What does life look like post graduation from graduate school? I am about to find out!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Why I Wanted to be a YAV

It occurred to me that I never really talked on here about why I wanted to serve as a Young Adult Volunteer. I think that may help some people better understand my reasons for choosing to do the program.
First, let me start by saying that talking about this topic is incredibly personal and difficult in some ways. Yet, I believe it is important to be completely honest with this blog and give people an idea of where I'm coming from so they can better understand where I'm going and how crucial this journey is for me. I can't let my past define me but I can use it to my advantage in other ways.
I have spent the last 25 years of my life in Texas. That alone was reason enough to desire a change. I'm not bad-mouthing Texas (believe me, I know better than to try and do that on so public a space) but simply saying that spending a quarter-century in the same place around the same people can be really draining. I've never really felt like I could be myself there as too many people knew me and knew my past. I think living in your hometown is probably not the best thing for one's self-identity, especially once you reach adulthood. I felt like I had an image that I had to present to people but that that image didn't necessarily reflect who I really was anymore. I knew I needed to make a change soon as I felt myself reverting back to being that same person I was as a teenager.
My adolescent years were difficult to say the least. I think that's pretty true for most adolescents and I dealt with the same pressures as everyone else: the pressure to fit in, to get good grades, to get into a good school etc. Needless to say, I pushed myself way too hard and spent most of high school battling depression and being extremely suicidal. During college, I started to finally find my way a little bit but then after college, I moved back home and things went down-hill again. Fortunately, this time I was able to recognize that I was starting to revert back to my old ways of thinking and that's when I knew that a change needed to happen before it was too late. I decided to finally take the plunge and do something good for myself and applied for YAV on a whim not really thinking about what I was signing up for. I just knew that I needed to get away from my old life and my old habits before I started that downward spiral again.
Another factor in my decision was the service aspect. I have always found it important to give back to one's community and/or country in some aspect. Over the years, I have applied or served in various ways with various service organizations and YAV just represents the latest. I felt drawn to it also because it is about more than just service to country, it represents service to God. I have learned over the years that I need to do a better job of serving God and so I was hopeful that serving as a YAV would help with that. I needed to start making God more of a priority in my life instead of an option and so I hoped that my year of service would help with that process. So far, it already has but there is still a long road to go.
I'm now going to talk about a time in my life that was very difficult to get through and that I am still struggling with. This period of my life was very dark and even now it is difficult to discuss. I will not be naming names on here but I think if you know me at all, you may be able to guess about whom I might be referring to. This is one area of my past that a lot of my friends don't know about because it is something that I have only recently been able to open up about and felt comfortable discussing. I'm referring to the years and years of emotional and verbal abuse I suffered at the hands of people in my life. For the longest time (until just about a year ago, in fact), I was constantly put down, told I was no good, was told that I would never be anything but a freak and a weirdo and constantly suffered scorn and disdain everywhere I turned. It's easy to say that that was just the normal teenage experience and that I should have sucked it up and dealt with it but it's not that easy to believe that when you are that age. Teenagers are very vulnerable people and so for years I believed what people were telling me: that I was worthless, stupid, ungrateful, awkward, anorexic and so many more. I had a lot of self-loathing and so believed that all these things were true about me. I constantly tried to win people's approval and when that didn't work, I would sink into a very deep depression. I was so desperate for someone to notice me and love me because I didn't love myself. I came very close to killing myself on more than one occasion and still don't know what stopped me from doing it. I also became an atheist during those years because I was convinced that even God didn't love me anymore. After all, how could God possibly love a loser like me?? Of course, the fact that I didn't believe in God made me even more of a target. Needless to say, those years were very dark and depressing. Going to college helped with a lot of those issues but like I said earlier, graduating college started the whole cycle over again. Since I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I drifted aimlessly from one dead-end job to another not really sure what my purpose in life was. I got right back into the cycle of abuse as well and that certainly didn't help matters any. It wasn't until I started going to counseling earlier this year that I finally began to climb out of that hole that I had dug for myself. I finally had a chance to start the healing process.
