Friday, August 27, 2010

week 1

Hello from Americorps Land!

I walked through my front door today vaguely early and went ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. And then I went and sat on my deck and basked a bit in the sunshine.


In the company of a coffee yogurt.

Dear Coffee Yogurt: you are the greatest thing in the whole universe.

Also: does that appear to be a pepper plant? My  mom plants things in secret. I have no idea what that is.


So: the job!

For the next… 51 weeks, I will be serving (it’s not a *job*, it’s *service*, they have terminology out the wazoo) as an Americorps member at a learning center that does an afterschool tutoring program for 3rd through 5th grade students, many of them new immigrants and/or low-income. I’ll also be working in the schools two mornings a week, and finally helping to plan community events for families.

This week I’ve been training on a multiplicity of things to prepare me for this, as well as getting to know the other five people serving along with me. We’re at that fun time when you’re at a new phase in your life when you’re planning everything- some of them a little out there, some less so. I hope the Iron Chef Americorps competition works out.

But we were off hours. It was time to take off my Americorps pin.


I wear this (or the Americorps tshirt, or the Americorps fleece) every day for the next year.


However, I take it off when I am “off service”. When I am doing things that are not necessarily Americorps policy. Like, um, drinking.

Here’s my new coworker Erin with the display of goods- leftover chips and pumpkinseed dip (which just got better!) and what I’m dubbing a mango-rita.


Backstory: I anticipate the imminent delivery of an awesome sounding margarita mix a company is sending me to review. But it has not yet arrived! But I’d already invited my colleagues over.

Soooooo I raided the fridge and combined triple sec, tequila, and MANGO JUICE!


I myself went for a glass of white.


We talked lots, which made for nice decompressing after a long week. Obviously it’s early on, but so far I’m really stoked to be having what will surely be a pretty transformative experience with a really awesome seeming group of people.

Erin and Carolyn both moved away from their family pets to do this, so Sheila was a very nice proxy pet.


So that’s that! Obviously there’s more to come, but I am just not at my most… wow it took me way too long to come up with the word “articulate”. Irony much?

Let’s talk about food:


On Monday night, I arrived home and went “God I love oatmeal in the morning. But don’t want to get up at 6. And we have a lot of brown bananas. And some questionable milk.”

So I decided to make a QUADRUPLE batch of banana stovetop oats to then individually package and heat up one at a time as a compromise between fresh made stovetop oats (bliss) and oats made using solely a microwave (paste).

It was a brilliant idea, and basically worked, but do we remember that little fairy tale about the magical porridge pot where the girl knew to say “Cook little pot, cook!” but forgot “Stop little pot, stop!”?

It was kind of like that.


As for lunches, they have been quite good, particularly on the days I’ve been at teacher training, as they get their staff training catered by COSI! Roasted veggie sandwiches which I got cause there wasn’t a real vegetarian to get dibs. Plus a rocky road brownie might’ve also happened :D

As for dinners, I highly recommend throwing a dinner party the weekend before you start a new job.

Leftovers bonaaaaaaaaaanza! Some of them were straight up leftovers, but I did some artistic rearranging, such as this beauteous steak salad:


Lettuce, tomato grown by my mom’s coworker, local corn, avocado, and leftover steak and chimichurri. SO good!


Also, I bemoaned the night of the dinner party not getting a picture of the stuffed poblano, but quite honestly they are kind of ugly ducklings. 


But mannnnnnn that flavah! It just got yummier :D

Have no idea when I’ll be updating next.

But think I will probably go to bed soon, as I’m working for four hours tomorrow (Saturday).


Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen said...

Congrats on, well, everything in this post! Please steal my questions for Americorps...and I might steal your quadruple batch oatmeal idea because my room at school is so cold I sometimes feel like I should be eating a hot breakfast to warm up. :)

Tamara Marnell said...

I remember that story well because it freaked me out as a kid. A neighbor told it to me as I was sitting in an empty house...they were either in the process of moving in or out...and I was so scared of demonic porridge-producing pots that I think I had nightmares about it. I wasn't afraid of the cooked grains themselves, but I know what MY mother did when I so much as left toothpaste on a face towel, so imagine what I thought would happen to that girl. I think the words that came out of my mouth after the neighbor had finished, and the girl was still alive, were "But how did they clean it up so fast?" She was probably very confused about why I was so distraught.

Tamara Marnell said...

P.S. That reminds me; my oatmeal this morning boiled over a bit before I could get to it. Must remember to clean range before I turn it on again, or the stuff will burn and stick terribly.

Kaz said...

I look forward to you sharing with us your experience with Americorps! That's so wonderful! =)

sophia said...

okay, here's the thing: GET A SLOW-COOKER. Then you can have your mega batch of oats, and you don't even have to do much.

Erin Lee said...

Haha found you before you could link me by simply searching "Ileana food blog". Nice. And my picture is in it twice!! Nice!!