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With Independence Day being in the middle of the week, I did not have the typical work week (or do I ever?). Instead, my week was filled with laughter, festivities, and celebration.
On Tuesday I had my first class with the kids from Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club. There were 19 kids ranging from 7 to 12 years of age. For many of them, it was their first time ever visiting a farm. Some of them were intrigued and wanted to touch everything. Others were more hesitant to explore and screamed when any bug would fly by. Nevertheless, all of them were good sports and wonderful to work with. They were a pleasant reminder of how much I adore working with kids. Every time I would show them how to pick a vegetable, all but one of them would jump at the chance to pick their own. There was always one smaller kid in the back who would look up at me with his shining eyes and ask, “Wendy, can you help me pick one–a big one?” My heart melted the first time he asked for my help. He was so precious.
After a while, I just stood back and watched them go to town picking carrots and radishes. Their faces would light up when they pulled the token large carrots, and for the baby carrots, they would stuff handfuls of them into their mouths, not bothering to wash them or brush off the dirt. Although they loved the carrots, their expressions when they bit into the radishes were priceless. Having warned them ahead of time of the spiciness of the radishes, I thought that they would still enjoy them since they were so enthusiastic about trying them. But once they sunk their teeth into the purple flesh, their eyes widened, and most of them immediately spat them out onto the ground. I burst out laughing as they ran with their tongues out, seeking water to wash the taste away. At the closing circle when the kids shared what they learned today, the boy who always asked me to help him pick and who actually liked the taste of the radish piped up and said, “Radishes are spicy, but I like ’em.” I completely agree.
Since Tuesday was such a blast, I was doubtful that the rest of the week could top my experience with the kids on the farm, but the rest of the week was just as enjoyable. On the 4th I volunteered for Northwest Harvest with my fellow DukeEngagers at Gasworks Park. We collected donations to help in the fight to eliminate hunger. To attract people to donate, we would shout out different facts about Northwest Harvest, most notably “67 cents feeds a family of 3!” Even I was shocked by this number. 67 cents is just pocket change to me, but to some other people, it could be enough to feed their family for another day. Once our mouths and throats were sore from smiling and shouting, we settled down near the lake to stake out a place to watch the fireworks. The fireworks display did not disappoint. They were bold and fantastic. As a kid, fireworks terrified me. I would cover my eyes and cringe with each bang. But on Wednesday, standing underneath the night sky, I watched in awe and took in every spark and color.
The day after the Fourth was not the most productive day at work. The office was so quiet and empty. In celebration to those who did make it to work, we went out for lunch to try a local Chinese restaurant called the Rocking Wok. Walking in and smelling the aroma of authentic Chinese food made my mouth water. More than anything, I miss home-cooked Chinese food. So discovering a place down the street where I could get green onion pancakes and ma po tofu was so comforting.
I had another chance to snag some Chinese food on Friday with my fellow DukeEngagers. We went out to PF Chang’s to celebrate Alex and Phil’s birthdays. Although the restaurant was not the authentic Chinese food that I have been craving, the company and bonding experience made it well worth it.