That, for me, represents the biggest reason why I decided to become a YAV. It gives me a chance to heal from all the abuse. Getting away from my past and away from the places where all the abuse happened is an important step in the healing process for me. I'm finally able to let the scars heal and continue the process that I started with my therapist. I knew that the only way I would ever be truly able to change would be by moving and starting over fresh. I'm finally starting to become the person I have always wanted to be. I'm happier, healthier, more full of life and most importantly, I like myself. That's the biggest improvement right there. I started engaging in some really self-destructive habits in my late teens and early twenties because I didn't love myself so I didn't care about myself either. Now, I have started to make up for those bad habits by good self-care. I haven't eaten fast food in over a month because I have realized that it is so bad for my body. I'm not saying that I won't ever eat fast food again but it is good to know that after so many years of eating fast food almost every day that I can give it up and start taking better care of my body. That's just one of the many ways that the YAV program has already played a big part in my growth. I think I am just now growing into the person God wanted me to be all along. It sure is a good feeling to know that. I hope you will continue to follow me on this journey of self-healing. It's not gonna be easy but it will be an interesting ride.
Well, there ya go. Now, I hope you have a better idea of why I would voluntarily sign up to do this crazy thing!! I know many of you will be surprised to hear some of these things but I also hope you haven't judged me for it either. I'm not necessarily proud of my past but I am also glad that I made it to the other side of it. Living through those experiences made me the person I am today and so for that I am glad I had them even if they were hard at the time. I'm glad you are reading this and I hope that it helped you in some small way. Remember how the words you say can have such a huge impact on someone's life. Teach your children to not make fun of other children just because they are different. That's the most important thing I can impart to you. Always remind them that they are loved, it might be the most important thing they hear that day. By the way, I'm now proud of the fact that I'm different and celebrate it. Also, I have never been anorexic. I'm just built this way!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Counting My Blessings!!

Note: the idea for this blog entry was stolen from my good friend Stevie (current Tucson YAV and AC grad). However, I modified the format for my own purposes. I have already seen so many ways that I have been blessed since getting here to Chicago so I wanted to go ahead and share with you what some of them are:
At work, I get my own desk, lamp, laptop, phone, key and email address.
My roommates are all Buffy and Arrested Development fans.
I've already been given major responsibilities at work and I've only been there two weeks.
I have a 45 minute commute each way every day which gives me plenty of reading time.
I'm learning how to cook and I am starting to get really good at it.
I live in a house without a TV and I am finding myself actually enjoying the peace and quiet.
I am getting to develop new gifts for ministry that I didn't even know I wanted to develop.
I mentioned to the pastor at LakeView how much I missed playing in Bell Choir and she said they would look into the possibility of adding one at some point over the next year.
I get to use my movie knowledge at work for the benefit of others.
I work with a bunch of Glee fans.
I have time and the space to do Yoga every morning before I go to work
My second day here, I walked into a thrift store that was playing a Faith Hill song.
My friends and family back home miss me but are so proud of me.
