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One six-hour flight from New York later and I have entered a new environment that I can call home for the next eight weeks. After my flight landed and I exited the airport, I noticed one thing immediately — the palm trees. Palm trees are virtually non-existant in my home state, so it was a refreshing view. Aside from the trees, a greater source of comfort at that moment was the white 12-passenger van that I saw. Driven by our program director, Marlee, the van became a temporary home for suitcases at the moment. After picking up the rest of my DukeEngage group and site coordinator, Morgan, from Starbucks, we headed to UC Fullerton- home base. After our first Target run, our suite apartments began to look like homes with toiletries, utensils, and groceries. We also named our lovely white van the Great White in honor of the shark sightings at the beach.

Friday, our second day, we met to discuss the the agenda for the next week.  We talked about solidifying the BME lessons plans created for our partner organization, Girls’ Inc. Then, Caitlyn, my partner for setting up enrichment activities and group dinners, and I picked a restaurant called Sushi Pop. It was a great spot for our first group dinner, lively conversations, and for satisfying our craving for Japanese food. Afterwards, the group went to an ice cream place named Afters and tried their well-know ice cream and milky bun. Their milky bun is an ice cream sandwiched between a warm donut — a god-like creation and a sweet way to end the night. On Saturday, the group took a trip to Laguna Beach.

During these initial few days, I have become more eager to work with these group of ladies and Girls’ Inc. I continue to think about my lesson on developing model lungs and presenting it to the camp girls . I wonder how successful the lesson will turn out and think about the Girls’ Inc training that starts next week. But, I also recognize that I have a few weeks before camp begins, so with the guidance of Girls’ Inc staff, Marlee and Morgan, and my lesson partner, everything should be set to go well.

As we continue to settle into the O.C, I look forward to continue reporting our progress and adventures as we ride with the Great White.