~ Empower. Inspire. Encourage. Innovate. Enhance. ~ Autorizar. Inspirar. Animar. Innovar. Realzar.~

Getting Cracking On Packing

The calendar read August 3 as I sipped my coffee this morning . Ya and...I thought, summer is slipping by and you will be headed out to Nicaragua in less than two months. Then it left my lips “YOU WILL BE LEAVING FOR NICARAGUA IN LESS THAN TWO MONTHS!”
I sprang from my chair and began writing a list of all the things I need to pack. I made lists of things; I need to do, want to do, should do, have to do, haven’t done, and what I am going do. My mind flooded and heart began racing. I have been looking forward to making this trip for so long and I can hardly believe it is right around the corner.
I have been working really hard at improving my Spanish. I think everyone I have been in contact with over the past eight months can vouch for this! Thank you to everyone for challenging my knowledge, tolerating my learning, being inquisitive about Spanish and even testing my patience. I may not have it mastered but I should be able to get by.
I have also been reading some amazing books by Gioconda Belli, a very famous Nicaraguan author. She has become one of my favorite writers, her personal story is incredibly empowering to women everywhere. I believe in strong, positive, influential female leadership. Trailblazers like Belli have laid the foundation for my generation, my daughters and her daughters generations, to rise above the chains of repression that still exists across our planet.

My amazing, supportive, boyfriend has taken me on a million miles of walking, hiking and mountain biking trips. We've hiked and biked all over Acadia National Park this summer and I am hoping to hike Gulf Hagas, Moxie Falls and Katahdin before I leave. Jack London said it best ‘I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.’
My beautiful daughter, Jami, came home a week ago, after nearly two months of volunteering in Mexico and contracted a nasty parasite, she has been on a strict diet, the poor child is already sensitive to virtually everything and has made a conscious decision to become Vegan. What a healthy lifestyle change it has been for her. Since, her arrival, our home has been turned into a non-animal-created-veggie-fruit-eating-haven-of-good-health. Which, fits nicely with my nourishment plan for Nica. They are mostly vegetarian in the area I will be volunteering and now my body wont go into ‘Oh my goodness there’s no chicken shock…’
I have been working on my going greenness:
My boyfriend, Gary, and I each planted gardens which we all know is better for our health and the environment  I have learned a little bit about patio gardening and hanging planter gardens too. ANYONE, ANYWHERE can and should have a garden...For us, we will not need to purchase any vegetables or some fruits; sauces, pickles or tomato based anything from the supermarket. I have also become increasingly more aware of what I am buying and what I am throwing away. He is a huge recycler and I am learning to become one. I am, however, a mass reuser.