So, as you can see, I have been blessed in so many ways just in the two weeks I have been here. I think I am slowly starting to get the hang of this whole being an adult thing. Tonight, I made tacos for dinner and they turned out really well. True, tacos aren't that hard to make but this is me we are talking about here. It represents a major victory in my life. Tomorrow night, I am in charge of Cafe Pride as the Associate Pastor is out of town this weekend. I'm nervous as I have only been once and already I am running it but I have some experienced volunteers helping me so hopefully everything will run smoothly. Must go now as I have a long night tomorrow and must run errands in the morning and afternoon. Remember, Jesus loves You (and so do I)!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bible Study

So, tonight was the first time that I had the pleasure of attending the Young Adult Bible Study at LakeView Presbyterian Church. I have to say I was quite impressed with it overall. The Bible Study starts with a meal at 6:30 PM in which both Bible Study classes eat together before going off to their separate rooms for Bible Study. The Pastor teaches an Intergenerational Bible Study every week and the Associate Pastor leads the Young Adult Bible Study. There were about sixteen of us at the Young Adult Bible Study which was a really large group as I am used to having about five or six people at Bible Study. Tonight's focus was on the question of who is God and really dealt with the concept of how God can be both three in one and one in three. We also discussed the Apostles' Creed and the origins behind the words we use in it. We were also asked at one point to list names for God such as Abba, Father, Sustainer etc. In this, we were able to see that not everyone uses the same name when referring to God but that those names are still the same person. I think there is still much to discuss on this topic and I'm pretty sure we will give it another couple weeks before we move on to the next topic but the idea of the Trinity is such a fundamental concept to my faith yet it is one that I guess I have never really thought that much about. For me, it just has always made sense that God could be the Father, Son and Holy Ghost at the same time. It never really occurred to me that others may have trouble understanding that concept. It really feels great to be able to discuss this concept in an atmosphere where I can hear other people's perceptions of the concept of the Trinity. So far, participating in this Bible Study has proven to be a positive experience and one that looks like it will deepen my spiritual walk with God. I'm glad that I get the opportunity to participate in it and that going to it counts as part of my "work". I think I would go anyway even if it didn't. It's what I have been seeking in a Bible Study. Some deep, theological concepts discussed with people my age who struggle with the same issues I do and have different faith backgrounds than me but can all come together one night a week to discuss these concepts in a safe, affirming environment. I used to always be so anti-Bible study and it is only within the last year or so that I began really craving a deep, intimate relationship with the Bible. I wanted to know more about it and really get into some deep theological concepts with it. Once again, LakeView Presbyterian Church has given me a way to further walk with God and improve my spiritual growth. I'm really starting to feel at home here and Bible Study today just re-affirmed that so much. I have more to report but will do that later this week as I really wanted this post to focus exclusively on Bible Study. Good night and remember, Jesus loves You (and I do too)!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Community Day

Today was our first community day so I thought I would share with y'all what exactly we did on this first one. First, a bit of explanation is in order. The YAV program is very committed to the idea of intentional community so for that reason each site arranges a day when all of that site's YAVs don't work at their placements and instead have a day with each other which can include any number of things based on the site coordinator's discretion. For Chicago, our community days will be spent learning about the city and the many problems and issues that face it. Today, we had a visit from the Life Directions group which is an organization that works with local youth in the schools here and provides mentoring and tutoring services for them to help them stay in school and figure out what is next for them on their journey through life. We talked a lot about what youth in our own neighborhoods worried about and such and where they got their sense of support from and their personal beliefs. I think all of us had the same basic items written down. I, being from a rich, white, conservative suburban area talked about how many of my friends and neighbors worried about getting into the right college and feeling pressured to get the right grades to get into the perfect college because that would lead to the right job which would lead to true happiness or fulfillment or riches or something to that effect. There was a lot of emphasis on the family and many of my friends and neighbors had close, extended families that heavily influenced their lives and such. In doing this exercise, I really saw the disconnect present at least from my perspective. Many of the youth in our neighborhood here in Chicago don't have those same issues. They have to worry about supporting their families and surviving the Chicago Public School System which is not the safest or best environment. College for many of them is a lofty goal and something they are encouraged to try for but more practical matters tend to supercede. I think that really illustrates a major difference between the classes. The rich tend to focus on careers while the poor tend to focus on survival.
