It’s a really sleepy Sunday afternoon. Marji, Ahreum, and I got home from church this morning, (more on that later) and after eating a quick lunch, I slept for 2 hours. Today is the hottest it’s been all week as well, and the afternoon sun likes to bake the upstairs bedrooms, so I’m sitting at the kitchen table with the windows and doors open and the fans on.
Tomorrow marks one full week that I’ve lived in Hollywood California!! We have another full week before we start work, because Matthew, our site director, believes that it’s important to start feeling at home in the community and with each other before diving into an intense job and a real schedule. And I couldn’t agree more.
So let’s talk about my home for the year: Out front of the property is La Casa de La Comunidad. This house is where mission trip guests stay, and the house is open twice a week in the evenings for neighborhood kids to come by for homework help, fun, and for us to just love on them 🙂 The house we live in is right behind La Casa and is a duplex; basically two apartments attached. We have a small upper balcony shared between the houses, and the front doors are right next to each other. Other than that, there are no doors inside that connect the two houses. Each side has two bedrooms, a kitchen, living space, and a bathroom. Only one side of the house has an AC unit (only in one bedroom though), and it’s not my side. From about 1-6 in the afternoon, I prefer to stay downstairs or outside, but I promise you that at night there is nothing like the cool evening air blowing in through the open bedroom windows. I don’t miss AC. Because this is not Ohio humidity. This is beautiful, dry California sunshine.
My housemates: There are 6 of us living here for the year. Sara is a grad student at Azusa Pacific U, so she’s not a part of the DOOR program, but she stayed here last year as a student and is doing it again. (And it’s nice to have her help with figuring some things out along the way) Jordan is a second year volunteer. He was with the YAV program in South Korea this past year, and is doing a second year here in Hollywood. Marji is taking a gap year this year and will be entering Marshall University Medical School in the fall of 2016. Her plans are to become a pediatrician which is awesome. Ambar also graduated college this year. Her family moved to the US from the Dominican Republic when she was about 5, so she speaks Spanish beautifully and fluently. Ahreum is from South Korea and this is her first time in the USA! She’s incredible, because she’s plowing into the heart of a thousand new experiences while still learning a new language. (PS. She and I are roommates) We are a very musically diverse household, but we all love to sing and most of us play at least one instrument. We also have a garden out front of La Casa which I am looking forward to taking care of. It’s the place to be, because it’s in the front yard and I’ve already met a few of our neighbors, and some neighborhood kiddos there.
My community: We are living in a primarily Central American neighborhood, but Korea town is just about 1.5 miles away. Matthew and Marvin (site coordinators) encouraged us to take 5-6 weeks to try out different churches before choosing one to attend regularly. So this morning Marji and I walked with Ahreum to a traditional Korean service. And by traditional, I mean there was no English spoken. Part of wanting to go this morning was to experience a little of what Ahreum feels; being a minority and being in a place where the language is not my own. But I knew every hymn they sang, and so I sang; my English colliding with the smooth, uniform Korean of the congregation. Had the service been in English, it would have felt so much like my own home church. And so I felt as if I got a lot out of this morning’s worship because God speaks all languages.
We have had the chance to walk around a lot this week, practice taking the Metro to find where we will be working (wow was that ever an adventure) and experience a little of higher end LA culture. Yesterday we were on our way to FPCH (the host congregation of DOOR Hollywood) and while walking on the touristy Hollywood Boulevard to get there, a woman asked us if we were interested in buying a tour. First things first, those are tourism scams. Find a local friend to give you a tour. But Marji didn’t even hesitate. She told the woman, “No thank you, we are from here.” And honestly? It’s so true. Hollywood is so diverse and has so many people constantly moving in and out. Matthew and Marvin told us Tuesday morning that Hollywood is probably the only city in the US that from the moment you move into the city, you belong right away. Even minutes later there’s someone in the city newer than you.
So I’m going to embrace that wholeheartedly. And embrace that I already feel at home.
But my journey is only part of God’s greater work! I encourage you please, please, please go check out my housemates’ blogs, and even the blogs of the other volunteers this year across the country and the globe! You will be blessed by them as I have been! Go to http://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/yav/yav-stories/
And lastly, I’ll leave with you the scripture from the service this morning: Jeremiah 29:11-13 “11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Blessings everyone! 축복의 사람!