Wednesday, February 29, 2012

'wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle...yeah! i work out....

i'm sexy and i know it!'

shesh, so much has happened since i last updated. let's see, sunday night my aunt linda cooked me an amazing going away dinner.  she made my oma's chicken and favorite things in the world!  she also made a turkey and green beans and broccoli and cheese and party potatoes.  so amazingly good. oh and cheesecake for dessert.  it was such a good time! i almost cried...but i held myself together!  saying good bye to my nieces was the hardest, especially my little isabel! she was my little buddy during the day!

okay, fast forward to monday and 4am, my wonderful momma took me to the airport and dropped me off. i had every intention of having to pay for my checked luggage, but nope! airport did not make me. amazing. so jamie and i met up and we got ourselves some coffee (of course) and then boarded a plane for orlando, florida.  let me tell you, the flight was bumpy! we then caught our flight to vicksburg, mississippi and ran into a bunch of people also headed for americorps nccc. once i found all my luggage we got in a van from jackson, ms to the campus in vicksburg about 45 minutes away.  the campus is so amazingly beautiful! postcard-like southern forsure.

i went through all the not so fun logistics stuff and then met my roommates.  my room in a three person dorm with a suite style bath shared with three other girls. my roommates are tenaya and stayci. the girls are both awesome and i was pleasantly  surprised that i get along with them so well.  we are all on the same temporary team as well...DELTA 7!

okay, so delta 7.  LOVE! wish we didnt have to switch teams.  our leaders name is tim.  he is this adorable 22 year old from north carolina doing his first year with americorps.  tenaya is from orange county, cali stayci is from the east coast and the other girl ren is from georgia.  as for the guys, there is sharaud who is from north carolina and sort of resembles nelly.  then there is jesse and patrick. there is also this super loud, but really funny 'brother' slater from baltimore.  steve is also from baltimore and another cool guy, so funny.  then the youngest guy on our team is little 18 year old victor from wisconsin. i am so in love with my team and do not want to share them with others!
this is steve in his lovely little outfit..haha

okay, so each morning jamie and i have been getting up and running...well more like she runs and i attempt. haha.

jamie and i on the first day
eh, i have met some truly amazing people. this is going to be such a personal growth experience. the weather is amazing and already hot and humid. and last thing, my first night here the plumbing in my dorm busted. fun oh fun.  i will be sure to keep this updates as much as possible but there is only wifi in this one building and either it...or my super slow.

love you all!

mail me stuff if you want!

amanda gschaar-Class 18 Winter
AmeriCorps NCCC
2715 Confederate Ave
Vicksburg, MS 39180

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

'the best is yet to come'

frank sinatra.

getting so close, less than a week! I am pretty excited about it too!  I feel as though each day lessens mhy anticipation a bit more.  I have spoken to Jamie just about every day, discussing our flight (620AM!!) or what we are packing and so on.

Packing is proving to be a bit of a nightmare.  I have that night little list, as well as a plan in my head to check one suitcase.  Let me tell you just how impossible that proved to be!  I am fairly certain I could have gotten all of everything in my one large suitcase, yet there is NO way it would be under 50pounds.  Once I realized that I did a little research on American Airlines and there requirements and rules and such and found that the first piece of luggage under 50lbs is $25, and the second piece is $35.  If I were to stuff all my stuff in just one, and it went over 50, it is going to cost me $100!  As a result I chatted with a few fellow Americorps NCCC folks, and they too are bringing two.

someone wants to come with me!

truly grateful for the space-savers! even my comforter and sheets are
in one of those bags!
Now that that is settled, I am freaking out about the airline losing my luggage!! Eek, lets hope that doesn't happen...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

"Side by side or miles apart friends are forever close to your heart."

15 days...oh man.

I got an email on Friday saying my flight information will be emailed to me in the next week and a half or so.  The email went on to give me a list of the paperwork I will need copies of upon arrival. I love lists.

Aside from that, I have been slowing but surely spending time with friends for the last time before I leave. On Monday I went to dinner with a dear friend from high school, Rachel.
from a few seasons ago, but you can still see our love for the BIRDS!
She is a couple years older than me, so when I was a sophomore in high school she graduated and my last two years in high school were so not as fun!  Our thing is cardinal baseball, we go to at least 3-4 games a summer.  Our dinner made me realize I will not go to a single cards game this next season, waaah :( She recently graduated with her masters in accounting and moved in with her boyfriend of like, five years, this past weekend.  It was an awesome dinner and I cannot wait to see where she is in life when I get back (maybe there will be a wedding to plan! hah, hint hint Jeff!)!

