The weeks leading up to our trip to Florida consisted of long routine days with piles of assignments and studying. The weather was also fairly gloomy and fluctuated between the low 40s to 60s. A break from Indiana was definitely much needed and all I wanted to do was leave Indiana, therefore I failed to recognize all the transitions I would go through during the trip. In the beginning the hot weather was a nice change and hanging out under the sun at Santa Rosa Beach was much needed. I appreciated the weather until it was time to work at the house in Mariana, Florida as working under the sun made the task much more difficult. At some points there was no breeze and the Florida humidity got overwhelming, however the thought of knowing that our work had a purpose, allowed us to preserve and complete our task. Not only was the environment a transition but also the people. At the MDS site we had seven adults who started off as strangers though we quickly bonded and saying goodbye was not easy. I feel we were able to build a relationship over meals and working at the jobsite by getting to know each other’s stories. Feelings of sadness were high as we said our final prayer as a group together. It was heartening to see that the impact on each other’s lives was mutual and that we all experienced unforgettable moments together.
Our final transition before we head back to Indiana was to stay in Ellijay, Georgia. The purpose of this trip is to debrief and reflect on the crossed cultural boundaries we encountered, our ability to have empathy and overall our work with MDS. I’m one to stay in areas that I’m familiar with though I see now how it is important to be exposed to different people and environments. What this trip has shown me repeatedly is that transitioning is not easy, packing up constantly, feeling that one forgot something is difficult. Though not the same, it gave a glimpse of what individuals go through during a disaster. There is so much that is unknown that creates a lot of anxiety about what is next. It is hard to imagine that individuals go through this on a much larger scale. Transitioning allows one to build their self-resilience and though it can be hard it is definitely a learning process that with more exposure the better one will get and be able to adapt.
Written by: Nancy Salgado