Tulsa, OK – Sweet and Salty (or as our Philly friend says, “Saudy”)

Hello friends from all over. I am writing to you today from Tulsa, OK, on a Thursday evening. In fact, it is our last day/evening here in this beautiful Tulsa weather.

Let me begin, by telling you how wonderful our last day was at the San Miguel middle school. It all started out with coffee, (thank you Kirsten) from a Starbucks across the street that had just re-opened three days ago, because it was blown away in a tornado this time last year. After we all had gotten our morning tea/muffins or coffee we headed on our way to the middle school which is about 10 minutes away. The kids greeted us at the door— the San Miguel way of course–, and then they finished up what they were doing and went off to class. While the kids were in class, a few of us helped one of the Lasallian Volunteers, Rachel, get ready for the days planned activities: a variety show, and a basketball game.

Together we made signs, came up with a list of acts for the talent show, a roster for the basketball game, as well as fat heads (pictures on sticks) of all the volunteer and teacher basketball players. We also spent time laughing about random things and then realized we were hungry so we took a nice stroll to a nearby taco truck. We had a good time eating our delicious chicken, chorizo, steak, and barbecue tacos in corn tortillas, with a special creamy green chili sauce. After our tasty meal, Kamilia, Emma, and I prepped some iced tea, and water for the basketball game and then shortly after lifting the jugs onto the table, it was time for the variety/talent show.

The talent show started out strong with our own Jake Homan as the announcer. Jake announced that the 7th grade boys would lead the way by performing a hilarious skit with the help of the science teacher. There were many other acts that had us all giggling, snapping or clapping, including Mr. McBrides comedy about Minnesotans, Carina and her Rubix cube challenge, Josh and his original song, speech recitations by 8th graders, dancing by 7th and 8th grade girls, and Sweet Caroline to top it all off, sang by our favorite Tulsa LV’s (and a few teachers). After the talent show, we all headed outside for a friendly, but competitive game of basketball. My uncoordinated body did not play in the game, but it did become the center of attention when the students saw me holding the roster and started shouting, “Put me in coach!” So, that happened… I became an impromptu basketball coach for the 6-8th grade boys and girls who were interested in playing. I enjoyed cheering them on, and seeing them play their best, really getting into the game.

Once the game finished up and we had all settled down, a few students, along with Rachel, came up to us volunteers bearing gifts. This was only one of the many “sweet” moments and memories that occurred today. Each class that we had helped in had written us cards thanking us for being at their school this week. We each also received our own San Miguel shirt, so we can officially become “San Miguelitos,” like the rest of the community. This moment really touched each of our hearts in special ways.

Needless to say, I could go on and on about how great my time has been getting to know the students and faculty at the San Miguel school, but all in all, it has been a lovely day with many surprises, laughs, and stories making it both sweet and “saudy.” Tomorrow we leave our humble library estate (as I like to call it) saying goodbye to our dear friends here at the Brother’s Residence, as we make our way to Oklahoma City and then begin our journey home. I can’t wait for the many more stories and accent imitations that will happen along the way!



Ciara Kowalczyk