On Friday I went to lunch with my amazing, amazing, AMAZINGGGG friend Jason and his wife. I wasn't able to make it to there wedding over the summer so this was actually the first time I met her.  I was a little nervous at first, I mean, what if I didn't like her? Hah, I should have known if Jason liked her, I would like her.  She welcomed me with a big hug and is so sweet and I am pretty sure I would not have been able to pick him out a better person myself!  Good pick Jason, I if you needed my approval. Haha
this is from the summer, I should have put one of
him in his uniform. every time I see him in it it reminds me
how proud I am of him!
Jason and I met when I was fifteen and he was 21ish.  Sounds like it could have been a messed up situation, huh? Hah, no...I was a teen mentor at a conference and he was there working with the air national guard.  I continued to do various volunteer work with programs he supported through his work and some how he and his sometimes tasteless sense of humor won me over and we became and stayed friends.  We hardly get to see each other anymore because he moved to Kansas City and I have been away at school. We saw each other at least once a year when he came to Cape for a conference, and we always had a great time...ain't that right aquafina! Anyways, on a serious note, this guy is amazing and is such a great friend.  It doesn't matter how long it is between when I see or talk to him, when I finally do it is like no time has passed.  He is such a loyal and dedicated friend and I am so blessed to have him in my life!  I am so glad I got to see him before I left, and the lunch he treated me to was an amazing plus...I owe you! Can't wait till Danielle's wedding so I can see you again! And Laura, I can't wait to get to know you better! Maybe there will be a little Jason on the way when I return? Hah!

Okay, Friday night I headed down to Cape Girardeau to see all my college loves one last time.  Man-o-man did I have a good time :)
obviously had a great time! hah, and no I was not driving...
i was honking the horn trying to get our shuttle guy to come back!
I stayed with my friend Janelle.  She is basically my other half and I loooooove her! I was ecstatic to see her.  We went to dinner and my favorite Mexican place and then got matching shirts and looked like twinsies while we went out on the town!
don't want to leave you!!
Janelle and I were randomly roomed together our freshman year, along with Jamie, whom she went to high school with.  Janelle and I pretty much hit it off right away and were connected at the hip.  We did some rock star quality partying that year.  Sophomore year we lived together again, and man was that an adventure.  We had tons of lists that we crossed through...oh good times. Junior year we lived together again, but we had a falling out mainly because I am stubborn and find it hard to bite my tongue when I have an opinion...such a downfall of mine.  Anyways, is after a year...I came to my senses and got back what I was missing in my life, my Janelley! My senior semester was complete again and we picked right back up.  We have such an amazing time when I with her and is nothing but laughs.  I cannot believe I have to go 10 months without herrrrrrr! The plan is when we get our lives together we will find houses next store to one another so our kids will be friends too. Love! Good luck your last semester of college baby girllllll.

Right before we went out my friend Chloe met up with us.. Chloe and I lived together my junior year and we hit it off completely!  She was going to hair school, and let me tell you I loved being her 'hair model'.  She gave me the bangs that I am still rockin because I love them so much! She is a total sweetheart, and there is never a dull moment when I hang out with her.  We had a great dance that night didn't we CHLO-AYYY :)

After the three of us called out taxi (smartest way to get around safe and make smart decisions and plan ahead!!) Hah, anyways...from there we went to Buckners, the bar I worked at in school to see my favorite bartender Mr. Marcellus Jones!! He is the one who hired me at the bar, and taught me all I know :) I am completely and utterly unable to have a bad time when I am around this guy.  He treats me so good and always makes sure I have the best drink in hand!  He probably currently hates me because my last semester of school was frickin  nonstop work and internship that I never got to go out and hang out with him :( So since he had to work that night the plan was for me to take it easy and make it across the river where the bars stay open longer than the ones we work at.  Well I made it to 330AM and then went home and he got there like right after.  I swear I tried to stay up Cellus, I even avoided a tilt!! I love you baby new year!!!  Oh, and allow me to miss one more float trip and I swear I will be at the next one!

At the bar, I also got to see my favorite mexican love...Jaime.  Only thing that could have made that better would have been if he were in gym shorts ;) I met this kid working at Buckners and he is so awesome! He is so adorable and...just so you know...I will get you in that cooler before I die...HAHA!
myself, Janelle, Nicole, and bathroom pics
too bad its blurry!
Then, I met up my friend Nicole who I also worked with at Buckners.  She and I have a way with the bars downtown.  What I mean, is we typically make it to a whole bunch but only remeber a few!  Haha, she also has some amazing skills, I mean, who else can smuggle a full gin bucket out of one bar and into another? PRICELESS! She is such a sweatheart, and as much as I am going to miss her, I know she will be just fine because she has one sexy Dominique Thomas to help keep her busy! Haha. I love you :) Oh, and the best part of her, she understands my horrible jokes that I find hilarious but no one else does. Thanks for laughing!!

