Thursday, February 25, 2010

First week of tour

I am really bad at updating this blog often, so I do apologize! A LOT has happened since my last post. The Ugandans arrived, and they are incredible. We greeted them at the airport Saturday night--there were 70 of us from the office, with like 10 huge posters. I bet airport security was on high alert.. haha.

So we spent a couple weeks with them in the office, getting to know each other, etc. We also continued training, booking our tour, and promoting our tour. I am in charge of promoting the first half of tour--it's super good experience and I've talked to a lot of awesome students and teachers. We have been so incredibly busy, but it still all very fun. Living the house with 50 roadies and interns is also quite the experience, but so fun. Always someone to hang out with and talk to.

A highlighted day would definitely be Valentine's Day. I slept in, made a delicious breakfast. I went to a local coffee shop with some other roadies and interns, and I drank a delicious Iced chai tea, wrote in my journal, and chatted with my friends. It was also a beautiful sunny day. Later in the afternoon, we all headed over to a nearby soccer/baseball field. Half the Ugandans played soccer with some roadies, while the rest of us had an awesome dance party outside in the sun. It was incredible. The Ugandans definitely know how to dance and are so freaking fun. Later, some of us drove in a van to Sunset Cliffs in San Diego to watch the sunset, and took a bunch of pictures (one of which is my current facebook profile pic!). To finish the day, I ate a burrito. woo!

"Launch" Day and dinner was about a week and a half ago. Launch Dinner was amazing--just a huge dinner event with speeches, videos, a performance by some of the team leaders and returners (Michael Jackson of course), and a performance by the Ugandans (an Acholi dance). We also all got free Incase backpacks which are usually about $120- they donated em to us! I love them. Perfect for my beautiful macbook pro.

The next morning we all met up at Mt. Soledad where we had breakfast, mingled, enjoyed the gorgeous view of San Diego, and listened to some more talks. It was bittersweet, because we were finally starting our tour, but it was so sad to say goodbye to so many people I've become so close with over the last month or so. I will especially miss Lindy, who is on team Texas, Garrett from team So Cal (mom you will meet him!), Catherine from the office, and many more. We caravanned with the Mountain West, Great Lakes, and Middle America teams. It was incredible. Across the country we dropped each time off in their regions. We drove for 5 days/54 hours total! We stayed in Flagstaff, AZ, Amarillo, TX, St. Louis, MO, and Pittsburgh, PA. I drove about 6-10 hours a day. A lot of talking, dancing, music, gas stations, etc. I can say that I LOVE the west and east coasts, but not so much the middle of America...

Our first week of tour was in Long Island, NY. We drove through NYC which was beautiful and HUGE! Innocent and Christo could not get over it. I have it on film. I need to post it! Long Island has a funny culture--haha. They all kind of look the same, Italian or Jewish. But all super friendly f'sho. We had 3 screenings at different high schools. The students loved us, and especially meeting Innocent. His story is so powerful and inspirational. I am going to film it sometime and post it here. I love high school students and teachers. All of the high schools here are indoors and reminds Hannah of High School Musical. Right now we are at a hotel in Poughkeepsie, NY. We have an evening screening at Marist College, which is a memorial for a student who died last November. He was a huge Invisible Children supporter, and while he was studying abroad he fell down the stairs of an ancient church in Rome and died- it is such a horrible tragedy. He was very popular and a lot of people should be coming tonight. We are actually about to meet his family and have dinner with them later. I'll write about it afterwards sometime. It is snowing like crazy here, but it's really beautiful.

Overall, it's been incredible. Driving across the country wasn't as bad as I thought, and everyone we've stayed with has been soo hospitable. We actually haven't had to pay for food once since we've been out here! I've only payed for food during the drive. I get along with my whole team very well, and Innocent is so freaking fun and goofy.

I'm sorry I haven't been the best at keeping in touch, but I will try harder. It's nothing personal--I'm just insanely busy! Know that I love and miss you all!!