For example; I do not throw away the plastic bags from Walmart (if I go there). They are either reused or not accepted as I am a frequent B.M.O.B'er (bring my own bagger).  I also don't throw away my ziplocks. I wash them a reuse them until they wont zip anymore. I reuse foil too. I also don’t  buy four million Dunkin Donuts coffees anymore (sorry Tony) I grind my own coffee and use the grounds as compost. I don't use those plastic travel mugs either I just finish my coffee at home or use my ceramic cup. Everything left over from our plates and the refrigerator is added to the composter. 
Speaking of compost, I am a beginner composter. I plan on having a healthy batch of homemade dirt next spring to, yup, you guessed it to sprinkle on the garden. 
My goal for next year is to have a water collector to use as an irrigation system for the garden rather than run the city water through the hose at umpteen billion dollars a  gallon per second to come in and out.
I think we know what I do with what few returnable’s I have. 
I have donated excess clothing, shoes, jewelry to charity in two ways which just seem to keep on giving. The first, being I sold my like new clothes at a local consignment shop, owned by a childhood friend, who has her shop in my city, and later used the proceeds to support a family in Guatemala. The second, items were given to two groups; a local women’s church organization, that helps women in need and a local special needs operated store in my city which resells the items. Ya, I love to tell that “Re-” story.
I do not write checks anymore. I do not use the post office anymore. I pay all my bills online, I receive all my bills o line and when I am not online my computer is off and disconnected.
I have been reading about using plastic containers as planters for seedlings and have a stash in my garage of them set aside for next spring.
I hang my laundry, even if it means waiting for a sunny day. I have literally unplugged everything in my house that plugs in with the acceptation of the core items (i.e. refrigerator) everything else gets plugged in as needed. I do not run things unless I have to.   
I have become a nitpick about flushing and running the shower. I don’t run the water while I brush my teeth or am rinsing the dishes (most of the time).Though, I confess I do love a nice long hot shower.
I have been eliminating frivolousness like having three air conditioners and four televisions. I dumped cable two years ago and haven’t put three a.c.’s in, in years. I will be lightening my load soon so be watching...for a new RE summer of 2012. 
I ditched the landline six years ago, we have cell phones what’s the point. 
I don’t run my car for hours and hours. I run it when I am in it. It makes my stomach turn when I see people leave their vehicle running and running for no reason…really you are part of the reason the environment sucks and that gas prices are so high.
I watch the things that I buy in the store. I don’t like to buy needless senseless items that are only going to fill up the landfill later and kill a million trees before it gets there. I don’t buy boxed cereal, bottled drinks (often), Kleenex, or tear off the top sheet of the note pad cause it’s dirty. Actually, I am pretty careful about what prepackaged items I buy.
I also watch the impact certain cleaners have on the environment and other chemicals. I don’t just dump things down the drain, behind the garage, on the side of an old country road or into dark plastic bag (so the city trash collectors can’t see it). I am not the best at any of these things but, I am a work in progress.
I loved the talk I had with my general manager at work one night about some of the ways our restaurant recycles and it got me thinking about the oil and paints and left over what-nots at my house. He told me our restaurant sells the grease to a local company that makes soap. NICE! Slowly, I have been finding ways to give these type of items to people who use  left over by products or pieces parts rather than bag it up and put it at the end of the driveway on Monday mornings.
I also try very hard to be aware of where my products come from. Yes, I know some things are not yet in my control but I do make a good faith effort to buy local. I believe in supporting small businesses and removing myself from the corporate shmorporate world. If and when I can I also, as sexist as some of you may feel this is, believe in supporting woman in business. After all empowering woman is what I am all about…
Of course there is more I have learned and much more to learn, that’s why it is called ‘going green.’  It's a step in the right direction…hence the green footprint in the sand...It's kind of my own little trademark.
What am I going to pack…I have my what-to-wears already figured out. It’s HOT there so light weight, t-shirts, khakis and capri’s the usual. I am working on learning to braid my own hair so I wont be packing the blow dryer, curling iron and hair spray...Mayyyyybe...I also have my bug repellent (unfortunately it has deet in it) and my bug bed net! I shouldn’t have any bug incidents but who knows. A good score at L.L.Beans landed me a pair of comfy hiking shoes that will now be a part of all future trips to Central America. Most every item I am packing is environmentally friendly. I am really excited as I have begun to pack ‘gifts’ to bring to the organization and donations. I am making a conscious effort to use “RE” items or stick to my rule being corporate-shmorprate free.
I am really looking forward to getting down to Nicaragua doing some amazing volunteer work, visiting, making new friends, touring the gorgeous country that awaits, studying more Spanish (immersion is the bomb) but, one the things I am most excited about is learning more “RE’s.”
Here's  the push…I would love to fill up a bag of goodies to bring to Nica made by your creative and talented hands. Be it a quilt, knitted mittens, booties, hat, or scarf  I would love to share it. If you are a soap maker, body lotion or potion creator, have a creative crafty recyclable hand and want to share an idea on recycling and reusing, I want to bring it (especially if that craft has instructions). If you want to share your story on your own RE's success send it to me. I will share it. If you have organic farming tips, self sustaining environmentally friendly advise to share with a flourishing existing farm I would love to pass it on. If you are an animal conservationist and have helpful hints please feel free to share them. Also, if you are into REforestation I want to hear from you, sharing is caring (corny but true).     
I really would love to bring coloring books, note books, pencils, pens, rulers, crayons, and markers (especially from recycled paper though I am really not fussy). School begins for everyone very soon and I would love to carry items for at least two dozen students to have one pen, one pencil, and one notebook for the school I will be involved with in Nicaragua.

If you are interested post a comment, email me, facebook me, text or call, or just stop by the restaurant where I work.

1 comment:

Jewles said...

WOw Jules ~ sooooo impressive! Have I told you lately that I love you? You are truly an amazing gal! Prayers are with you in your journey & always!! Spread the love beautiful one!:)