Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A bit about the journey so far....

       Hi all! The last time I made any activity on this blog was in 2012 towards the end of my Americorps NCCC year. I had grown so much more after my term than I could ever imagine. I came back from that journey, sure I was ready to start college. But months passed and I realized I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and wasn't ready to take classes with unclear goals and unfocused mind.
        In February of 2013 I took a job at Dairy Queen, worked one shift and decided I needed a major life change,one that got me out of my hometown. After a week of research into various Navy sites and pouring over Youtube videos, I made the decision to enlist into the US Navy and entered in July of 2013 (coincidentally into an Aerographer's Mate rate, which,for those unfamiliar, is a weather person).
       Fast forward 4 years, through bootcamp, A-school, two deployments incredible adventures in incredible countries and countless accomplishments (both professional and personal), I am now finished serving my contract and looking ahead to the next chapter in my life. I have grown exponentially more and do not regret one moment. There is so much that happened in the last four years, too much to write back on, I am choosing to create this blog about my current travels and life happenings (but happy to answer questions by email!).
      So what is the next chapter? Well for starters, I will be embarking on a European backpacking trip through the next few weeks and plan to be writing as much as I can about it! After that, I will be starting community college and hope to write about being a full-time student (finally) at the age of 24 and finding a new path career-wise. I'd be lying if I didn't say it's a bit (okay, more than a bit)  nerve-wracking to start a totally new journey, especially when I still don't exactly know what that journey is. But, what I do know is that there is a lot of opportunities out there and experiences to be had. So sit back, grab a steamin' hot cup of coffee, relax and follow along for these new adventures!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sorry for the late post!

Hey all! Internet is so infrequent that I haven't really gotten the chance to update! This month has been a whirlwind! It's so crazy how much need is still in the area, there are still a ton of homes that haven't even been opened since the flood yet and there are so many obviously uninhabitable homes that need to be taken down. Our team has been working with a local organization called Southern Valley recovery as well as Schoharie Area Long Term in hopes of getting to get these two organizations to work together to combine the skilled labor with the funding in order to create an even better recovery. So far, our team has demoed one trailer, demoed a trailer, demoed a trailer, demoed an outside room an porch of a home, took out and replaced a septic tank at our housing and also went into demoing another trailer. Unfortunately we discovered that there is mold under the carpet in this trailer so, abiding by NCCC rules that say we can go into places with mold, I think that we won't be able to completely demo this trailer.
   Since we live in the community food pantry, every Monday and Friday we help to bring in the donations from Wal-Mart and every Friday we help to give out the food to people who come to the pantry.
   Thursday we went caving for my team leader's birthday! It was fun, but I chickened out at the halfway point (still trying to get over my slight fear of tight spaces heh)
    It's starting to get a bit colder here, I'm hoping that I'll be out of the east coast before the snow hits!
My application for FEMA Corps is rolling through, it's a waiting process once again at this point.
 I know this isn't as detailed as usual, sorry! Blogging is definitely harder than I originally thought! If I put too much it won't be read, if I put too little I know I'm not describing everything. However if you do have questions, feel free to email me!

                                                                       Until Then,
                                                                     <3 Heather G

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Last round!

  I know it's been awhile since I've posted! I got back from disaster deployment saturday night and stayed at perry point until yesterday. Soon I'll post journal entries I kept from while on deployment (they're quite lengthy so I haven't been able to type them all up yet).
   Anyways, yesterday we left for our last project for the year. We are currently (and will be staying for the next 7 and a half weeks) in Schoharie County, NY which is about 60 miles west of Albany. We are working with an organization called Schoharie Area Long Term (SALT) as well as several other grassroots disaster recovery groups. We are helping to repair (as well as demo) homes that were affected or destroyed by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee last year. Schoharie County is made up of a lot of small farming towns, so we are really rural but the people here already seem super nice and I'm looking forward to be actually getting into the community this round.
   Since last year's storms have made its way out of the news headlines for some time now, it's easy to think that everyone just came together and got everything fixed, but this area still needs a lot of help. There are so many homes that are still in the process of being rebuilt and some homes haven't even been touched because of inaccessibility. A lot of homeowners that lived along the creek that flooded now live in tent trailers or FEMA trailers. One of our sponsors took us on a tour of the north part of the county and showed us where homes and trailer parks used to be that are now wide open spaces because they were washed out. It's really hard to imagine the scale of devastation that occurred, but you can see from the people who tell their stories that it's very vivid in their minds. Our team is definitely glad to be able to help.
   Today we started the process of demoing a house! It's really good to know that every ounce of effort put into this community is going to make a real difference. This is definitely a good project and we are also making a documentary of our team and the disaster recovery organizations in the area. 
   We are definitely in the country, people drive their tractors on the road, one of these days we may be stuck behind a horse and buggy because of the Amish communities up here, there are a ton of little small towns with hills and farmlands. I love this area though it's beautiful! There are also a ton of waterfalls and the stars here are so clear.
  As we progress in this project I will update more!
                                                                         Until Then,
                                                                    <3 Heather G

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Turn of events!!!!

