Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Service Immersion Day 1: Animal Style

The group arrived at 6:00am on a brisk, cold Colorado morning. With pillows, sleeping bags and sunscreen (the necessities) in tow, we checked-in at DIA with child-like anticipation for the warm weather that awaited us. Each of us running on just a few hours of sleep, we still greeted the many fellow Regis students in DIA that were heading out to different parts of the country for Spring Break.

The many sights of the flight kept most of us awake during the 2 and a half hours from Denver to San Diego. I have never flown West so I was in for such a treat. The Rocky Mountains were absolutely breathtaking with the fresh powder glistening white and the thick snow clouds resembling fluffy marshmallows. To my surprise we flew over the Grand Canyon. Even from the airplane window the terrain is majestic in all it’s wonder.

Touch down in San Deigo, everyone giddy at the sight of palm trees. Stepping into the terminal and feeling the warmth as the sliding doors opened and closed for all of the outgoing and incoming travelers. Our minds and our stomachs were all set on our next adventure, In & Out Burger. If people overheard our group talking they might have wondered why we kept saying “animal style”.  I am sure they were wondering what non-sense this group from Regis University was saying.  I am sure they were thinking, “must be tourists”. And we lived that up in all it’s glory. Of course we took pictures at In & Out Burger and gauked over the low prices and yummy tastes of the burgers and fries. Most of us ordered “animal style” which is off the “secret” menu. .” We ordered, most of us saying "I would like a number 1, animal style”.  I don’t know what “animal style” is but it was quite tasty.

We loaded into our car, the first team building task, fitting 7 people and luggage into a mini van, which I have to say is by far the nicest mini-van I have ever seen. The fun part is that it has a blue light lining the ceiling, similar to the inside of a limo.

We headed towards the church to meet J.C. As we got closer and closer to the church the students started to realize just how close we were going to be to the ocean. We arrived and met John Jay (it took me a few days to remember his name).  They gave a quick tour of the very nice and peaceful Lutheran church that we would be staying in with access to a full kitchen, indoor basketball court, a quaint little courtyard and the indoor and outdoor showers. The students walked to the beach as Alicia and I set out on a shopping trip. After we bought food for the week including requests such as flaming hot cheetos, twizzlers, lunchables and enough caffeine to keep us up and awake, Alicia and I made it back and walked down to the beach to meet the group.

While it was beautiful and warm, there was also a presence of a cool wind. There were lots of people, some surfing, some building sandcastles, the sounds of two guys playing paddle board, many tan individuals, dogs, babies and a lot of sand (everywhere). Two of the most interesting things while people watching were two guys sitting up on rocks playing the guitar on the beach and a very skinny male doing back flips and aerobics as if he was at gymnastics practice.

We got back to the church. Had a little free time. Some journaled or called loved ones. Others took cat naps. We had decided previously to make our own pizzas for dinner. We met to start the preparation and it was amazing to watch the group that had only been together for less than a day, work together with such ease and productivitiy. The pizza was actually quite good.

We then made our way to Belmont Park, an ocean side amusement park. We all rode the large roller coaster with preconceived notions that it would be boring but to all of our surprise it was a lot of fun jammed into a small little package. Some rode other rides or played laser tag. Then ice-cream and a walk to the beach.

It was an early night everyone ready for the zoo the next day. I was just hoping that we all didn't burn to a crisp in this California sunshine! No worries, multiple bottle of sunscreen and aloe were on hand!

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