First night in the valley!

A few rambling words before I get overwhelmed with the excitement and chaos of the next week:

I arrived to Alamosa tonight! Amy picked me up from Addie’s apartment in Boulder and we drove straight through to Alamosa. The drive took about 4-4.5 hours. Colorado’s mountains are so beautiful with the snow covering the peaks right now. It’s so different compared to the hills and valleys back home. I’ve noticed there aren’t as many trees here, and the dry climate makes such a difference. My lips are on fire right now for being so dry—glad I brought extra Chapstick Jessi made for Christmas! I’ve adjusted pretty quickly to the elevation and haven’t had any headaches or anything of that nature—definitely going to keep my water bottle at my side though, I am always SO thirsty!

I’ll be living in Monterey house with four other roommates. Lauren is from Texas and works at the Outreach Program and Food Bank. Jackie is from Minnesota and works at the Outreach Program and Rainbow’s End Thrift Store. They’re both doing their second year as volunteers. Jake works at VolCom and Weston, who is also a new volunteer, will be working at the shelter. I haven’t met either of the guys yet but I’m looking forward to living with everyone in this house.

The Murphy house had some pipes burst and a mold problem so the four of the volunteers from that house are currently displaced. Katie is staying with us right now. She’s from Tennessee and works at the VolCom office.

I had a Webinar presentation today on Point in Time. Point in Time is a survey that will be done for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless to get a count of the number of people who are homeless on the night of January 22. The Adelante program I’ll be working with is doing a lot to prepare for this next week and I will be going to their office tomorrow to get some training along with the other volunteers. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to help them too much with it next week though because I’ll be doing my orientation with the two other new volunteers.

There’s 25 volunteers working at La Puente now and tomorrow night at Community Event I will get to meet each and every one of them.

I think I am going to love it here in the valley. There are so many stars visible each night, the nearest town is 30 miles away, and you get a view of the mountains on either side of town. I’ve heard it’s unusual to get much snow, and it is ALWAYS sunny! But boy is it cold! Tonight is supposed to get down to -15 degrees and tomorrow is a high of 27.

All of La Puente’s programs are within a mile or two walk from my house and Adelante should be a 25 minute walk for me each day. Once it warms up I’ll be able to take one of the bikes around town and really get to explore the area. For now, it’s a matter of getting from point A to point B as fast as you can to get indoors again. There is one house car for Monterey but because it’s so cold I’ve been told it doesn’t start until after 10 a.m. There is also an “out-of-valley” car all of the volunteers can share, but between 25 volunteers wanting to make plans, I think it’s going to be difficult at times to do so. These cars are completely donated by people for the volunteers to use. I learned today that 92% of the funding La Puente receives is by private donations and fundraising. How incredible!

A few things within the area include the Rio Grande river, Great Sand Dunes National Park, San Luis Valley Brewing Company and Zapata Falls.

If there’s one key word I’ve learned to really put to use in my life it’s flexibility. It’s so important to be able to work around obstacles and be willing to make compromises and adapt to different situations that are thrown at you.

Such is the way of life here and I’m super excited to be challenged by it all!



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