on travel, thoughts, and the art of short fiction

The Promotions Team Takes Rhode Island

In IICD Massachusetts on July 10, 2007 at 10:16 am

I am spending my first month on the commune working with the promotion department at IICD.This basically means, that I am assisting the director promote the program to get more participants.

In an effort to increase our visibility in New England, we have been sent to Rhode Island for the week.

I’ll start by saying that Rhode Island is beautiful. This is my first time. I never regarded Rhode Island as much more than a tiny blip on the map before this trip. I was terribly mistaken.

Yesterday we spent our time in Providence. I’m definitely a fan. Providence is funky and artsy. Home to Brown University, the college town is vibrant, literate, theatrical and alive.

Today we went to idyllic Newport. This are is quaint and nautical. Cafes and shops along the water. Clear blue water, dotted with sail boats.

Our work is relatively simple. We drove down with a stack of fliers, thousands to be exact. Our job is to ask local shopkeepers and businesses if they will allow us to post the fliers.

I’m on a team of two, myself and a Brazilian lady named Val. We have a car (i’m the driver) and a gps system and our goal is to cover Rhode Island in IICD fliers, focusing mainly on areas where young progressives tend to gather.

We’re making great progress.

Our lodging details were a little fuzzy at first. We’re staying in a room in somebody’s apartment found for us on a site called globalfreeloaders.com. That’s right, free lodging with a local. A great chance to meet people. I’m not going to lie, it seemed very shady at first, but it turned out brilliantly.

We’ve been given a food budget of five dollars each a day, so we’ve been fundraising food. Sound bizarre? Well it is. It’s been an adventure. Basically we have to ask local food establishments for free food. Talk about humbling. We have a tax deductible receipt that we are to present and a pr pack and surprisingly, most places are completely accommodating.

Today we were able to get lunch, a free large pizza from Domino’s and dinner compliments of a delicious Greek restaurant. “Go ahead ladies, get anything on the menu!” Yes, okay. They didn’t have to tell me twice.
I love an opportunity to visit new places and see new things, but this trip has been extremely frustrating too.

Frustration 101 :
1) Am driving with a GPS system that cuts on and off and I keep getting lost. I have no sense of direction and I’m the only one of us who speaks fluent English. I’m the only one with a driver’s license. I’m struggling here.

2) I was on hold with the NYC Board of Education for over 30 minutes today and still wasn’t able to speak with a human. I am trying to get a hold of almost a thousand dollars worth of missing checks from my after-school Drama program that I ran during the last school year. Back when I was a New Yorker. You know, two weeks ago.

3) While on hold with the Board of Ed, I was attacked by an unidentifiable beetle-like insect that bit me on my left arm causing me to drop my phone and in turn causing it to break into two parts.
I now have no phone!

4) In an attempt to fix my phone situation, I consulted a phone book to see where the nearest Sprint store was. There was only one listed and it was more than an hour away. When I finally made my way to the store, they told me that they couldn’t help me, so I canceled my service and now really have no phone and have lost everyone’s contact information.

My bug bite has swollen to the size of a golf ball. I am looking forward to a better tomorrow.

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