I certainly have a lot to update you on over the last few months. Over Christmas I got to go home to Seattle. It was great spending time with friends and family, and a refreshing break from life on the Gulf Coast. When I returned in January things were very challenging for me for a while. I had a very hard time working with my new co-village manager. We simply have very different approaches to how to do things and were not able to find a common ground to work through those differences. I tried my best to make the best of the situation and find a way to fix things, but it just wasn't possible.
Fortunately my boss was willing to work with me to find a place for me so I could continue working on the Gulf Coast. Now I am working with our case manager and am being trained and am starting to work as a case manager myself. I am really enjoying what I'm doing now and I think it's a better fit for me than being a village manager. I have the opportunity to talk with a lot of home owners and I am getting a better general feel for how much work there still is left here on the Gulf Coast. As I case manager I visit peoples' homes to find out what they need to get back into their house and help them develop a plan to do that. Also I help them find funding.
Recently I've been calling all the home owners we have in our files in our camp in Pearlington to see where they are in the process of getting back into their homes. It can be a long and sometimes boring process but at the same time it's very interesting hearing such a wide variety of stories from people. There are people who are back in their homes and doing just fine to those who seem to be still starting out and have a long ways to go. I hear a lot of stories of frustrated people who feel like they've fallen through the cracks and have basically received no assistance, but I am also encouraged by the stories I hear of people who have received volunteer help and are now giving back to the community because they are back on their feet again.
In other news, Mardi Gras just ended last week. Some of the people I work with and other friends spent a long weekend in New Orleans going to parades. We had a blast and definitely got a taste oflife in New Orleans around Mardi Gras. I have way too many beads, a ton of stuffed animals, feather masks, and other little useless things I caught in the parades.
Dan and I after the Endymion parade with all our stuff!
A Mardi Gras parade float
Our Mardi Gras crew waiting for the parades