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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Happy October, welcome back to NYC Civic Corps

Second Chance (Week of 10/1-10/4/12):

I am back to being a NYC Civic Corps member. I was a member last year but only for a short time. Once I became ill and found out I needed hip surgery, I had to exit from the program. Disappointed, I collected my things and signed the exit form. I shook hands with my coordinator and the director of Civic Corps thanking them for the opportunity. Since then, I've kept Civic Corps in mind and knew I wanted to reapply. And so I did and thankfully was accepted. The first day of orientation was on Monday and before the day was over I hugged my former teammate (who is also my friend) and thanked the director and chief officer of the Corps. I told them I am humbled by this "second chance," and appreciate them for accepting me again.Their smiles told me they were happy too. I liked the vibe from this group, because everyone seemed friendly and welcoming. The following days were fun and interesting.
Tuesday, I met more Corps members, learned about upcoming projects, and pulled weeds in a field out in Brooklyn. The goal was to untangle the weeds from growing trees that can be harmful to them. I haven't done this kind of work in years and I remembered my environmental days in high school. However, mother nature had another plan for us. It began to rain hard and my nicely done hairdo became an instant afro! In pulling the weeds, I almost fell into a bush, and joked about my bad hip. My teammates looked at me in awe by my many jokes including my afro. We laughed a lot. Later that afternoon, we went to the main office to pick up our "swag" which are Civic Corps bags, hoodie and T-shirts. I was already wearing the hoodie which was the talk of the bus ride. I explained that I received it last year and said how comfortable it is. One teammate said I sounded like a spokeswoman. I think I did too! *smile*

Wednesday was our neighborhood walk where we explored a neighborhood in one of the five boroughs. In my team, we explored the Lower East Side (and some of lower Manhattan). I had a chance to meet my new partner at our work site, as well as, other teammates. Everyone was so friendly. I had great conversations with them all, and of course took pictures (which was also part of our assignment). Some of my teammates are new to New York, and since I was familiar with the area I had a chance to share some of my experiences there. I showed them where I used to teach at, and recommended a restaurant for lunch. They loved it and I spoke some Cantonese. I've been practicing or should I say, "Gnaw yut yut leen-jop gong Guang Dung Wah" (I practice speaking Cantonese everyday). A teammate told me, "You have a nice personality. I can tell you're a genuine person." I felt honored. It was a nice day.

Thursday was our last day of orientation. We were in the Bronx, which is a borough I rarely get a chance to visit. There were workshops and valuable information shared from Civic Corps alum and guest speakers. I really dig that kind of stuff. During lunch and break times, I went around the room meeting people and exchanging contact information from my teammates. Networking is so important and a great way to get to know people. Eventually, we will all be working together. I stepped out of my comfort zone by taking the lead on getting to know people. It felt great and allowed my personality to shine.

I look forward to begin work on Tuesday and to involve myself in a variety of projects. I'm also excited because next Sunday is the first day of my ESL conversation class. My students are excited too; it's going to be like a mini reunion. I can't wait! 

Did I mention that I drank the best latte at Starbucks? You guessed it, their pumpkin spice latte is not only popular but super yummy!

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