The Grove is one of the two places on the FBI Academy campus where alcoholic beverages are allowed. I should say one of three places, as the boardroom is on the campus and it is pretty much a bar. You have already seen photos from The Point, which is the FBI’s recreation area on Lake Lunga. The Grove is the other location; it consists of some picnic benches near the track, close to where they are building a new building. It is really not much of anything, but it was a good place to be tonight.
I spent Saturday on school work. Last night I took off and went with the California Steve’s to see Cowboys and Aliens. This morning I got up, ate breakfast, swam a mile, worked on papers until dinner, then swam another mile. At lunch and dinner I heard people talking about gathering at The Grove tonight; I was ready to be done with papers, so I went to check it out.
There was a campfire going, pickup trucks backed in, a variety of meats cooking on a grill, and a bunch of guys drinking, consuming tobacco products, and laughing. There was twangy country music playing (btw, I hate old twangy country music – but at that moment, it was kind of nice) and I slid in and felt like I belonged.
I spent much of the evening talking with Gary, who has been here on a fellowship for six months; he works full time for the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, Aaron from Texas (who bought a grill just so he could cook here), Richard from Louisiana, the other Richard from Alabama, and (in a turn you did not expect) Lim from Cambodia and Hakan from Sweden. I did not bring one of the good cameras but I did bring a little point and shoot. The pictures are crap; next time I will bring a real camera and do better.
I have never worried about my ability to succeed in the academic classes here and I am now confident I can hold my own in the physical fitness exercises. Still, I have not felt like I belonged here until tonight, standing around a fire shooting the bull with a bunch of other guys and talking about our families we are all missing at home.
Tomorrow I plan to spend sight seeing somewhere. I spotted some of the International Students who also seemed stuck on campus at lunch and dinner today and made a point to sit with them. I found three who had no plans and no way off campus tomorrow, so I am meeting Lim from Cambodia, Hamza from Nigeria, and possibly Satwant from India tomorrow at breakfast. We are going to see museums, which ones I will leave up to them. This may be their only trip to the United States, I am excited just to have the opportunity to be the wheel man.
I told my mother this blog might be revealing and maybe this was too revealing, but I am going to call this a good evening. I have yet to set foot in the Boardroom but I will be back to the Grove. For now, I need to turn in so I can get up and drive some cops from around the globe into Washington tomorrow to see the best our country has to offer.