We met on campus at 12:30 due to a few students having Saturday classes.  Of course it was a smooth day and we were on the road in fifteen minutes…I am laughing as I write this because of course that was not the case.  Leaving for a trip like this takes time and our exit from campus took longer than I would like but once we got going it was great. We were lucky and the weather did hold.  Our first hurdle is that due to an overwhelming schedule of the students, the items that were collected were not bagged, so that was the first thing we had to do before we packed the van.

We have a fifteen person van with ten people and those vans are limited on space.  It really is like playing the video game tetris and we have to fit into the creases and spaces of the van every item of what we have brought.  We do that first and then we load in some of the service items, after that the people and more service items.  It is a tight ride to DC but so worth it.  The Penn State Abington community really supported the students cause and it was great to see about 8 huge trash bags full of donations.

Once we got on the road it was pretty much smooth sailing….well except for the detour because our front seat navigator didn’t let us know ..she really wasn’t a good person to be the navigator and wasn’t following closely.  Thank god for GPS it rerouted us and we were only about an half an hour more than what we expected.  We made one quick stop at 7-11 and we quickly realized with this group, that letting them know how much time they had would be crucial for this trip….

So those were our travels.

And so we arrive…

YEAH….the students are excited and when we arrive at the Shalom house they are ready.  They meet Anna our Amizade coordinator and she is super lovely and excited and it is infectious.  Due to our schedule and our packed week we decide that this is a night in to chill and relax.  We get settled and dinner gets started.  This is our Orientation night!! There are some great discussions and a quick realization that Y is a hard letter to come up with adjectives for.  Our schedule is packed but other than the early mornings everyone seems excited to dive right in.  This is a great group and as everyone writes you will see their perspectives and their journey.  I want to let Dhara write so I will let her fill you in on today’s excitement and add some comments on the end.  I hope to have pictures up for you by tomorrow as well.  It really has been a great two days and I hope we do a good job in sharing how amazing this experience has been.