  So Wednesday I recieved news that I would be deployed on disaster! I left on a flight to memphis on thursday and drove down to Hattiesberg, Mississippi. Things have been really crazy right now! Yesterday my team (my disaster team) did bulk distribution yesterday in Gulfport (chaos in itself) and right now we;re waiting to drive to Wilkinson County, Mississippi to see if Red Cross relief efforts are needed there as Red Cross hasn't been in contact with the county so who knows what we'll run into.
    My phone broke (yet again, I shouldn't even own a pone anymore) but I bought a camera so at least I have a way to take pictures. I'm getting a really good experience here and already learning a lot (especially to be VERY flexible) keeping an up to date journal of this deployment so I'll be more detailed when I have more time and internet, which I'm not sure when that will be.

                                                                      Until Then,
                                                                  <3 Heather G.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A waiting game (no-go on disaster)

   I was super pumped to be able to get to go help with shelters! Myself and another teammate who was going were all packed up to go... but unfortunately American Red Cross' travel agent couldn't book our flights in time before the airports closed down. Definitely a major let-down. There's the possibility of going after the storm hits but I say it won't happen as this storm will be pretty small when it does hit (which is good for everyone who lives there of course). But this is how disaster deployments go, always hurry up and wait (we were waiting all day to go!) and sometimes, no matter what organization you're with, things happen and you won't get to go down and help. Nothing to do about and while a bummer, I will try to focus my energy towards our last project, which is still dealing with disaster, just in a different way. My time will come be it this year or in FemaCorps, and one day I will be able to go down south, whether it be disaster related or not.
   The good thing is that Hurricane Issac will only be a CAT 1 storm and the affected areas seem very prepared which is awesome.
    For now, I will be spending two weeks at the Point for fall break (4 days) and transition. We deploy out to our projects on September 12th. A busy couple weeks ahead.

                                                                         Until then,
                                                                     <3 Heather G

Monday, August 27, 2012

A new adventure begins...

  In a few short hours, (or maybe an hour, I literally have no idea) myself and another teammate will be on a flight to Baton Rouge, Louisiana for disaster preparation. I'm not sure at all what I'll be doing, all I know is that I'm going. This is what I've been waiting for all year since joining Americorps, going to the South is a definite plus as I've always wanted to go. Hopefully this storm won't be too bad, I've been reading news articles about how similar the path is to Katrina which is eerie to think about as we are two short days from the anniversary of the catastrophic storm. Luckily predictions seem to be well below the strength of that storm. It'll be interesting to be in the area, my dad was in Mississippi doing search and rescue when Katrina hit which was really the event that sparked my interest in the disaster field.
  Nobody is sure how long this deployment will be, it really depends on the outlook of this storm, it could be from a couple days to a few weeks, depending on if this storm becomes hurricane or not. I'm really looking forward to being able to see disaster preparation and then come back to my team and project to see the disaster recovery projects by helping to fix homes in disaster areas from last year's storms.

That's all for now, I'm told that we'll be flying out today and then staying in a hotel tonight (a hotel? what's that? maybe I should break out the cot to make it feel like home haha) It's all a waiting game right now someone from red cross is supposedly coming to do our paperwork and i think that's what we are waiting on.

                                                         Until Then,
                                                      <3 Heather G

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

We are going...

 To a place called Schoharie,NY (which is a county). We will be doing disaster recovery from last year's storm damage. We are working with An organization named SALT (Schoharie Area Long Term) we will be helping to renovate homes and make them livable to homeowners.  \
  This will be an intensly cool project, but at the same time, I'll admit that I'm worried about being so far from just about everything. This is a very rural project, which means no internet on site, limited cell service (which for me, means no service since I have lame Metro PCS) and also limited transportation. I am interested to see however if this area is one of those cutesy small towns with a main street, which if that's the case, it'll be a really neat area.  We will be staying in a church in the area.
  I'm definitely looking foward to the clear meaning in the project and since we're doing disaster recovery I'll get to see this side of things before getting into 9(hopefully) FEMA Corps.
   Well, that's it for now! I'll update later as it is pretty late!

                                                    Until Then,
                                               <3 Heather G