Monday, September 16, 2013

Back to the Woods

I spent the past two weeks in Boulder Colorado which was awesome despite the horrible flooding that took place while I was there. 

I am getting ready to go back into the woods now so this will just be a quick update post.

My trip was really great and I got to hang out with the boy a ton and play with his adorable pup and be uber domestic while he was in class which is hard for me.  I mean seriously, I vacuumed and baked for gods sake!  But then when the floods came I was stuck inside for about 3 days which drove me nuts!

So we went to the Denver airport for me to fly home and many tears and hugs and kisses and cries later I got dropped off ready to get on my plane.  It was a sunny gorgeous day so I settled down to read my book and go home.  And about an hour before I was suppposed to go it started POURING down rain so much so that I couldn't even see out of the window.  Our plane was redirected to another airport because it wasn't going to be able to land in Denver.  So I ended up leaving about 3 hours later than I was supposed to.... which worried me because that meant we were not goig to land in ATL until 1 or so.  And my house is about a 3.5 hour drive from ATL. 

So I began frantically calling and texting people in the greater Atl area from Denver looking for a place to spend the night and found one.  Super awesome save the day!

And now I am stressed but looking forward to going into the woods tomorrow and forgetting about all of this other stuff going on outside.

While I was on vacation I found out that I didn't get a job that I wanted.  Which made me sad.  But it means that I will be here in the states for the next while and that makes me happy for a number of reasons.

Anyway.... I have to run.  Love you all and thanks for all the support.  I'm off to the woods.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New Job... well it was new in April.... but you don't know about it yet!

So yeah!  I don’t work for the circus anymore.

My days, which used to be filled with scenic painting, making moulds, and dressing in black to run show tracks…. Are now filled with keeping kiddies safe in the wood, cooking over fires, leading backcountry hikes, and helping teens feel better about themselves and life in the woods.

I work in the woods for a week at a time.  So my week looks something like this:

Tuesday morning I wake up at about 6:15 in the morning.  I have some coffee and drive about an hour and a half to work.  Every Tuesday we have an in service which lasts for a few hours and we go over what is going on for the week. 

Then I head out into the field.  We spend most of Tuesday going over the previous week with the staff shift that is coming out of the woods.  Then for the rest of Tuesday and Wednesday we stay in the same location with the kids and their therapist comes out and has one on one sessions with them. 

She sets some objectives for both them as individuals as well as for the whole group.  And then for the rest of the week we facilitate the kids both getting their assignments done as well as working the program.  For the group that I am currently working with days generally include: breakfast, lunch, diner, a daily NA or AA meeting, camp breakdown and setup, and a hike.  Hiking is a big componenet of the program and the kids hike anywhere between 1-9 miles a day though for the most part it’s  usually 3 or so.  The kids carry everything they need with them  on their backs.  Another big part of the program is bowdrilling.  Which means using primitive tools to create fire. 

The main idea of the program is these kids for one reason or another hav lost their way.  They are either into drugs or sex or whatever… they are not doing well and have lost themselves back home.  So we take them into the woods and they stay there for about 10 weeks or so.  And while there they don’t have phones or social media or any of that stuff… and they learn to do things for themselves.  If they don’t make breakfast… they don’t eat breakfast.  As staff, we facilitate their activities and keep them safe, but we actually do very little for them in the way of chores or anything like that.  So they become relatively self sufficient out there and they focus on what they need be it NA meetings or trauma issues or what have you.  And they leave the woods stronger and more self assured people.  Many of them will go on to a therapy based boarding school while some will return home. 

So basically while I am out there I try and keep everyone safe.  I try to engage and build rapport with kids that don’t necessarily want to talk.  I try to set a good role model for my students.  I try to hold firm boundaries.  I try to practice empathy and compassion even when dealing with the most frustrating of students.  And I try to take one day at a time.  One week at a time.  And one kid at a time. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Why hello there

It's been a good long while since I posted here.

Everything has changed!  So I guess I have some updating to do huh?

I left Cirque on February 3rd. 

It was a sad goodbye.  I cried and cried and cried when I left. 

I had such a good time touring with Totem and they were such an amazing circus family. 

So I packed up my little red car with all of my belongings and was on my way to the great unknown.
Little Red Car with Everything I own in the trunk

And I was on my way to move to Denver.  Well that was the plan anyway.... I went to visit some friends in Asheville NC and while I was there I decided to take an intensive first aid course.  While there I met some people who told me that their company was hiring.  They work for a wilderness therapy program.

Soooo I ended up forfeiting the plans to go to Denver and instead moved to Asheville, North Carolina. And I started trying to do all the things that one must do when they come off tour and move into a new flat.  You know... buy a bed, curtains, cups, forks.... all that nonsense. 

And then I started my new job as a field instructor with a wilderness therapy program based out of the blue ridge mountains. 

These are a few of the places I call home now.  So the way that my program works is that I am working with some teenagers who have gotten themselves into trouble and have been send into the woods with us.  We backpack and hike and cook over fires and all the rest.  And they are there anywhere between 8-15 weeks.  I go into the field for a week at a time.  So my schedule looks like a week on and a week off. 

I'll tell yall more about the specifics of the job in the near future.  Suffice to say that I do love it.  It feels like for the first time in a long time I am doing something that matters with a capital M.

Let's see... what else.  I went to a part dressed as a deer...

 Which was a lot of fun and a good.... look I can make friends in this new town kind of thng.  I often feel a great deal of social anxiety when surrounded by a lot of new people.  And this has been true here as well.  I have always worked and played with the same people so being thrown into a completely social group has been hard.

I am not sure why really.  I have never really had a problem making friends or meeting people but I still get anxious when I have to do these kinds of things. 

So at the moment I am trying to figure out what is next for me.  Well, actually at THIS very moment I am sitting in Boulder CO.  Why?  A boy... always a boy.  Ha.

I met a boy in NC.  He moved to CO for grad school.  He's kind of a big deal... to me.  And yeah I am here for two weeks visiting.  It's both super nice to be here and also super hard. 

Again, a future blog will be dedicated to this 'relationship' stuff.  But this particular entry is more of a general overview.  So yes, I am involved in a somewhat complicated and somewhat serious and somewhat sad relationship.  Shock horror right!! 

And.... I am entertaining the idea of going back on tour.  With the Circus.  Maybe abroad.

I interviewed for a job about a week ago.  For a show that is going to Japan.  I am hopeful but not at all expecting to get it.  We will see.  Many things on the horizon.  Many things to write about. 

I shall begin tomorrow with the individual topics. 

Until then.... xoxo