First Group Pic!
Here we stand—all coming from many different directions, and will eventually go many different directions, but for the next 2 months headed in one direction, together, for one great cause. Get Fired Up!
(Also, I have a pic at this same spot from Spring Break senior year with my friend who I did my last trip with & who helped inspired me to do a trip to begin with (& this one!). I wouldn’t have done the first trip without her to begin with & now here I am for round 2! Isn’t it funny how life can come full circle sometimes?!)
I MADE IT TO KEY WEST!!!
First of all—thank you all so much for supporting and encouraging me to do this trip! I feel honored to be here and could not have done it without you!
Today’s wake up call was at 3am (after not going to bed until after midnight 😬) since I had a 5:50am flight and still had stuff to get ready. Moving all my belongings into the attic and cleaning was a tiring process in top tying to see everyone and making sure I had everything I needed.
Mom picked me up at 4:15 as I was prepping my necklace for Dad. I’m going to ride with a necklace in with some of his ashes in it since he talked about us doing a trip together! Well, now we can! Serverely unfortunate that it’s not the way he dreamed it would be, but I know he would love that I was doing a trip again and would be so proud. The necklace has a tree with four branches—I felt this was appropriate since I talked about letting this experience grow and transform us. I’m one of four siblings so the four branches are also symbolic of us and having common roots that ground us, but will also allow us to grow in our own different ways and directions.
So that brings me to Bike & Build —how I’m choosing to grieve, honor, celebrate, & live life in response to all of this. My first flight was to Miami, where I sat next to a baby about 3 months old who, thankfully, slept most of the way.
At my layover, I enjoyed a cafe con leche, meat empanada, worked on my town facts (we are all responsible for looking up 3 cites we will ride through and researching things to do in the town, what affordable housing looks like there, reach out to local media, etc), and met one of my riders! Jana Korn just graduated from UPenn and flew down from DC and also had a matching Camelbak to mine so of course my opening line was “hey nice bag!”
We then had a short 45 minute flight to Key West where we deplaned on the ground and we’re welcomed by some sweet, sweat humidity. We Ubered to the host on Fleming St and we’re greeted with hugs from our leaders Nora Jane & Aiden, quickly followed by Ryan and then Beth (I called her #4 🤷🏼♀️). We got checked in, received our awesome new super-visible jerseys, & new lights. We were the last to arrive (some people have been here for days!) and made our way upstairs to get settled.
We played some ice-breaker games, name games, ate some PB & J, and drank some coffee—already back to the Bike & Build way! We had a few presentations from the leaders on topics such as safe riding, a day in the life, and van driving norms. We got some pizza DM-ed (Donation Magic—Bike & Build term for scoring free food from local businesses so that we can cut down on costs and give more money to affordable housing!)!
Our team is only 17 strong & is made up of 20-31 year olds—luckily only one of us is 20 and will be turning 21 in less than two weeks! 😉 They all span from different areas of the country, many from or with ties to the East Coast, and from all different walks of life. I believe there’s actually 6 of us who have down 1 (or even 2!) other Bike & Build trips preciously! Comparatively, my last trip was made up of 31 friends and only one of them had done a trip before. Having that experience will be nice as it will help in the roads, in chore groups, etc. Oh, btw my chore group was found by *attempting* to make the sound of an elephant (Carly was much better at than Kristie or myself).
After dinner, we had a small break where a few girls and I walked to CVS and found everything and more that we needed—we are now HUGE fans of CVS and it’s already one of the team jokes! Carly found a big bag to store her stuff in that was better than the one she brought and for only $20—and it had wheels!! These things matter and make a huge difference in B&B 😂
After another long presentation where we were pelted with candy to stay awake & particulate, we had a small window of time to get ready for the next day before going to sleep. I wrote a few letters and thought about posting but with only 3 hours of sleep and a long day of travel & interacting & sitting through presentations, I decided to call it a night—of course I was the last one to bed, turning out the lights and all.
Tomorrow is a build day and I’m pumped to build in the Keys and with my team before we even ride our bikes! So pumped to be here and sincerely full of so much gratitude! It all came so fast! Everyone was even commenting “nice job on the fundraising” & “how did you fundraiser that fast?!” Well chances are if you’re reading this, you had a role that played into that so THANK YOU!! What an honor and priviledge and dream come true to be here—thank you for making this dream a reality!
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