Saturday, January 22, 2011

First Summer of Diving.

      I got back from the annual UCF [  ]mission trip to Mexico last spring break and was bogged down with the typical post-mission trip blues.  You know what I mean, going from the beautiful miraculous week and being merged back into regular society. 

 There, it seemed like everything was Godly and everyone was a beautiful contribution to your life, and then when you get back everything seems dark, dreary, and everyone around you seems to think God is irrelevant.  You sink back into your old habits, resolutions you made on the trip fade away quickly, and life resumes as normal.  This usually puts me in a depressive funk, feeling as if Im searching for something in life that is not there, and as others on the team and myself would say, lets try to bring the Mexico to Charlotte.  Or lets try to inject God into everything here as it was there. 

      The shiny missionary mindset began to fade and my friend Kristen Covington, whom I had bonded with on spring break, and myself began to pray for new opportunities to serve God, and for Dios himself to grant us a new mission to embark on.  The same week I started praying these prayers we went to CharlotteOne, [] to jump into some hard worship with the Big guy.  Sure enough, our prayers were answered, at Charlotte one, Childrens Impact Network [] was there, trying to fill some spots on an open team going to serve at an orphanage in Bolivia. I felt the Holy Spirit seep into my heart and demand I go.  Kristen and I looked at eachother and knew we HAD to go.  My heart thumped with joy, but financial doubts creeped into my brain.  "It's impossible", I thought, "How can I do this?"  But just then Andy Cherry and the others in the band, who are phenomenal by the way, started to sing,
"Nothing is Impossible with Him"
And I knew I had to do it.  We squeezed eachother ecstatically.  There would be no more doubting from that point forward.  For the rest of the school year we planned and plotted how to afford this trip.  "If God wants us to go, he will make it happen" was our mindset.  We sold energy drinks and silly bands and went door to door throughout the highrises collecting spare change.  We carried around empty oj and soymilk containers to fill with change. 

 We scoured parking lots for nickels, we applied for a hundred jobs, we started a facebook group to create a network of donors and supporters.  We sent letters and emails and our strategies to get money were endless.  We had billions of ideas.  We collected a few hundred in spare change.  It was a great start.  Kristen moved into my tiny UCLUB bedroom and slept in my twin bed with me and Nugget or in my floor.  Every day we prayed, read scripture, encouraged and inspired eachother, and strategized how to get money from the morning when we woke up until we passed out on top of our books. 

  We worked as much as possible, had car washes and yard sales, and our food situation wasnt the best.  We lived off of apples, bananas, peanut butter, taco bell, and cookout all summer.  Seriously, thats all we ate, that and any free food we could locate.  I wonder now, if I had dumpster dived all summer how different it would have been.  I stole food at my restaurant job right and left, a fry here, a chunk of lettuce there.  I had to do whatever was necessary to get to Bolivia and meet these kids who would forever change my life.
 I first heard of diving from one of my good friends Jake.  I went to the pentagon for a typical get together and really needed to know why there was endless amounts of bread covering their wrap around kitchen counters.  He told me they had dumpster dived the delish carbs and that they had dived all kinds of amazing goods and got together for dumpster dinners.  I was intrigued.  This cute, clean, fun guy ate out of trash cans? No freakin way.  And all the friends we have in common do as well?  and they admit it? wow.  I next heard of dumpster diving from facebook pictures of a friend and UCF acquaintance who had also went to Mexico, Dalen,[] who would put up pictures of various normal looking food items he had found in the grocery store dumpster as he passed by on walks. 

