Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Massachusetts Overture

I'm having a hard time catching up on my blog because there's too many great things happening. So much has happened between VISTA pre-service orientation in Cambridge (north of Boston) and now, just having finished my first full month at Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity! Needless to say, I'm finally settled in and love exploring the Berkshires. I'm still trying to adjust to the proximity and convenience of everything; ten minutes in any direction and I can grocery shop, go to the mall, chill out to jazz at a tapas bar, dig into wings at a cozy tavern, swim and kayak in two lakes, attend a stage production, pour through museum works, walk through state forests and parks, or hike some of the state's highest peaks. For a small city on the rise from a post-industrial recession, Pittsfield is treating me well.

AmeriCorps VISTA training was at the Hyatt in Cambridge. This was my view of the Charles across to Fenway and downtown Boston. Between long sessions on capacity-building and eliminating poverty in the U.S., we were spoiled with classy rooms and scrumptious meals.
Although training was only three days, I met an inspiring batch of VISTAs who are serving throughout the northeast. Our focus areas include neighborhood revitalization like my own, housing, military and veteran families, education, and sustainable lifestyles. My ultimate takeaway was that even though poverty poses a tremendous challenge, every gesture can make a difference. How we help one another at the human level is just as important as more abstract action at the policy level.
Onota Lake, five minutes from my Pittsfield apartment.
My first assignment with Habitat? Selling charity raffle tickets at the local baseball park on a glorious summer evening that had one of the best turn-outs of the season (and fireworks).
Office views.
I love this paperweight that a family friend gifted.
My housemate, Elsa, is also an AmeriCorps VISTA at Central Berkshire Habitat. Her focus is on family services, whereas mine is on volunteer engagement. I've had a blast living with her so far. We make it a point to simply do things after work, like stroll around the woods, visit our friends, cook 'fancy' dinners, and revel in our selective frugality. It's not too bad!  
Another fantastic point of Pittsfield is that my former St. Lawrence Habi housemate, Luke, also lives here and works with me! I may have explained this already, but he's the primary reason I ever considered my VISTA position. It's pretty awesome to work with him.He and his girlfriend Emma (who I was also friends with at college) live on another small lake called Pontoosuc. This is the dreamy view from their dock across the lake and off to Mount Greylock in the north. It's the highest point in Massachusetts, but I still haven't hiked it.
As seen on one of my bi-weekly drives south to Great Barrington for ultimate frisbee pick-up games.
Hard to resist an afternoon roll with views like this (far side of Pontoosuc).
A pine-filled park along Pontoosuc where I brought my parents two weekends ago. It was muggy that week, but the weather is finally sinking into sweater season.
Labor Day weekend was celebrated with more lazy lake time and a hike up Monument Mountain, just south of Stockbridge. A quickie but with interesting trails, good company, and wonderful views.
A historical home at an arboretum in Pittsfield.
Pitt Park, which wraps around our office. Things are significantly quieter now that summer camp is over and kid's are in school.
Elsa and her dad strolling through a nice fountain park that is unfortunately placed in a very busy portion of downtown.
I hope these images grant some sort of vision of my time here so far. If you can't get enough of my rambling, I invite you to also check out my blog post that was posted on the Central Berkshire Habitat page. Onward to more adventures!

Listening: "The Last Day" by Moby

No comments: