I had the most awesome experience ever this past weekend! As we were leaving the OCC Distribution Center on Friday night I said that my feelings were like those expressed by a cartoon character in Disney's "The Incredibles" Movie.
..."Upon coming home, Helen stops Dash from toying with the power windows of National Supers Agent Rick Dicker's limousine. Dash then gets excited about how much fun that he had during the entire adventure and exclaims 'That was the best vacation ever! I love our family.' and throws himself backwards in the car seat!
As I left I told all my friends with me "This is the best Vacation Ever!" and threw my hand up in the air trying to imitate Dash. They all had a good laugh!
So it really wasn't a "vacation" in the sense of the word, but it was a time to spend with friends as we prepared shoe boxes for children around the world. We arrived after lunch on Thursday and went right to training. For the rest of the day, I and couple of other ladies worked in the presort area. There you take out all the money you can find, it's important not to leave any kind of money for the safety of the children who will be receiving their shoe boxes. As I would find out later it's one of the "quieter" areas to work in. What is nice is that you are allowed to take a break if you need to sit down or get a quick snack. Then you can come back and get right back to work.
On Friday they took us to a different area and we began working on inspecting the boxes for what they call "inappropriate" items. Those are all the no-no items that aren't supposed to be in the boxes. It was interesting to find out what is not allowed in boxes, mainly for safety of the children and because they don't want items to break or get damaged when the shoe boxes are sent out. Items that are removed, then sorted and given to different shelters in the area, so all the items go to someone in need. After we inspect all the items we pack the boxes up and add any filler items if the box isn't quite full. We do our best to keep the box as it was packed by the original person who is sending out the box. After it's packed we tape it up and it's then sent to be boxed up, the next time the boxes are opened, they will be in the hands of a child who most likely has never received such a gift.
On Saturday I did much of the same as Friday. I met quite few people from all over California. We would chat about how we all got involved in Operation Christmas Child, what great ideas we got from items packed in the boxes, and how exciting it was to be a part of volunteering. I wished we could have stayed longer! Sunday the center is closed, so our group drove home. We talked on the way home about all the great ideas we learned about and how could we implement them through out the year. I am so ready to go back next year. Really this was the best vacation ever for me!
When I got home I was surprised with a "snow covered" house. The kids and DH put up icicle lights on the front of the house and our nativity scene. It was very bright walking up to the door to drop off my suitcase! It looks very nice! (My DS just informed me DH fell off the ladder and onto the camel.) Now I need to get Christmas decorations down from the attic and start making the house look a little more festive!
It's now Monday and I woke up feeling just awful! Kind of puts a damper on my whole great weekend experience! Hopefully as the week moves along I will feel better and get back in a festive holiday spirit!