We also talked a bit about our own values and belief systems and where we developed them and what helps us sustain them in spite of everything going against us maintaining those values. All in all, we had a rather interesting discussion on these topics and it proved to be a worthwhile exercise. We later spent some time visiting with our site coordinator about Mayor Richard Daley and the fallout from him announcing that he won't be running for re-election. For those of you who don't know, Mayor Daley has served as mayor of Chicago for over 20 years and his father served another 20+ years before him so the Daleys are considered a political dynasty in the city. However, there are many who have accused the mayor of corruption and having mob ties. The legacy of his mayoral term depends on who you ask. Many people will say that he has done a lot of great things for the city of Chicago while others will argue that he has been bad for the city and they are ready to see him go. One thing is for certain and that is that an era is about to end here in Chicago and we are going to be here to witness it personally. It's weird to think that we are going to witness the end of an era and the beginning of a new one over the next few months. It's hard to believe that Daley has been mayor since I was in kindergarten. That means that if I had been born and raised in Chicago that I would literally have no memory of anyone else ever serving as mayor. In fact, I would say that is the case for many Chicago residents as the Daleys combined served as mayor for 42 of the last 50 years. As you can imagine, the political scene here is about to get crazy as lots of mayoral candidates will now be coming out of the woodwork for their chance to be mayor of one of the largest cities in the world. It's an exciting time to be here and I am glad that we get the chance to witness history in the making.
We ended our day by having dinner with the Mennonite Voluntary Service group. These are like YAVs only through the Mennonite Church instead of the Presbyterian Church. They were all really nice and the dinner was great. It was good to have dinner with other people who are experiencing the same kinds of things we are. It's good to know we are not the only ones here who are crazy enough to do this kind of thing for the next year of our life. It's reassuring, to say the least!!
Well, I think that is about all I have to tell today. We also spent part of today cleaning house because when six people live together, things tend to get dirty really fast!! Have to go back to work at our sites tomorrow. Tuesdays are my long days as I will be attending the Young Adult Bible Study on Tuesday nights so I work 1 -9 to make that work. It will make for a long but hopefully fulfilling day!! I must get to bed in order to prep for that long work day tomorrow. Remember, Jesus loves you (and I do too)!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cafe Pride and My First Sunday at Lakeview

So, Friday night was my first night volunteering with Cafe Pride. We had a really small crowd that first night which was fine with me since I was feeling overwhelmed with everything already anyway. Lakeview provides a safe, comfortable space for the youth to just hang out, play cards, watch TV, play ping-pong or foosball or just sit around and visit with each other or the adult volunteers. All in all, I really enjoyed myself and was able to talk with several of the youth about their likes and dislikes and get to know them somewhat. Most of the ones that came Friday were regulars but there were several new people there as well and I do hope that the new people had a good experience and will come back again. I don't know how many of the youth that were there Friday are homeless. I hope they all have homes but I fear that is probably not the case. I hate that homelessness exists in the world especially for the young people. Nobody should ever have to be homeless. If that makes me a liberal, then so be it. One thing I have discovered in the brief time I have been living here is that I am becoming more and more liberal by the day. I was already very liberal but after seeing what I have seen here plus living with the people I live with, I can't stress enough how angry it makes me to see what I have seen. Why does poverty have to exist in our world?? Why do people have to hate and preach intolerance?? Why CAN'T we all just get along?? It irks me that sometimes people try and make the argument that "people are poor because they want to be" or that "a person can't be born gay because God hates homosexuals". I haven't found either of those to be true in my experience. We are all created by a God who loves us and wants nothing but the best for us. Nobody wants to be poor or homeless. Nobody chooses their sexual orientation; it is a gift given by God. Sorry to get political on here but I just really needed to get that off my chest. If I can simply impart those words of wisdom to the youth that come to Cafe Pride, then I feel like I will have accomplished something important and productive with my year.
