mudding. Katie, Marissa, and Ashley ended up with gray hair from the dust that made them age at least 10 years. There was also some comments about the white powder all over Marissa and Ashley’s faces. Brina and Aimee took over mudding which resulted in ben having a spot of mud on him that looked a lot like bird poop. We all got time amongst the work to enjoy the sun and eat lunch as well as “play” basketball. Lastly, before leaving we met the woman who owned the home and her two little girls. We had the privilege of conversing with one of her lovely daughters. She spoke of her intellectual curiosity of mathematics and her desire to move back into her bedroom. Ben also mentioned: “she was swingin'” From there we came back to relax, cook dinner, and reflect. For our reflections, we discussed different scenarios and figured out what we would do morally in each situation. Off to work.