Today is my last day of work with the full gang of my co-workers. My last day with them at the place of employment that brought me back home to Maine after 7 years of out-of-state education. The last day together at the--arguably grubby, dog-pee-stained, sweaty-kid-smelling, disorganized--little building with the greenhouse that has fought against this miserable recession with all its might, squeaking by with enough money to pay dedicated employees but not enough to pay for trash removal or a cleaning crew or new office furniture. My last day working alongside the people who became more than just "work friends" (thank goodness, because sometimes Maine people can be as cold as Maine winters) and morphed into something much harder to categorize.
We have dressed up as ghostbusters, raced down a mountainside on a toboggan (dressed as zombies, no less), thrown mashed potatoes at each other, made a makeshift slip'n'slide on the back lawn and attempted to surf down it, weathered budget cuts and previous layoffs, supported each other through wedding planning & pregnancy & house-buying & more, rocked out to 80's dance music in a freak April snowstorm, and then did it again the next year (remember, how I got roofied?), drank copious amounts of coffee, and tried our darndest to do right by the kids in our community.
There is no explaining this place and these people, and what they have meant to me. It is going to get quieter around here by the day as people head off on their own adventures and next steps, until the building reaches its lowest staffing point of just three staff members--a director, an administrative assistant, and an Americorps volunteer.