This morning marked the first time that I had the opportunity to worship at Lakeview and I gotta tell ya, it was totally worth the wait. The church building is absolutely gorgeous. The sanctuary is beautiful (even if they do have pews which is an adjustment I am going to have to make) and the two worship services I attended were both powerful. The pastor is a very effective preacher and gets really emotional during her sermons which makes them all the more powerful. Yes, the pastor is a woman and so is the Associate Pastor and almost all of the staff there. It's refreshing to see a church that is run mostly by women and really signals a positive change in the Presbyterian Church. I've always preferred the company of women over men so that has made me feel much more comfortable walking into a brand-new, unknown space. I felt so welcomed and accepted there today. The pastor had me stand as she introduced me and made it clear that the staff were thrilled to have me there for the year. I'm an introvert so being introduced to so many new people in such a short span of time was really nerve-wracking but it worked out for me in the end. The pastor even mentioned me in her sermon!! How awesome is that!! Definitely satisfied my inner celebrity!! The services themselves were great and really touched on the themes of new beginnings (as today marked the beginning of the new Sunday School classes) and seeking out the lost. Earlier this week, a Chicago teenager in one of the public schools was shot to death. The pastor didn't know the child or anybody affiliated with him but she made it a point to mention him during the sermon to emphasize her point that violence and hatred are not God's way. I realize I am over-simplifying it here and that there was way more to her sermon than that but I think that was what stuck out the most for me. This week, we have seen a lot of hatred and bigotry on the news in relation to the 9/11 anniversary and it saddens me because that is not a Christian response. I know I'm getting political here again but I'm pretty sure Jesus wouldn't threaten to burn the Qu'ran or call all Muslims terrorists. At least, not the Jesus that I know and love. Anyway, at the beginning of the service, the pastor lit a candle in memory of the Chicago teenager that was killed this week and proceeded to say that she will light a candle every week for every Chicago youth that dies this school year. I hope that she doesn't have to light anymore but sadly I fear she will. It saddens and sickens me that she even has to do it at all. Needless to say, both services were incredibly powerful and I really felt like I fit in there. After the 11:00 service, the church hosted a rally on the lawn for new-comers to learn about all the different organizations and committees that they can get involved with at Lakeview. Yours truly committed to help with the newsletter (because I really miss using my journalism background) and attend the Young Adult Bible Study. They're trying to recruit me for the choir but I resisted. I just don't want to get over-involved and burn out. I think between my official duties there plus Bible Study and the newsletter that that is more than enough for me right now. I'm really making an effort to make this living in intentional community thing work and that requires me not to be super busy and gone all the time. It's hard but it's worth it. I admit to having some reservations about working at Lakeview when I found out that they didn't have a youth group or a bell choir (two of my favorite activities at my church back home). I had a very long conversation with God and definitely questioned if this was going to be the right fit for me. I really wanted to do youth ministry and work with a youth group. I knew that is where my gifts lie.I definitely wasn't sure what I would be doing or how I could use my gifts but I have realized now that Lakeview Presbyterian Church is actually the perfect place for me at this point in my spiritual journey. It's allowing me to develop and strengthen other gifts that I haven't been using and it is allowing me to explore the realm of urban ministry which is something I have zero experience with. I guess God really knew what he was doing, after all!! Funny how that works sometimes!! I now have no doubts or questions and really feel that God put me in this place and at this church for a reason. I still don't have all the answers as to why but I have a better idea now than I did two months ago.
That's all for today's edition. Tomorrow we have our very first community day and I will fill you in on what that is after it is over. Also, the postal service here is sketchy and apparently doesn't want to deliver mail to me so from now on, use the following address to send me anything:
425 S. Central Park Avenue
Chicago, IL 60624
I still can't guarantee that I will get it but you may increase your chances!! Also, thanks for the recipes you have sent me so far. Last night marked the first time I have ever cooked for more than one person and it went really well. I made cheese enchiladas with spanish rice and they tasted great!! I am so proud of myself and already looking forward to cooking again. I think I really can handle this whole growing up business!! Who'da thunk it??!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Placement!!

