These last two weeks have been some of the longest in my life – but not in a bad way. Upon arriving in Chicago for national orientation, I quickly realized I was surrounded by people who, like me, are passionate about following Jesus’ example of loving others in the inner city. While I met many amazing people, I was eager to begin getting to know my team whom I would be living with in Philly for the next year.
We left Chicago on Saturday afternoon filled with lots of information, advice, and an abundance of anticipation. Arriving at our house was both invigorating and a breath of fresh air – we were finally here! Our first act as a new family was to eat pizza in the small garden behind our house, owing to the fact that all our furniture was piled in the center of our living room.
One thing I have really enjoyed this last week is hearing each of my teammates testimonies. It is beautiful to hear each person’s unique story and praise the Lord that our stories are now intertwined. These diverse backgrounds have provided lots of interesting conversations and laughter as we learn what it looks like to enter into each other’s narratives.
A couple of bonding experiences have presented themselves through overcoming challenges. One challenge I have enjoyed working with has been figuring out what it looks like to cook dinner for 7 people with only a microwave and a waffle iron. Unfortunately, there were a few complications with our gas so we don’t have hot water or a oven/stove this week. Luckily, everyone has kept up morale and we have been able to enjoy creative dishes such as waffled grilled cheese. Also, since we can’t take hot showers this week we have not run into the issue of people taking too long in the bathroom. I am so glad my team has been so willing to be adaptable.
These last seven days have been dedicated to getting to know the neighborhood and what our time here will look like. I am excited to begin meeting neighbors, working at KIPP school, diving deeper into the community of both our house and our church, and attempting to garden.
Alisa Ediger is a current Mission Year Philadelphia team member. Originally from Aurora, CO, she attended Tabor College. Learn more by visiting her blog or donation page.