Friday, August 26, 2011

No tears (no fears)

This week has been more difficult than last week, but it's still a wonderful experience!  I'm still learning the little rules of the park, and, unfortunately, two of the older "green hats" will be leaving next week.  ("Green hats" are the workers. We have to wear these evergreen visors.  I look like a McDonald's worker in case you need a visual.)  I got my first hug (from a grandfather figure- super nice, old man) and my second (creepier) hug was from an older gentleman.  (Don't worry, they were both side hugs and I told them that hugs are inappropriate.)  I was also told I was "the cool one" from my "brother," Robert (60+), and who will accompany me to Christmas in Chicago, or so he says.  (I'm going to stay for Christmas, but will be home in time to celebrate the Anzy Christmas.) 

Besides the usual of playing dominoes with Shadeed and Robert (my "brother"), rolling cigarettes with Larry and his crew, and playing chess with random people, I also handed out the sugar for morning coffee, worked at the service center a little each day, learned about the library program, and delivered a feral cat to the pound with Jackie.  I was given some odd compliments, taught a little about how to deal with conflicts from Green hat Larry, and learned a few more names: Eric, Bruce, Quentin, Qumar, Krystal, Terry, Cynthia and George, Birdie and Willy, Mitch, Arkansas Tim, Dave, Charles, and about 20 more. 

I think this week is going to be like most- random duties and plenty of conversation.  One thought that I particularly dwelt on this week was "trying to find the God in everyone."  I know it's going to be a big theme this year, but at least I started early!

Stat of the week: Loaves & Fishes served over 14,000 lunches so far in the month of August.

P.S.- If you could leave me comments on what you guys want to hear more about, it would be most appreciated.
P.P.S.- No tears yet.

Friday, August 19, 2011

It's been one week (since you looked at me)

My first week of work is over and I'm overwhelmed; overwhelmed with awe, shock, sadness and hope.  This year is going to be so rewarding, but challenging, as well.  Just in the past week I've learned the basic rules, tried to remember names, played a few games, and rolled a few cigarettes with Larry.  I've met Chris from Florida, Martin from Kenya, Steven who was a history teacher, numerous Larrys, Bobs, and Davids.  I played dominoes with Robert and Shadeed, chess with Felix, and learned backgammon from Viking.  I've made Vernon feel special by remembering his name, and David laugh by singing a song.  I've filled out papers with Charles and his friend. I'm trying to see God in everyone I meet, and I just want to thank Him for letting me meet these people that I wouldn't have met without this experience (including my amazing co-workers and bosses!)

This week has also been a ton of fun at my casa!  We've had community meals, a community and spirituality night, a few funny stories (thanks to me taking a nap one night and waking up thinking it was the morning!), and a few new friends.

I'm excited to see what God has in store for next week, though I've heard it will be hard.  (On Monday, the three of us who are new to Friendship Park, received a ten minute orientation from our bosses, Jim and Garren.  They had many nuggets of wisdom, and one was, "Your first week, you'll walk around in shock.  The second week, you'll cry.") 

Well, the casa-mates and I are headed to a free concert downtown and are going to visit Old Sacramento tomorrow.  I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again: this year will be an adventure!

P.S.- congrats to my friend Matt who finished the summer program for Mundelein in LA, and also congrats to my uncle Hank Anzelone (who got me my start at People's Resource Center) on the wonderful article written about his service at the PRC! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Monday, Monday (and Tuesday too!)

I know I said I would update on Fridays, but I felt I should share with you what's happened so far.  My first weekend in Sac was great!  There was a free art walk Saturday where we met the other JV Sac house and a few other volunteers from ACE (a Catholic teaching program that's 2 years.)  On Sunday we went to the cathedral, and toured the capital building with a man named Jim who was 70+ and super nice.  Monday was my first day at worked, and it was a shock.  There are so many guidelines to follow, people to meet, and quirks you should know (much like any other job).  We know we have big shoes to fill, and the need here is immense.  (Yesterday we served lunch to over 750 men and women.  (That doesn't include the families who live at the shelter or the children who attend the school.)  By the end of the month, we serve around 800 or 900 people, and its only getting worse with the economy. 

There is so much to share, it doesn't seem like I've been there for only 2 days.  My brain is flooded with pictures, names, habits, and information I've learned and I'm going to learn that amount again tomorrow.  Just pray for the people I'm working with, and all the homeless in our country.  I can barely imagine the life they lead.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Hello everyone!  I got to my new casa (Casa Ignatius of Loyola, fondly called Iggy for short) yesterday after a busy week of Orientation.  There are 85 volunteers just in Arizona and California; 350, worldwide.  So camp was packed- not just with people, but also ideas, lectures, mass, prayer services, silent time, casa time, and WONDERFUL food!  (Never in my life have I ate so healthily and good for so long! But it wasn't as good as mom's food.) 

So now I'm "home," living with six other girls.  Iggy is GINORMOUS! (I think it might be bigger than home, but I don't know the square footage.)  We have 9 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, front and back porches, 10 foot ceilings with crown molding, and new mattresses, flooring, and a couch.  (We have all other furniture as well, but it isn't new.)  One of the great things about this house, is that we are completely spoiled! Not only do we have a beautiful house, but we have everything you can imagine! Books, movies, towels, sheets, spices, a full pantry, bikes, even a motorized scooter! (The only thing we don't have is a car, but we have several people willing to loan us theirs, and we're near public transportation, too.)  I feel guilty because we are supposed to be living in poverty, but then I see my paycheck and I feel better. . .

I'm so excited to start work!  We don't start until Monday, but today we are all heading down to work (we work in the same vicinity) to get to know the area, supervisors, and most importantly, guests.  It will be tough year, but not nearly as tough on me as it is on them.  Perspective is something that I'll be working on this year, as well as several other values.  Stay tuned for more!

(P.S.- I'll probably be updating this blog every Friday.)

Friday, August 5, 2011

We've only just begun!

Tomorrow I ship out and head west.  I will be flying in to San Jose airport and proceeding to camp from there.  (And no, I don't know the way to San Jose, yet.)  The camp is our orientation; a simple 6 days to leave everything we've known about and enter into a new world of the JVC.  The JVC is built around four values: spirituality, community, social justice, and simple living.  We will have a spirituality and community night every week.   I will live downtown (only a few short blocks away from the agency) with 6 other girls, who I do not know.  I will be working with the homeless in Friendship Park on the grounds of Loaves & Fishes.  I'm not really sure what the job entails, just that I will push kids on swings, have chats on the park benches, and eat lunch with the guests Monday through Friday.  I will be living as simply as possibly, with basic expenses covered by the JVC and a small monthly stipend.  Letters and emails are highly appreciated, and care packages are discouraged.  Part of signing up to do this means leaving the middle-class behind, and living among the people I will be serving: the poor and marginalized. Yes, this part is the most daunting as of now.  My suitcase is packed to the brim, and of the 5 pairs of shoes I brought, I keep thinking, "Will I need this?"  It is such a privilege to have everything we do (shoes, toiletries, a warm blanket, etc.) but so hard to imagine life without these things. 

All I know is that I'm ready to focus on others.  Yes, I will have to leave my home and creature comforts (cable, my bedroom, mom-cooked meals), but in exchange, I will serve others and hopefully discover myself along the way!

I'm nervous and excited, and I can't imagine a better feeling!  It's going to be a great (but challenging) year!