Yes. A real mountain. In the middle of the city. The road is so steep, we downshift to 1st gear to get down, around a sharp few curves, and back down to the main road. We floor it to get uphill, and there are 5 cars (one an orange, empty 15-passenger van) gridlocked in the narrow driveway made for 2 minivans. Downtown is a 20 minute walk/ 15 minute strenuous hilly bike ride, where there are coffee shops, artsy shops, eateries, and local businesses galore, all using locally grown produce. Everyone wears chacos and drives a subaru, except the firefighters, and they get called out at least 6 times a day. We live behind a hospital; the sirens kinda replace the train whistles that you could set your clock to in Denton.
Today was the first day of orientation. The next three weeks will be a glorious medley of team building, paperwork, complimentary awesome food, get-to-know-ya games, and an overload of program information. Tomorrow: picnic on Mt. Pisgah, some serious paperwork stuff, and swimming in waterfall-fed pools. Wednesday: leadership conference, where Bill Cosby, Ross Perot, and Laura Bush are speaking, among others. The team- 25 adults of all sorts of ages, backgrounds, and such. Already, I've had some awesome conversations. It feels so great to instantly have a bunch of awesome friends. The good stuff definitely offsets the rocky start :)
In a book exchange on my way out of Denton, I was given the Autobiography of Mohandas Gandhi, which is catching me in a really great way. He talks about leaving India to study in London and having to learn a new culture of social norms and etiquette, language, and
diet in addition to studying to be a lawyer. Even he had a series of hiccups in the kickoff of his adventure. I feel like this book is speaking the words of friends and family of similar encouragement :)