Monday, October 17, 2005


Well, I'm back.

For the last three weeks I have been in Texas, helping the Red Cross with disaster relief after the dual tragedies of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. I spent several days in shelters, and then joined a mobile feeding team. My team moved to Orange, Texas, where we lived without electricity and potable water in a devastated area. We took out Budget trucks filled with food to people who had not yet been helped. In 2 weeks we served over 100,000 meals and provided for the basic needs of the community. In addition, on our own time, we saved dozens of animals that had been abandoned after the storm.

It was incredible, it was sad, it was fun, it was amazing. I met some of the most incredible people I have ever met in my entire life, and I will never, ever forget them.

If I could, I would go back again as soon as I got some rest and my strength back. (And had a doctor check out my leg, because seriously people, who actually punctures themselves on an actual rusty nail? Oh, I do.) I fully intend on doing this for the rest of my life, whenever I have the opportunity to do so.

In some ways, it was time to go, and in others, I don't want to be back. An experience like this challenges you on a deeply personal level, and I haven't worked out my answers to those challenges yet. This is not an overall bad thing, and although the Red Cross emphasizes the potential need for mental health assessment when you get back, I don't think I'm going to fall into a deep depression or anything. (Unless shopping with the Peanut or talking on the phone with Jen while moaning, "I haaaate my life" counts). But in some ways a lot of things have shifted, and it will be awhile before I come to equilibrium again, and maybe longer to come to terms with that new equilibrium.

So, until the next day to day disaster provides me with something to write about (or until I process some things and get my pictures developed), I have been tagged with the following by WaveUnfurled:

"Five idiosyncracies I have and am willing to own up to."

1. I have always, even before my recent time in Texas, said "y'all", even though there is not a damn Southern thing about me.

2. I have no maternal instincts whatsoever for human beings, and overwhelming maternal instincts for animals.

3. The list of Things I Am Petrified Of includes: monkeys, marionettes, and revolving doors.

4. I refuse to eat any meat attached to any bone. (This one cause my Red Cross team to reconsider my need for psychological counseling).

5. I prefer all foods to be lukewarm, except ice cream, but only because that is impossible.