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DukeEngage Seattle Reflection Week 1


The excitement of a new city, new faces, new experiences and a summer of memorable moments undoubtedly created high expectations for DukeEngage Seattle in my mind. After only a week in the city, those expectations have not only been met but have been greatly exceeded.

A new city…a real city.

Immediately I experienced the crisp air far removed from the humidity that defines Florida in the summertime. The city sports gorgeous view of boats on the marina, the “birthday wrapped” space needle and colorful houses scattered along the hills. Lined with biking and running trails, Seattle is buzzing with activity at any time of day and heightens my anticipation to explore all it has to offer. My biggest concern as of late is that time may limit the scope of our adventures.

Beyond the obvious active lifestyle that Seattlites embrace, environmental consciousness seems standard practice here: reusable bags are encouraged through municipal jurisdiction; not only is recycling a habit but composting is as well.

New faces.

Some of my fellow DukeEngagers and I were forced to get close immediately as our luggage had priority seating in the van back from the airport. That van ride set the tone for a comfort level among our group.

My roommates are incredible! I honestly could not have asked for a better arrangement. Did I mention Susie? She’s our fourth roommate staying with us at UW. She needed to be mentioned because we love sassy Susie.

New Experiences.

The first day of work at the Austin Foundation I felt intimidated and overwhelmed. Now, I recognize the challenges that may lie ahead but the atmosphere of family and support at the foundation is unmatched and certainly overrides any trepidations.

When I think of the Austin Foundation I think ‘genuine’. Willie took the time to let us know he was there for us as a partner, not a boss, as a friend, not an authority. Vanisha has treated us to delicious meals and been a strong encourager of our experience in Seattle. Each teen has his or her own story and outlook on life. I know I’ll be learning just as much from them as hopefully I can teach them.

And finally…Memorable moments.

I know that looking back, my experience in Seattle will be a vivid collection of moments. Thus far I’ve…

  • enjoyed an overpriced veggie burger
  • tried ‘yease’ for the first time…and did NOT enjoy it
  • successfully navigated the bus system
  • budgeted…well kind of
  • formed friendships almost instantly and wondered why they haven’t existed before
  • bonded with my alumni mentor (and tried to get him to bond with Julia’s pseudo mentor)
  • Had an unlikely conversation with the most unlikely of people
  • found a breathtaking view that I want to keep secret just so I have a place to call my own in Seattle.

All in all, Seattle and the Austin Foundation have made great first impression on me and I’m so excited for the next seven weeks.


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This entry was posted on June 28, 2012 by .
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