These are words I heard upon my return to Kensington just over a week ago from Sr. Jude. As most of you have heard by now, I have decided to stay in Philadelphia for another year. Just as things were falling into place back home, I realized that I'm not quite ready to go home yet. I felt like I was being severed from this life and I honestly felt as if I hadn't accomplished all that I wanted to during my first year here. So, I find myself back here for another year. I have two new housemates, Amanda and Noe, who are incredibly loving and supportive and who make me laugh on a daily basis. I am definitely blessed with ANOTHER great community and a supportive family back in New Hampshire who has stood by my decision since when I first brought it up.
Before I share about what I've been up to since I've been back, I should probably tell you what I was up to while I was home for three weeks. My mom and dad came to pick me up on July 26th and we went into NYC to see a show!!! We made our way home Sunday and I spent most of that week visiting friends from home. The following weekend, my mom, dad, Emily (former housemate) and I set sail for the Caribbean! We went on a week-long cruise to the Bahamas, St. Thomas and St. Maarten! It was an incredible week of relaxation that I think we were all in desperate need of! My parents were excellent benefactors of a great week!
I spent the following week packing up and saying goodbyes to friends from school and home and made my way back here on August 16th. Michael, Amanda and Noe greeted me at the airport and then we went to dinner! We served our first meal as a community Sunday morning then headed to Wareham, Massachusetts for our opening retreat!
This year the FVM program is very small; there is just my community here. It was a really intimate week with spent with each other and we got to be really comfortable really early on! It was very restful and a great way to start the year!
We jumped back into work on Friday with Amanda and I at the Inn and Noe on pickups!
I have had the warmest welcome back to this new home of mine here in Kensington. So many of the guests didn't know I was returning so they have all been happy to see me and the Team has already begun loading me with work! Yesterday I was on pickups with Amanda and we got back to the Inn after the morning pickups and Jim, one of our volunteer cooks, did not look like he was feeling well so I asked him if he wanted me to take over for him. Initially he said no but after about another hour of him being there, he decided it'd be better for him to go home. So I ended up being the head chef during the guest meal and we fed 412 people!!! Before I left in July I had made it my goal to begin being the head cook during the meals but I didn't expect it to be happening this quickly! The Team is really supportive and is going to help me prepare to do it more confidently!
We are settling in nicely to our new home... the FVMs have moved houses so the house is significantly smaller but I'm learning to adjust. I painted my room and slowly but surely we're unpacking the rest of the house. We have a beautiful enclosed porch off the back of the house along with an "office" space in the back that is surrounded by windows! We've been saying that our life isn't simple but it sure is good!
Well, I hope this update will satisfy my parents... they have been begging for updates since the middle of July! I'd like to say that I'm going to be updating more frequently but I've tried that a couple times and it hasn't worked very well. We'll see. Anyway, for those of you starting school or anything to do with school, best of luck to you and have a great year! For the rest of you, may God's peace be with you all!!!