I wanted to go ahead and let you all know more about my placement now that I have started working there. We all started at our placements on Tuesday of this week. I am working at Lakeview Presbyterian Church, which is three blocks from Wrigley Field and also really close to Lake Michigan. The church was founded in 1884 and now boasts about 350 members. The church is very committed to social justice and has a thriving and active social calendar. It actually reminds me a lot of my home church in those respects. The church hosts a program for the senior citizens in the area everyday that includes a hot meal and some sort of programming be it an exercise class, a book discussion or a movie. The program that I am most excited about though is the one that I will be most active with. The program is called Cafe Pride and is held every Friday from 8 to midnight. This is a program that caters to the Gay, Lesbian, BiSexual & Transgendered youth and young adults of Chicago. Some of the youth are homeless because their parents have kicked them out because of their orientation. Many are inner-city or urban and many are African-American. Cafe Pride offers them a safe, warm place to gather for a few hours free from harassment, discrimination and prejudice. The church provides a space for them to gather with snacks and trained adult volunteers there to watch over them and make sure they stay safe. In talking with the Associate Pastor about it, I have found myself growing really excited about the fact that the church offers this type of programming. Many of these youth have been turned off by the church and view Christianity as bad. That's so sad as Jesus himself would never discriminate against someone. God loves everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation. That much I know to be true and it bothers me that so many of my fellow Christians don't see it that way. I love that I get to be a part of this programming and can hopefully show a more loving, positive side of Christianity to these young people (who range in age from 16-24). It's a really great program and I am thrilled that I get to be a part of it every week for the next year. Giving up my Friday nights is gonna be the worst part but I am willing to do it because I believe so strongly in what Cafe Pride stands for.
The rest of my duties will consist of coordinating volunteers for Cafe Pride, spending time hanging out with the senior citizens when they are there, helping set up for Sunday School on Sunday mornings, attending the Young Adult Bible Study on Tuesday nights and other tasks as assigned. Needless to say, I really feel like this church is gonna work out really well for me. The pastor and Associate Pastor have been so welcoming already and I really feel like I am serving an important purpose every time I go in to work. I realize now why God called me to Chicago. I have always found myself drawn to "outcast" ministry or helping those who the Church tends to forget or reject. People who have a very bitter reaction toward religion because of how it has treated them in the past. I can understand and completely sympathize with that reaction so I hope that I can, even in some small way, help them see that the Church and God loves them and doesn't care who they are or who they love. Seriously, why does it matter who they love or want to marry or anything like that? We are all equal in God's eyes.
Well, that's all I got for now. Everything is going great here for me. I love Chicago so far and it is proving to sit well with me. I was made for the big city. I am going to try and post pictures at some point when I get a chance as several people have requested some. The only camera I brought is the one on my phone and I really hate taking pictures but I guess if it's what the people want, then the people shall have it!! Gotta go cause we are watching Lord of the Rings right now!! I love that all six of us are nerds!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Last Few Days (which includes the Kidnapping)!!

Sorry I've been so bad about updating the last few days. I guess I've been on information overload or something. It's been a really good few days actually. We've been visiting everyone's site placements and that has gone well. Everybody has really good site placements which should make it an exciting year. We've also been meeting and discussing our covenant agreement which we did at the Lincoln Park Zoo which is amazing and located near the river with a fantastic view of downtown. That's gone well and so far hasn't caused any serious problems. Thursday night, we ended up at a free jazz concert in Millennium Park. The weather was gorgeous, the music was great and the company was fantastic so all in all, it made for a great night. There is so much to see and do in this city that it is quite overwhelming for me. Living in a big city is a lot different but so far I am handling it well, I think.
Saturday morning was the day that we had been warned about all week. Some of us were even really looking forward to it. In order to prove that we had mastered Chicago and could read a map successfully, our site coordinator kidnapped and blindfolded us and then dropped each of us off in a different random location in Chicago and then we had to find our way back to the house. It proved to be more of a challenge than I thought it would be but I eventually made it back to the house. It took way longer than I thought it would but at least I made it back. I consider it a personal victory although I definitely do not know the city that well yet. Oh well, I do have an entire year to learn it, right??!!
