It has been one long and crazy summer. Here's a list of events:
1. Niagara Falls - Tribal Utility Summit
2. Cherokee NC - Tribal Fish and Wildlife Meeting
3. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians - Biodiesel Training
4. Poarch Band of Creek Indians (Alabama) - Rural White House Round Table meeting
5. Michigan - Wedding
6. Tunica - Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana - USET Semi-Annual Meeting
7. Athens, GA - EPA Water Program Training
8. Nashville, TN - Pesticides Workshop
9. Mystic, CT - National Plant Board Meeting
10. Seminole Tribe of Florida - Producers Meeting
11. Washington DC - Council of Native American Farmers and Ranchers meeting
12. Niagara Falls - RTCAC Regional Tribal Conservation Advisory Committee
Now I have 5 weeks off until I go to Connecticut again for our Annual Meeting.
What I have learned:
1. I prefer to eat alone in restaurants
2. How to make small talk
3. How to ask questions to get to know someone
4. The importance of ironing all your clothes for the week on the first night of the trip
5. How to pack light
6. How to drive somewhere unknown and not be afraid
7. How to pick out the fastest moving lines in airports (no old people, no families, no groups of women who aren't paying attention to their surroundings)
8. How to survive off nuts, instant grits, tuna packets, and dried fruit for a week.
9. Beer is an acceptable dinner if you only have 2 but no more
10. All meetings are required to have coffee. If coffee isn't provided: lame ass fail of a meeting.
11. Constant coffee intake is to relieve the boredom, not to keep me awake
Favorite Moments, no specific order:
1. Meeting Chief Commander from one of the Maine Tribes at the Fish and Wildlife meeting
2. Touring the swamps in an airboat and then swamp buggy at Seminole, FL. I saw an Osprey dive into the water and catch a fish. I saw a wild boar! (it had the biggest balls I have ever seen)
3. Eating the best food I've ever had at Tunica-Biloxi LA
4. Touring the Hydroponic green houses at the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana
5. Touring Monsanto Seed Changing Laboratory
6. Touring the Cherokee Language Immersion School at Cherokee
7. Touring the trout farm at Cherokee
8. Talking to Elder Smith at Poarch Band of Creek
9. "Watch out for snakes!" - a woman said when we were touring the trout farm
10. Eating traditional American Indian food at the Museum of the American Indian in DC
11. Dancing with Chuckie at the Semi-Annual Meeting
12. Meeting Rene (from Mashpee Wampanoag) at the Semi-Annual meeting and eating dinner with her, Chuckie, Christina and one of the speakers outside of the casino in a restaurant and it was sooooo busy (but not actually full) that the server had a break down. But don't worry, she got super large tips from all of us, I'm sure.
13. Watching the Trail of Tears video about walking the Trail backwards for healing from the Culture and Heritage committee
14. Driving home from Georgia - I had to go a different way and it was super beautiful and I stopped at a grocery store for beer for Josh (he wanted a local one) and it was just so homey and nice there
15. Driving through the swampy areas and around the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians reservation with the local conservation officer and seeing all the different USDA projects happening there - it's also when I saw my first wild alligator!
16. Experiencing the fire alarm drill while in a meeting in the Museum of the American Indian
17. Coming home to a clean house! Thank you Josh!!!