Oh my goodness gracious! These past two weeks have been absolutely crazy! All of the emotions that I was lacking in Savannah have flooded over me and I have experienced such a range of feelings since I’ve started Mission Year! I have a wealth of information to tell you, so am going to do my best to simply give an overview and keep this as short as possible.
On Friday, September third, I began my adventure in Atlanta, Georgia. I met all of the new Atlanta team members, Mission Year staff and alumni, our city director Caz, and some wonderful members of our community. Altogether, there are sixteen Mission Year team members in Atlanta, in three different neighborhoods around the city. I am living in the South Atlanta neighborhood on an all-female “Amazon Women” team. My beautiful teammates are Emily, Jysicca, Kaitlin, and Maureen (I’m sure I will write much more about them later). We live in a ninety-year-old house at:
49 Bowen Avenue SE
Atlanta, Georgia 30315
So… now that you have my address, you better send me letters! I’m participating in a six week technology fast so will only have my phone and internet access on my Sabbath, which is on Fridays. So snail mail is always appreciated :)
Anyways, my first thought upon entering our house was What have I gotten myself into?? But after arranging furniture and settling in, I realized things aren’t nearly as bad as my first impression and I’m already starting to feel at home here. Our house is one story, with a kitchen, living room, two bathrooms (one has a broken shower), and three bedrooms. One bedroom has been designated as our “quiet room.” Jysicca, Kaitlin, and Maureen share the larger bedroom, while Emily and I are bunk-bed-mates in the smaller room. We have a large screened-in front porch which will be perfect for hanging out once it gets a bit cooler out. Our backyard is quite large and has a swing set in the middle, but is currently an overgrown jungle. Hopefully we will be able to cut back some of the plants so the neighbor kids can come use the swing set. Ok, more about our home later…
We got all moved in and settled on Saturday the fourth and then left at 4:00am the next day to drive fifteen hours to Chicago for our training! Training was for all of this year’s team members, about sixty in total, who will be spending the year in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Oakland, Sacramento, or Buenos Aires, Argentina. It would be an understatement to say that training was extremely intense. About ninety percent of our time was spent at a church in the La Villita neighborhood on the west side of Chicago. Each day was filled with hours of sessions during which we talked about everything from social justice to solitude to safety. It was such a blessing to hear from people who share my passions and to have them pour out their wisdom for us.
We drove back to Atlanta last Friday and have spent the week doing city-specific training and preparing for our year. The most exciting day this week was Tuesday, which we spent doing a scavenger hunt in attempt to get to know our public transportation system, which is called MARTA. We were given MARTA passes, a list of different sections of Atlanta, and places to find in each of those sections. Our hunt was documented through pictures and we were required to use different facial expressions in each photo (I’ll post a couple pictures from our adventure). Today was our last day of training, which I’m super excited about because I’m eager to begin working at my community service site!
I will start working on Monday morning at the Georgia Justice Project as a receptionist and intake clerk… I think… I went to the office yesterday for a tour and my new supervisor, Julie, wasn’t positive what I will be doing. Nevertheless, I am so incredibly excited to begin working there! GJP is an amazing organization that shares my ideals and passions and does wonderful work for the community! I will write a ton more about this once I have a better sense of my job and can more clearly explain what the organization does.
Besides training, we have spent a lot of time getting to know our community and our neighbors. We spent last weekend creating a map of our neighborhood to familiarize ourselves with the streets and to get to know people. On Sunday, we attended our first service at our new church, Henry M. White United Methodist Church, where we were warmly welcomed into open arms (I’ll write more about this soon, too). We have met several of the neighbors on our street and the surrounding blocks. I am so excited to get to know them better!
These two weeks have been busy, overwhelming, and challenging, but oh so good! I’ll try to update you each Friday and hopefully will have much more exciting news as my relationships deepen and my heart for this neighborhood grows. Until next week…
From Atlanta, with love