I ran into a bunch of other friends that night, though I didn't see all the ones I wanted to.  Nonetheless, it was a fantastic last night in Cape...and one my first weekends after Americorps, I will be back!  Oh...I also ran into my friend from Logans, Cody, that night and we had a pretty amazing time! Haha love me some healthy Cody!
my barbie and ken for the night!

The next day before I left I went to lunch with Meghan (aka bestie) and Cody (another Cody, aka BFC aka Codyliscious).  Meghan and I lived together on the same floor our freshman year and hit it off.  She started dating Cody that year, and he and I also hit it off.  I can pretty much say I have never hit it off so well with a friends boyfriend as I have with Cody.  Both he and Meghan are two of my very best friends.  She is one of those friends that anytime I talk to her I prepare myself, because she doesn't tell me what I want to hear, she tells me what I need to hear.  Such a perfect quality in a friend.  Cody is super laid back and someone I can always count on to just hang out with and not stress!  I am so thrilled to see how far these two go in the 10 months I am gone.  We all graduated in December, he with a criminal justice degree and is currently in the police academy.  She with a teaching degree.  Hopefully there will be another fun wedding in the future there, right Cody?!
apparently I love the kisses on the cheek pictures, but not as
much as I love these two :)

So that is it so far.  I know it is not like I am leaving for a super long time, and there's no way to know how often I would have seen some of this people if I were to be in STL these next 10 months rather than down south, but still...who doesn't love an excuse to see your friends and tell them how much you love them!  I love you all and will miss you so FRICKIN much!  I need all of your addresses so I can send you fun stuff :) Can't wait to see some more of my friends!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

"Enjoy the little things in life...

...for you'll one day look back and realize they were the big things."

24 days and counting.

It is quite obvious, not only because I have said it time and time again, that I am a planner.  Even now I am planning for what I am going to do after my AmeriCorps adventure.  I used to say this was one of my strongest qualities, and while I still find strength in that, I can also see how it is a hindrance.  I plan so much so that I lose sight of what is going on right now.  In high school I was planning for college, and looking back now I find myself wishing I had been more involved within the school.  In college I was again planning for my life after, so much so that I feel like my last semester in Cape Girardeau was spent doing nothing but work and I wish that I would have lived more in the moment.  Don't get me wrong, I loved every moment I spent in Cape, but my last few months there could have been a little more enjoyable in the way of hanging out with my friends and doing things I always wanted to do. (Jamie and I even created a type of leap list of things and places we wanted to do before we left, and while we accomplished some, the majority of the list was left uncrossed).

This is coming off a little whine-y, so let me clarify.  I don't want to sound like I am living with regrets, because I do not regret anything my life has handed me, because it was all of those experiences that has made me who I am today.  And not to toot my own horn or anything, but I am pretty proud of who I am.  What I am trying to get across is that I need to challenge myself to learn from my past and make my future better.  I can do that in the way of taking a breath and slowing down.  I need to stop counting down, stop planning, stop worrying, and blah blah blah. (Okay, maybe not stop, but slow down a bit).

 Slow in the moment!

I wanted so much to say I would start that once I leave for MS, but I think know it is something I need to start now.  I have spent many nights since graduation talking to my mom about how I am bored and ready for AmeriCorps to start so that I am doing more than just sitting around.  Sitting around watching television with my mom, talking with my dad, playing with the kids, sleeping on the couch, and babysitting seem like such little things to me right now, but I know these two months are times I will never get back and these small moments are going to turn out to be big memories for me.  As crazy as it is having 9 people crammed into a story and a half house, when will I ever be living will my entire family again?  When I think about it that way I want to cry and I see these times as something to cherish.

all of us, plus 3 more all livign under one roof, shesh!
As independent as I am always claiming to be, and as much as my mom and I butt heads living in the same house, I am going to be so homesick once I leave!  My family may seem a little dysfunctional, but that is all the more reason why I love them and will miss them!

What I am going to miss about my mom when I am with AmeriCorps is our daily bickering, because though it may seem all we do is fight, I know that we both take our frustrations out on each other because we know the other understands.  For example, when our nerves are short dealing with the little ones all day!  I am going to miss laying on the couch attempting to sleep while she is in her chair laughing at the stupidest shows...big foot exists my ass. I am going to miss arguing about having to go to get the kids just to be arguing, because in all honestly, its not that big of a deal.  I am going to miss her bed and sharing nap times with the kids so that we both get a nap in!

What I am going to miss about my dad is waiting up for him at night to see how his day was. I am going to miss those nights I try to fall asleep before he gets home but can't until I know he is home safe.  I am going to miss listening to him make his coffee, play solitaire, and watch the morning news.  I am going to miss laughing at him as he stumbles half asleep to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  I am going to miss being able to see him daily, even if only for a few minutes, because I know how much and how hard he works for this family.  I am even going to miss, as strange as it sounds, falling asleep to his snoring (because when were not on the same floor, and through the sound of my moms fan,  it is not as deafening!)
if PawPaw is home, Isabel isn't far behind!

