Two LOVES for Jersey.
First of all – Wawa. Amazing. I used to be a self-proclaimed Sheetz lover, but I have firmly switched camp and now pledge my undying devotion to Wawa (they’re both competing gas stations up in the northeast). I hesitate to even call Wawa a ‘gas station’ because it’s more like a mecca of awesomeness. I went back twice today for coffee. So much coffee.
And decent food, too!
Are you Team Sheetz or Team Wawa? Or Team 7-11?
Second item on the LOVE LIST today: Egg Harbor Township High School. I spoke about Operation Beautiful to two assemblies this morning… and seriously, the school blew me away. I’m not kidding when I say that today was in my Top Ten Best Days Ever.
Why was today so great? Well, Egg Harbor has their very own Operation Beautiful club, started by the Spanish teacher, Vanessa, and her two teacher friends, Sara and Lauren. Vanessa was headed out on a camping trip last year when she popped into the bookseller and randomly came across a copy of my first book, Operation Beautiful: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One-Post It Note at a Time. She thought, “Hmm, maybe my students will like this idea,” and returned to the school to eventually mobilize a group of sixty students. They call themselves the Operation Beautiful butterflies (well, the guy members are ‘caterpillars’).
The group meets twice a week for an hour each time, and they do a variety of things. They watch and discuss movies and music videos, volunteer at nursing homes, participate in walks and parades, and – of course – write a lot of Operation Beautiful notes. I literally saw THOUSANDS of notes scattered throughout the school, and they weren’t up just because I was visiting – they were duct-taped to the walls. Little messages of joy and hope, all over the school. The principal and the rest of the staff are very supportive.
Vanessa is, truly, one of the most awesome people that I have ever met. She runs the club with zero funding (budget cuts), pays for a lot of the supplies out of her own pocket, and spends her evenings and weekends (for free) working the students. Many of her butterflies told me that Vanessa is their light, their rock, the one person that they can count on. Vanessa is so energetic, genuine, and kind. I wish every single high school student had a teacher like Vanessa (and Sara and Lauren, who are equally wonderful).
YAY TEACHERS. If you’re a teacher and you’re reading this, I love you, too!
By the time we finished touring the school, I was feeling rather overwhelmed by the group’s support of Operation Beautiful. I burst into happy tears when I entered the auditorium.
They even thought to leave me notes at the edge of the stage in case I needed a little boost mid-presentation.
After the event was over, I went out with the teachers for lunch. We had a bangin’ meal and laughed and laughed. I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in a long time – good times!
In the evening, I spoke at the nearby Stockton College. I love speaking at middle and high schools, but they rarely have the budget to bring me out. So if a nearby college agrees to bring me out, I speak at the middle or high school for free.
Three events in one day was pretty exhausting. It was a happy kind of exhaustion, but still – major yawns.
So that’s two big LOVES for Jersey. Here’s a BOO. I somehow managed to book some of the creepiest hotel rooms in the entire state for both nights of the trip. My last one had a frosted mirror above the bed (I was scared it was a two-way mirror and got undressed and dressed in the dark). This one has cigarette-smelly towels. I kind of want to sleep in all my clothes to minimize body-to-sheet contact.
Well – I better hit the (creepy) bed. Two more presentations tomorrow. I hope you are having a LOVE-worthy day, too.