Have I mentioned that I love my life? I really, really, really do. I love my job(s) and the people I work with! I love all of the amazing opportunities that are unfolding like a reverse origami paper crane! I love the life I am making. I love the reflections I’m seeing. It’s all just so ridiculously wonderful.
The weekend of May 12-13 I went to the field manager retreat with Texas Campaign for the Environment! The retreat was to establish common grounds & goals throughout the Austin, Dallas, and Houston offices. It was quite successful experience; our overall objectives being found after many hours of bloodless battle. Needless to say, I am very glad I had the privilege to go. Haha, but really, I think it helped bring in some perspective we didn’t previously have as an organization.
On Sunday, when the FM retreat ended, the Panhandle Palooza started! The Panhandle Palooza is part of a much larger project called 181, where our organization travels to all 181 districts throughout Texas to gain support from all the communities to protect Texas’ environment in multiple ways. Four of us went to the panhandle; Renee, Ashley, Ricky, and I. Renee & I are from the Austin office, and Ricky & Ashley are from the Houston office. This is a summary of our adventure:
Sunday night, we drove to Wichita Falls (by we, I mean Ricky.. he drove most of the trip) and stayed at the cray-cray Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel. On Monday we canvassed Wichita Falls after eating at a place called Fuzzy’s Tacos (hahah) and visiting the River Bend Nature Center. We ended the night back at the hotel & woke up early Tuesday morning to drive to Palo Duro Canyon!
-Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel-
-Ricky, Ashley, & Renee-
-Trail by River Bend Nature Center-
-The Butterfly Conservatory-
-Renee & Ricky-
Tuesday, we set up camp in a quick 30 minutes and drove into Amarillo where we ate at a yummy restaurant called Abuelo’s, The Mexican Embassy and enjoyed a cat-nap in Memorial Park before we canvassed. When our day finished, we went back to the camp site and drank & ate by the light of a solar flashlight. Hahah, so serene. We couldn’t set up a fire because there was a fire-ban, but it didn’t matter, we had tents & the stars and that’s really all that’s needed. We could have used a fire though.. it was super cold in the canyon that night. At one point I was woken up by my chattering teeth and found Ashley sleeping comfortably in the car with the heat on. Smart girl.
-Me, Ricky, & Renee-
-The Gardens at Memorial Park-
Wednesday morning, I got up before everyone and went on-foot to explore the canyon. Once I got back to the campsite we all got in the car and took a car-tour, getting out at certain points to appreciate & take pictures. The canyon is so beautiful, words and pictures cannot express the serenity and awe felt there. After the tour we ate at a great Italian restaurant called Pescaraz and canvassed in Amarillo where I met some very awesome people. I met the Senator’s sister-in-law & her son who were so very kind and warm and supporting of TCE. I also met a few people who work with The Hunger Project and I am very excited to have met them! The Hunger Project can be a great opportunity for my future after college and TCE. All in all, Amarillo was an amazing town and I would love to go back to canvass there again next year.
-Ricky & Renee-
After eating a decadent meal that Ricky made for us & spending our last night in Palo Duro Canyon, we packed up and drove to Pampa where we ate at a restaurant called La Plaza & canvassed an awesome little neighborhood where I met a cute little baby bird.
-Renee & Ricky at La Plaza-
Friday, our last day in the Panhandle, we spent canvassing in Wichita Falls. At the end of our day, we drove to Dallas to spend a fun night with the Dallas TCE office.
Saturday, I was planning to go back to Austin with Ricky & Renee, but I decided to stay to table at the Dave Matthews Band and Edward Sharp concert! I volunteered with Luke to run the Brita Filter for Good table where we hosted a game like beer-pong, but with water bottles. If you got the ball in the bottle, you won a special edition Dave Matthews Band water bottle to help reduce plastic water bottle waste! After the game ended and we shut down the table, we all got to watch Dave Matthews Band perform & it was fabulous.
I spent another fun-filled night in Dallas with the TCE office and got on my first Greyhound (the bus, not the dog) Sunday to come back to Austin. It was such an awe-mazing trip and I am so very grateful for my life and all that is in it. <3