Go Green Or Go Greensburg

I completed my final day of nine straight days blogging but I thought it was necessary to include some information about this trip, program, and town. I know I left out a lot of details but I was saving them for this last post before I move onto an all new territory of blogging. Let’s start from the beginning, I started high school in 2010 at Hempfield Area High School. High school was possibly the worst four years of my entire life thus far. It is easy to say that I had more bad memories than good ones. I compared my high school to jail for most of the time I was there. Like every high school, they tell you to get involved, so I did. I joined a bunch of clubs and Interact Club was just one of them. If you do not know what Interact Club is, it is a club for 12-18 year old students and is a branch of Rotary International. I got very involved with Interact my last two years of high school. Interact was one of the good memories of high school. I am not exactly sure when this program started with exchanging two students from KS to PA but I do know it was to get a couple of kids out of the mess and just get away from everything for a while after the tornado and rebuild in KS. It started with just bringing two kids from KS and then a few years later they decided to send one student from PA out. Like I said in a previous post, I have no idea how the students from PA get chosen but the students from KS get chosen by the school; or at least that is what the boys from the past three years have told me. If you want to know how I got chosen, you can read my first blog post here. It isn’t extravagant but it is how I was asked!

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Until Next Time

Today is the last day and I have successfully blogged for 9 days straight. Winner winner, chicken dinner!

The last day was the roughest day of any day that I was in Kansas. This was the day I had to leave. I had a plane ticket for around 10:30 and was dreading every moment of getting to Wichita. We had to leave relatively early that morning and I believe it was right around sunrise. That was the first Kansas sunrise I was going to see. It was just as beautiful as the sunsets.

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Excuse the dirty windshield but Marilyn and I were driving at that point! Just imagine it though; as the sun started to peek up from the ground it gave off a stunning pink and orange glow that radiated though the Kansas prairie. We stopped in Pratt to meet up with Marilyn’s daughter, Nikki, to get breakfast. At that point, hunger was not on my mind. All I wanted was to turn around and stay in Greensburg but that was not possible, no matter what. I told Marilyn, she was the first to see me cry and the last to see me cry! I do not cry much but, when I do it means there is something serious going on; or else it is lack of sleep! Marilyn had a way with words; she knew exactly what to say at that time to make me feel better.

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Goodbyes Are Never Easy

I am going to be honest with you all right now, I am currently jamming out to Hunter Hayes song 21 and I have no shame what so ever! On this day of my trip, I got to do something very special and I felt privileged to be trusted. I woke up VERY early that morning to go ride horses on the range with Sue’s son and granddaughters to count cattle head. Yes, I wore a helmet contrary to everyone else. Plus, if I wouldn’t have worn the helmet, my mother would have killed me when I got home!

Before we left, Sue made an amazing breakfast! I knew if I ate too much I would be barfing on the horse soon after I got on! So a light breakfast and we were on our way. I said my goodbyes to Sue until the Rotary meeting that afternoon. Her son and grandkids and I were off. I’m not used to walking outside in the backyard for about 70 yards and having the horses right there. At home, I am used to having to drive 7 miles out to the barn. Walking out the back door of Sue’s house was far easier than the drive at home! I was handed a huge horse named Bones. I got to ride this beast for a few hours. We loaded up the trailer and headed off to the first field to count the cattle.

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Confidence Is Key

July 22st was the day move to my fourth family in less than a week. As I woke up that morning, I slowly got ready just in time to leave on time. I dragged my suitcases up the stairs IN ONE TRIP. I was not about to make two trips up and down the stairs at 8 am. Uh-uh, no way Jose! I carried three bags up the stairs all at once and I felt like Rocky Balboa doing it because I got a running start.