I also heard of diving from a girl Kaitlyn, who I had seen at UCF many times, she seemed strange and always had a huge ridiculous, contageous, smile on her face for no apparent reason.  The girl reeked of Jesus.  We always said hello at events and on campus, we assumed we both loved God, and that was really our only commonality.  One night after Guardian Ad Litem training, I drove around the university area picking up cans off the side of the road and out of garbage cans and recycling bins, to recycle for money.  I was bent over with the top half of my body in a smelly trash can, fishing out cans, in a lace top and red stilletos.  I got a text from my friend Robby, who is the man, informing me that he had a large television I could use in my yardsale the upcoming weekend.  I drove over to his place to grab the set, and there was Kaitlyn on the hood of her car in the driveway , looking exuberant and smelling of chlorine from her job at the Y.  We got the set loaded into my trunk, and I started talking about how excited I was to visit a country that was basically a mystery to me, and found out that Kaitlyn had been there!  She told me all about her travels, and somehow the conversation got around to dumpster diving, I expressed interest in going with her, and saved her number as "Kaitlyn is Amazing!" in  my contacts, stoked at the idea of diving and at the fact that she had been to Bolivia.  My whole life I cant remember ever meeting anyone who had been to Bolivia, and Kaitlyn had been.  : ) 
     Kristen and I scrounged our pennies together and did fundraiser after fundraiser for the rest of the summer and miraculously came up with enough money for the trip.  It was one of the best adventures of my life.  I am forever changed, and that week will drastically effect my future, what I do with it, and who I become. 

      When I got back from such an epic week, reality set in.  I was ABAP. As. Broke. As. Possible.  My bank accounts were still empty, Kristen had moved out and gotten back to her life, rent was due, my job still sucked, and I was starving.  I got a facebook link from Kaitlyn with a link to her blog, The Frugal Dumpster.  It was awesome.  She also sent me a link to watch the documentary " I Love Trash",  about two guys who move into an empty apartment and live off only dumpster supplies for several months.  I watched the film and was SHOCKED.  Is it really possible to live off of other peoples waste?  And could it really be that pleasant?  and... fun?!  no way.  Definately not in Charlotte.  I immediately texted Kaitlyn to ask if we could dive that night.  If I was gonna end up homeless and broke, with my super-fast-eat-every-hour-metabolism, I definately wasnt gonna be hungry.  I couldnt afford to lose any more weight. 
      We went that night and I was beyond shocked.  We did a few drivebys to scope out the scene, and then pulled our car up to the dumpsters, and Kaitlyn jumped in. 

She was a ninja in the dark handing me amazing edibles.  We didnt use gloves or flashlights, we didnt use hushed voices, and I was so hungry I even took a few samples during the dive. 

The dumpster didnt smell or look as I expected it to, and the massive quantities we dove still surprise me. 

We made dumpster diving our work the rest of the summer.  I ate a lot, and I ate well.  I ate more fruits and  vegetables than I probably ever have. 

I had always eaten poorly in college, and had lost a lot of muscle mass.  That was all about to change. 

My fridge stayed full, and my belly did too. 

 Oh man, I remember eating peaches with the dishwashers at my job for weeks.  Those were good times.  Sometimes all it takes to bring people together are some free delicious dumpster peaches.
 We found so much food we started taking it downtown to homeless feedings.  We fed salad to probably a hundred people one day.  That was a great day.

It seemed like there wasnt anything we didnt find.
 Energy drinks, soy bologna, you name it. 
We found tons of flowers one night, took them downtown the next day and handed them out to people.  People with homes and people with out homes.  It was awesome to watch the reactions.  Some people looked at us like we had lost it, others took the flowers and gave them to some other stranger passing through, and some seemed as if nobody had ever given them a flower in their life.  It was such a fun experience.

I took hundreds of pictures because it was all so exciting! 

I will definately continue to post evidence of our fun and random diving experiences, and I will NEVER forget my first dive, and the spontaneous summer of ninjaing into trash receptacles and stuffing my face with delicious nutrients.  THANK YOU KAITLYN! & everyone else who nudged  me into this direction purposefuly or unawaredly. (word?!) loves it.  & Especially Gracias to Dios for always providing everything I need and more.  Always.

1 comment:

  1. This is really inspirational. I really feel like a waster and admire your determination. Hope all is going well for yall? Anyways see ya later!