Well I've survived a bit more than a week of novitiate. Some people say, "Well yeah Jenn, you're in California! Tough life, huh?" But actually, it does take a lot of getting used to. First of all, the pace is different. I haven't lived with people my age for 4 years. After a while you get used to living with sisters that are 40 years or so older than you. It's different because usually I have so much energy but there's no one around me to expend that energy. Now there's an abundance. It's not a bad thing on either side, just something else to get used to.
It feels quite different being in California also because normally I would be beginning a new school year and would have my classroom set up by now. I knew that it was time to move on and I think that God's got me in the right spot internally for this new beginning.
There's been a lot of orientation this week. Last Sunday, Kathy and I flew in and I think I was the 4th person here. There was a choice of bedroom to pick from and I picked the street side so I could get the morning sun. The folks on the other side of the hall get evening sun but they're enjoying a balcony as well. The at-home directors stayed with us until Wednesday and it was good to meet everyone and see who they've been working with. The Orange sisters here are all so supportive of us and welcome us all the time, its a great energy around here. After the at-home directors left on Wednesday morning, we were able to have house meetings and get acquainted with each other a bit more. So far, I've been to Target a few times in order to make my room my own. If it's going to feel like home, it's got to have some "Jenn" in it even if I'm not sitting in here. It's funny because during the short time that I was in Chicago, I was trying to make that space mine and trying to find a place for all my belongings. Here, I've got TONS of storage space and nothing to put in it. Wake up call about simplicity but I think I finally got rid of the echoing sound... boy was that a lonely sound!
This weekend there's a street fair just down the road. We went there on Saturday and found that they have food and are selling things originating from every place that you could possibly imagine: Greece, Denmark, Japan, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, etc. It was a great time!
Also visited Seal beach for an afternoon. What a different setting! I've spent most of my "big water" days on Lake Michigan and also was at Cape May last summer. This beach is so different, the beach itself is about a quarter mile between the houses and the water. The sand is practically black with gold flecks all in it. Really different but it's a very reflective place that I think I will frequently occupy.
Thuy, the novice from right here in Orange, made us Vietnamese Spring Rolls this week for dinner. Really good!
This week we'll be visiting the different ministry sites that are available. They include:
- one-on-one visits or sacramental preparation at Juvenile Hall
- 2nd grade aide in a Hispanic area school called St. Joseph
- working at Mary's Kitchen which is a place that provides food and shower facilities to the homeless
- working at Thomas House, a homeless shelter for families
- helping out a the Regina Residence which is a building attached to the Orange motherhouse for the retired and assisted living sisters
- volunteering at L'Arche Wavecrest, a facility which people with disabilities and their assistants choose to live and work together.
So I think it will be a full week. I hope to be as attentive as possible to the Spirit's movement this week as I decided which ministry I will participate in for my 8 month stay in Orange.
Will write soon but feel free to comment or browse at pictures between now and then!
Pictures of all the novices are on the right side for your perusal. In a short time, the Federation website will have these pictures will accompanied by biographies that we wrote this week. If you don't know the Federation website, a like to it is on the right.