One of the things we discussed in our covenant is the concept that each one of us will have to cook for the rest of the house one night a week. This means yours truly will be learning how to cook. I know, you should be praying for my housemates right now!! No, seriously, I am actually kinda excited about it as learning how to cook is an important life skill and a big part of the growing up and becoming independent process. I've already got my first meal planned but if people would like to send me recipes, I would willingly and gladly accept them. Please make them vegetarian-friendly and no seafood. Would love to see what ideas people send me. Anyway, that's all I have to report on for right now. We have to be up early tomorrow for "Hospitality Day" which I will blog about in a later post. We start working at our site placements on Tuesday so I should have more to report on that as well. Hope you are enjoying reading this as much as I am enjoying writing them. Remember, God loves you (as do I)!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Welcome to the Windy City, y'all!!

So, we arrived in Chicago on Monday afternoon. The past two days have been spent visiting each other's site placements and getting to know each other, our house and our new city. Today, we were sent out on a scavenger hunt armed only with addresses and a map of the city and a map of the L train line. We were paired off in teams of two so it kinda felt like the Amazing Race to me. My team got to explore Millennium Park and Steppenwolf Theatre Company plus had a stop at one of the local libraries to get a library card. Yes, now my bookworm addiction can continue in a new place!! We had dinner tonight at a pizza place so I have now experienced Chicago deep-dish pizza and it is every bit as amazing as I had heard. Yesterday was spent grocery shopping using the money we receive for groceries. We get $550 a month for groceries and toiletries which with six people you would think wouldn't stretch that far but we spent way under budget this first trip which is hopefully a good sign. I read somewhere that the best way to shop on a budget is to grocery shop once a week for the entire week and make a list before you go to the store. We're trying to follow that model and so far it seems to have worked pretty well for us.
Our house is really nice actually. It's two stories with five bedrooms, two living/dining rooms, two bathrooms, two kitchens but no air conditioning. We have fans in every bedroom, though, so it really isn't that bad. My bedroom has no closet space or bookshelves but it's on the first floor and I have a great view which is important to me. Plus, I don't have to share a room and that is a major plus for me. I'm not opposed to sharing a room but I had some bad experiences with it in college so I am very wary about the idea. We will re-evaluate living situations again in six months and switch as needed. I'd like to have a room with some closets but then I might have to have a roommate which wouldn't be the end of the world. It's simply a trade-off. We'll see how things go. There's six of us living here but there is more than enough space for us and our stuff. I'll talk more about my roommates in a later post but so far they are really cool. I think this is going to work out just fine. I already really like this city and now I know that I made the right decision. I have, so far, zero regrets about deciding to leave my comfort zone behind and find myself adjusting nicely to living in a big city.
Also, wanted to go ahead and give you guys my address in case you wanted to send me mail, care packages, birthday cards (six weeks, hint hint!!) etc. It is:
423 S. Central Park
Chicago, IL 60624
Large packages should be sent to:
425 S. Central Park
Chicago, IL 60624
There ya go. Now, you have no excuses not to send me stuff!! I always appreciate hearing from my friends and supporters. This journey would have not been possible had it not been for the support of my friends and family. I could have never made this journey if I had not had people in my corner telling me it was the right move for me. Thanks so much for all that!! This was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make but so far, I have realized that this is where God wants me to be. BTW, anybody who sends me care packages that contain Oreos or Twinkies will become my new best friend!! We are trying not to spend money on processed foods out here as they cost more so I am dying for some Oreos!!
Well, tomorrow we are visiting my site placement so I will finally be able to give everybody an idea of what I will be doing and where I will be working. It will be good to finally have an answer to that question as that seems to be the one I have gotten the most of this summer!! We are going mini-golfing after that so I should get to bed so I can be fully prepped for tomorrow. Goodnight all and remember, Jesus loves you (as do I)!!