I forgot to mention yesterday while packing my suitcases that I had more than one issue. In the house that I was currently staying at had a very indifferent staircase. It was normal until the bottom step. Usually a staircase at the bottom goes all the way down to the floor. This had a platform and then you turned either right or left and stepped down into the room you wanted to be in. It is easier just to upload a photo to show you!10553596_778386535515280_328522159817226732_n I completely forgot about this step while packing and BOOM I was down face to the floor. To be honest, I just laid there for moment or two to just absorb the fact that I actually just did that!

Anyways, back to that early morning! I said my goodbyes to Geneva and Sophie, then Mark and I went on our way. We stopped at a house along the way to pick up a guy, by the name of Tod, to bring him to Greensburg with us. At the time, I remember he said he was struggling and desperately needed a job. He was going to Greensburg to see the town and find out what his options were. Apparently he is a pretty awesome cook from what he said and wanted to open his own restaurant! I took his word for it!

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To Infinity AND BEYOND!

I couldn’t help but use that quote for my title today! It was too perfect not to use! If we remember in one of my last posts, I mentioned I am not a morning person whatsoever. That is okay though right? I mean these families had me doing stuff all day, everyday and it got tiring! Let’s note in I set four alarms and I still somehow managed to sleep through every single one of them! WOWZERS. More like whoops. It was nearly noon by the time I woke up and I think I was concerning Geneva quite a bit because she yelled down to see if I was okay! Just stupid me sleeping through every alarm!

After I rushed to get ready, I headed over to Mark’s house to see what the plans were for the day and he said he was going to take me to the Cosmosphere but first, we went to lunch. We went to a sort of fast food yet sort of local place called Hog Wild Pit BBQ. I have never had pulled pork as good as that day. I really do not understand what they do different out there with meat but oh my gosh, it is mouth watering!

After lunch we headed over to the Cosmosphere. I had no flipping idea what a Cosmosphere was until I got there and saw a huge ass rocket outside. It is not everyday you see a huge piece of what once was part of a rocket outside of a building! The Cosmosphere is a world class space museum and is home to many different pieces of history such as the Apollo 13, Liberty Bell, Blackbird SR-71 spy plane, a Sputnik, a flown Vostok spacecraft, and space suits and tools that have been on the moon.  It is the 2nd largest collection of US space memorabilia and the largest collection of Russian space memorabilia outside of the former Soviet Union.

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Put Your Hard Hats On

I seriously felt like Bob the Builder typing that title! But then again, I felt like a boss typing it too! #likeaboss

Sunday morning rolled around after an exciting evening of trying all new things. I’ve never been much of a church person but I have tried this past year. I guess I am just not motivated enough to go, but who knows! I knew I was going to church with Jan and Gene on Sunday morning and I had no idea what I was about to get myself into. I had no idea what religion I was about to sit through or how I would fit in. Jan had said I didn’t have to go but, of course I wanted to. Like I have said before, I was there for the experience! You just have to jump right into something new and don’t be scared. If fear is the reason you don’t do something, you will regret it later on. The feeling of regret is one of the bitterest feelings in my opinion. The church that I went to was the First United Methodist Church of Greensburg When got there, lots of people greeted me with a smile because they were genuinely nice people. I was a little hesitant but it soon dissipated once the sermon had started. At one point, I was introduced to Pastor Terry Mayhew. He was extremely welcoming and was happy to see that I had come along with Jan and Gene.

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Dancing With Guns

You know what is nice? Waking up to hear nothing but a few birds chirping and the wind rustling through the few trees that are around; not a single car driving down the dirt roads to make noise. Some days I wish I could escape to a place like that just to get away form the busy hustle and bustle in my Greensburg. Saturday was going to be a busy Saturday. I woke up around 8 and Jan had made a delicious breakfast, which she didn’t have to do at all! I got ready to go and we were on our way! The week I went their county fair was about to start and I got to see part of the 4-H horse show. 4-H in Kiowa County KS is 100% different from in Westmoreland County PA. First off the horses were different. These are work horses with a completely different muscle tone than horses in my area. They were muscular and moved with a full range of motion. Continue reading