Retreat to the Beach, Part Two: Squirrels, Sessions and Superstars

Sunrise meets Squirrel of the Morning

Woke up to the site of the sun hovering just over the ocean, turning everything shades of gold and espresso (couldn’t quite see the sunrise from the hotel – you gotta get dressed and walk down the beach for that, and that’s too much to expect of me in the am). By the time I got up and out, the balcony was already staked out by a rather shameless squirrel who had apparently come to unshakably associate tourists with delectable snack items, and I refused to disillusion him – especially after bearing the full brunt of both the imploring eyes and, when I seemed to be wavering towards resisting, the tentatively lifted and tucked paw of supplication. Gah!!! There is no resisting the uplifted paw/imploring eyes combo. See representational image.)

He seemed graciously impressed by my offering (a smidgity bit of organic energy snack, chock full of organic nuts, berries, seeds and grains). He was less impressed, however, with my fellow ‘corps members’ gift of a cherry tomato, which he ignored with disdain. Amateurs.

Our room had breakfast duty, and we laid out a buffet of yogurt, granola, pastries, fruit and juice. Of course, being rather more of an obstacle in the morning than anything approaching a help, I took my tea (I brought my own stash of fair trade organic gunpowder green tea with me) with to the couch where I wouldn’t get trampled, content to do the clean up after as my contribution to the cause.

Values, perfect lives and more letters to self

After breakfast, we had our morning training – a CD of a speaker talking about business communication skills, a values game (which shall get its own post), did a visualization of what our life would look like in 5 years if it turned out perfectly, got an assignment to write a letter to ourselves to be mailed out in 5 years (also, a separate post), and then did another round of Goals, Challenges and Accomplishments, this time on big “flip chart” sheets of paper. My entries (with expository notes):

Goals: Move from a state of reacting to responding; getting ahead of the game. [Basically, I’m spending a lot of time playing catch up to what needs to get done, rather than being able to anticipate and plan for activities. That’s just a crazy way to work. I need to find a way to get better organized, re: my plans and preparation.]

Challenges: Facing childhood demons every day and not going nuts. [It seems like every day, some kid is doing something, acting some way or going through something that brings back awful memories, reactions, instincts and triggers from my childhood, and basically yanks me right back there into the middle of it. It’s like a traumatized combat vet volunteering in a live war zone 15 years after the fact. Some days it’s pretty rough.]

Accomplishments: Creating the life of my dreams from scratch. [Hey, I’m living in the mountains, helping people and paying the bills. Wooohooo!]

Couch fu and the death of a star

After the morning training, we had a quick lunch (Caribbean picnic theme), after which we were free to spend our afternoon as we saw fit. A lot of folks went to the beach, and one went to visit family in nearby Savannah, GA. Some took bikes that had been rented for us out for a ride. Others hung out in the pool. I spent a few hours laying in the sun and reading, then went inside when the breeze got stiff to practice my couch fu, becoming one with the cushions for a few hours. My napping mojo remains strong.

Halfway through the afternoon, The News broke. Yes, folks, I’m talking about the tragic loss of celebrity sexpot Anna Nicole Smith. Apparently, several of my suite-mates were fans who got rather caught up in the drama. Who knew? As for myself, eh. Not so much. I’m not exactly a celebrity watcher, nor was I particularly surprised at either the timing or the resulting kerfluffle. But I must say that the effect on my suite-mates did have its own mildly entertaining value.

Wrapping it up

Anyway, dinner turned out to be excellent, with our colleagues going all out to shower us with gourmet goodies ranging from asparagus with hollandaise to a stupendous black-bean spinach lasagna that I will not rest until I have the recipe for. And home-made tiramisu for dessert. I’ll tell you one thing – I’ve gotten lucky with my Americorps service both times, in that both opportunities came heavily interlaced with great camaraderie and even greater cooking skills. Booyah!

After that, it called it an early night a hit the hay, and managed a full night’s rest with the sound of the ocean at my back and nary a panic attack to be seen. Nice.

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