Monday, November 25, 2013

Hartland.. still?

You know what? I'm still here. My thoughts for maintaining forward momentum fell through, but everything is working out anyway.

And I must apologize to someone in New Jersey, who I told that if I ever failed to update my blog by Wednesday, she'd know I'd died. I'm sorry, I guess I can't really guarantee much of anything.

As I write this, it's been 17 days since I arrived, and I plan to leave in a couple days. I've spent longer here than any place that was not my home. Ever. In fact, I've spent more time at this place than I'd ever been away from home before this year.
Hartland Institute of Health and Education is a self supporting Seventh-Day Adventist health and evangelism college. As a student, one is required to work at least 16 hours a week in the farm, garden, grounds, shop, or one of the many other vocational training fields, beyond their class load. Because of the self supporting nature of the school, and the number of volunteer workers, the cost of attendance is quite low. By working 26 hours a week one can get room, board, and tuition for free, though this track does add some time to the finishing of a program.
Taken by Katherine
This is not a particularly large educational institution - someone said there are somewhere around 50 students, and a similar number of staff. However, due to the nature of the school, students come from all over. I was told that nearly 30 countries are represented. There's also a high enough Hispanic group that it's not infrequent to hear the staff speaking to each other in Spanish instead of English.

Staff I've interacted with come from places (as either first or second generation immigrants) such as Korea, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Australia, and the UK, as well as of course multigenerational American citizens.

David and Andrés
Students, meanwhile, come from Canada, Mexico, El Salvador, Columbia, Venezuela, Paraguay, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, China, Japan, Korea, Australia, Fiji, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, England, Dominican Republic, and many other countries, and all over the US.

For the first week, I really didn't have anything to do. Those I'd met seemed to appear and disappear with a strange irregularity. I didn't know the schedule at all, or what sorts of things were going on. Nothing quite as lonely as being near people, but having no way to talk to anyone. So I hid out for the first part of the week. Finally, I got bored, and asked to be put to work.

With my wrist still wrapped up, I went off to help Kevin chop wood. My job was to roll the hardwood rounds (as large as 26 inches across) to the lift, from where they would be rolled into the wood splitting machine, capable of turning a single round into 6 pieces of firewood. The larger rounds would still need split a couple times. I think that's the most lopsided "full body" workout I've ever experienced.

Mr. Riechard, Riley, and a student from China
That Friday, I attended a vespers program with Riechard's, who had initially said I should come over if I stayed that long, though I assured them there was no reason I would be. Ah, well.. plans change. :D

Mr. Shin and Kevin, as the choir busses prepare to depart
On Sabbath I followed the choir, who went to a Korean church to sing for the service. This was the first time I'd ever been somewhere where an interpreter was necessary for almost everything that happened. (Things said in English or Korean).

Baby Francis
At the Korean church, the platform was tight, and the ceiling almost not high enough..
Toki and Kevin 

Mr. Sanchez
After sitting for a week, I thought it a good idea to ride a few miles, to give me something to do, keep my leg muscles somewhat in shape, and evaluate my wrist. Oh, and I lost my helmet somewhere in the moving process, and had to get another one. Fortunately there was a bike shop nearby. While I was at it, I also got some attention to my axles. They said they hadn't been greased in maybe 10 years.

Never mind that it was one of the more scary roads I've ridden on (high traffic non-divided road with limited shoulder), it was nice to be riding again. I much appreciated the tail wind headed out, and not so much the head wind coming back.
Thanksgiving tables.. 
I stayed around long enough for the College's Thanksgiving meal. To give an indication on size, there were somewhere around 125 plates, for students, staff, and various community members.

I helped set up chairs, and fold and tie the napkins.

Katherine, surprised that one could possibly get a picture of her without her knowing..
After cleanup tag game
After being here a week, I finally developed enough contacts, and a good enough basic understanding of the general schedule, and the allowance to eat lunch in the cafeteria, that I could find things to do if necessary, and at least knew were to find people certain times of most days..

The only motion shot I got that panned out..
I was told when taking this shot that I always miss (it wasn't meticulously aimed). I think this was a score.
Saturday evening I was invited to the house of a married student (non-married students live in the dorm), for food, games, and, since I was there, telling stories. It would have been much easier if I'd had my laptop to show pictures with, instead of just my phone..

Minha ended up winning, proving that one need not be completely fluent in English to win at Apples to Apples.

Brother Beavers

This completely unanticipated stop has been wonderful. It's nice to be stationary, to be around the same people for more than a couple days, to be able to do useful work.. And, as it turns out, as you will find out, everything will work out well, and I'll be able to stay on schedule for the last bit of the month.

The one thing I'd miss the most being a student here, vs. just staying for a couple weeks, is the many talks in the evening with Kevin, a logger (equipment operator, mechanic), wood worker, farmer, builder, demolisher, and anything else that might need done. 

And for those who are wondering, my wrist is almost as good as new, though a bit of energetic shovel work Yesterday did irritate it slightly. By the time I finally get back to bike touring, I shouldn't have any problems with it at all. 

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