What I am going to miss about Cherie is the constant surprise of what the hell she will be wearing next.  I will miss her strange obsession with following a schedule.  I will miss the strange characters she goes into (Hazel).  I will miss watching Glee with her and I will miss not being able to see her in her school play. I am even going to miss her 'Cherie speed' of doing things!

What I am going to miss about Rachel is attempting to pawn her children back on her when she gets home from work.  I will miss finding delicious looking recipes on pinterest, getting the stuff to make it, and never making it.  I will miss arguing with her over trivial things that we only argue about because we live together.  I will miss hearing her yell 'go to sleep!' from upstairs when the kids don't want to listen. I will miss sitting in the living room with her and my mom talking about, well, nothing really!
with four kids, someone is always picking on her!

What I will miss about Hailey is seeing the baby I fell so in love with nine years ago every day.  I will miss seeing her in the same uniform I would wear everyday when I walked home from school to see a baby Hailey standing in the door waiting for me.  I will miss seeing the same face she made as an excited toddler when she saw me as I do when I now pick her up from school.  I will miss watching her read.  I will miss helping her with her homework.  I will miss rare moments when she and the kids are playing nicely together.  I will miss her crazy stories and poses.  I will missing getting a hug, kiss, and 'good night Amanda' every night.

such a diva!
What I will miss about Jayda is watching MawMaw attempt to dress her in the morning.  I will miss the sweet little Jay that curls up next me and says the sweetest things.  I will miss the cocky little Jayda that gets an attitude worse than Hailey!  I will miss watching how good she is with Isabel.  I will miss her crazy stories.  I will miss her cackling laugh. I will miss her completely irrational fear of a stuffed rabbit.  I will miss seeing her in her Joan of Arc uniform.  I will miss seeing how shy she is at school.  I will miss picking her up from school and having her get so excited and come running to me.  I will miss cooking with her.  I will miss her wanting to stay in the same pair of pajama's for a week straight.  I will miss how apologetic she gets after being bad.  I will miss her saying 'night Amanda, love you' every night before bed.
sweet but sassy

What I will miss about Jorge is his constant energy!  I will miss him running from room to room playing in his own little world.  I will miss watching his, at least, 3 wardrobe changes a day.  I will miss nap time with him.  I will miss his sweet little voice when he is trying to get something from Isabel.  I will miss his never ending hunger.  I will miss his inability to lie.  I will miss how helpful he is during the day. I will miss watching him become attached to Rachel when she gets home. I will miss his silly fear of bugs, animals, dogs, or anything else that moves or makes noise. I will miss those moments when he decides he just wants some lovin and curls up on my lap.

sweetest boy in my life <3
What I will miss about Isabel is having a shadow during the day.  I will miss her saying 'MawMaw said' when she wants something. I will miss her ability to entertain herself.  I will miss seeing her crazy eyebrows every day.  I will miss listening to her sing 'need you now' and yelling if anyone else tries to sing her song.  I will miss her announcements and pure excitement every time someone comes home.  I will miss her being my little buddy and sneaking down in the middle of the night because she wants to sleep with me.  I will miss her silly stories.  I will miss hearing her say my name over and over and over when trying to get my attention.
crazy eyes! hah love them :)

Waaah, I am homesick already and I am in the same house as all these people right now!

I know I still have 24 days with these people before I leave, and I also know that I will get to spend all the time in the world with them once I graduate AmeriCorps, but my inspiration for this blog and realizing how much I need to live for the moment and appreciate each one came from my Opa.

One of the reasons I have been hesitant about accepting my position in AmeriCorps was the fear of something happening to my Grandpa while I was gone or he not remembering me when I returned.  On January 22 he passed away from a massive stroke.  It was very unexpected and so hard for the family to deal with.  My Grandma passed away in 2009, and my memories of the two from when she was alive are mainly dominated by her.  In the past two years I have been able to get to know my Opa and see firsthand what an amazing man he was.  As hard as it was/is to have lost him, I cherish the time I got to spend with him and I know he would be proud of the journey I am about to begin.  Having lost him also showed me just how mortal we are.  As a result to him, I realize how much I need to cherish these small moments with the people I love more than anything/one else in the world.

i love you Opa! thank for all that you did for me
When I get home from AmeriCorps I will again be able to spend all the time I want with my family, but I know those moments will never replicate these, so I need to embrace and cherish the next 24 days with my family instead of counting down to when I leave them.

can't wait to see how much they will have grown when i return!
<3 Love you Mom, Dad, Rachel, Cherie, Hailey, Jayda, Jorge, and Isabel!! <3