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!