Over spring break of 2019, I had the special opportunity to travel south to Birmingham, Alabama.
The incredible opportunity was offered through Mercyhurst University’s Habitat for Humanity group.
This spring trip will stick with me.
Being my first Habitat for Humanity trip, I had no idea what to expect.
The only clue I had was to expect an entire week full of truly hard work balanced by a lot of fun.
And boy was that explanation spot on.
The week involved four days of hard work scrubbing floors to putting together the siding of a brand new home.
In the middle of those responsibilities was a day long demolition.
Each work day provided a whole new lesson for myself and the others.
I gained a slew of brand new skills including the use of power tools like nail guns and saws.
Power tools were not a new concept to me, but this trip was different.
I was given “free reign” to use the tools when and where they needed to be used.
This helped me better understand where and when to use these tools, and for what reason.
In addition to the new skills, loads of new memories were made.
Some of those memories were not the usual memories you would expect.
One particular memory involved a cute little furry creature.
On the night of arrival a few people, including myself, were prepping lunch for the first day of work.
While putting together sandwiches, a furry little friend came out to play.
The issue is, that furry little friend just so happened to be a mouse.
Everyone froze unsure of what to do next.
We put all of the food out of reach, and then waited for the perfect opportunity to trap the little thing.
Luckily, the furry friend jumped into a “trap,” that being, the toaster, all on its own.
After that, it could finally be safely carried out the door, and let out.
Now, most memories did not involve something unexpected, like a little mouse.
Most involved jokes made with the fellow habitat people, multiple game nights and fun dinners out.
Jokes were made continuously throughout the week, making the environment of the trip light and fun.
It really made everybody feel welcome.
Game nights were few because exhaustion set in as the week went on.
But no matter what, Cards Against Humanity always made the group laugh.
As for the many dinners out, each meal had its own special quality.
“Mellow Mushroom” brought a night full of trivia, which we dominated.
Well, for about three rounds that is.
The very first night out involved a relatively short journey walking between restaurants trying to find one open to feeding 20 people.
And the last night out was a real taste of southern barbecue that blew all other meals out of the water.
Outside of the main priority of working, we had the freedom to explore for one day.
That day was full of incredibly heavy history that truly opened my eyes.
A two hour walk through the Civil Rights Institute felt like it brought me back in time to the 60s.
History was followed by a beautiful view in the city’s botanical gardens and a view of the city from the legendary Vulcan Tower.
Both were jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
In the end, I have one simple thing to say about my 2019 spring break, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone.
I am beyond grateful for the opportunities that I was given while on this trip.
I gained new perspectives, fun new skills, and wonderful memories and friendships over the course of this excellent journey.
I will remember this trip for years to come.
I highly recommend signing up for a trip to experience the incredible world of Habitat for Humanity.