Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day, America!

Yesterday I worshipped for the first time with East Belfast Mission! From the extremely warm welcome I received when I arrived, to the entire worship service, to the conversations I had with a church member over lunch, I think EBM will be a wonderful place for me to grow during my upcoming year. They have a fabulous perspective on being called to ministry within their community. The Sunday morning service was a bit nuts as the minister is on sabbatical until Christmas and the staff person I work under couldn’t be there for worship. Yet, it was still an awesome experience. This is going to be a great church to serve with! Plus, my service at EBM is a bit of a groundbreaking opportunity. I will be the first YAV to serve there full time in many years; so, this year will be a new experience for both EBM and me!

Today we continued our orientation with Doug. At the Presbyterian Church in Ireland headquarters this morning, we had training on working with youth and vulnerable persons, so we are now legally able to go to work. We then had an afternoon session with Doug to go over our tentative outline of the year (including dates for retreats/ our possible return date) and also some Doug-lecture time on the basic history of Ireland/ the Troubles.

Tonight was the first night that the 7 of us Norn Iron volunteers were together to sup together. (The 7th volunteer finally received his visa on Friday – he was on a watch list due to some of his travels in the past – and got in Sunday morning.) It was just the seven of us over dinner, and it was awesome group bonding time as we laughed, listened to music, and played some cards (Revolution/Presidents!). I have an amazing immediate YAV family. :)

Belfast is finally living up to its reputation. It was quite cold, dark, and rainy today. At least we had a week of sunshine to prep for this. (We turned on our radiators for a bit today.)

I did do my first successful load of laundry yesterday though! (The first group attempt was a bit of a fiasco….) It turns out that for a normal wash cycle, our lovely little UK washing machine takes TWO HOURS. And we don’t even have a dryer. (Albeit, the lack of dryer part doesn’t bug me too much. As my college roommates/suitemates can attest, I have a habit of liking to hang up my clothes to dry even when I don’t really have the space.) Having to allow 2 hours for a load of laundry, is going to make for a bit of a challenge during busy weeks. (Plus, how are you supposed to line-dry your sheets when it’s always raining outside????)

Anyway, thus begin the adventures in Belfast. My year of simple living isn’t so simple. (wireless internet currently being borrowed from a neighbor’s house because we can’t figure out how to connect to our own: check. hot, running water at the flip of a switch: check. having basic electrical appliances: check.)

But for living in an extremely Western nation, it’s pretty simple. (Walking to and from work: check. Bus pass for trips into the city: check. Reducing carbon footprint continued – recycling, small fridge, small freezer, small washer, no dryer: check. Living in a much smaller space than – at least as an American – I am used to: check. Living in an intentional community: check. Eating off a small stipend that just gets smaller once it gets converted to pounds: check.)

All of the best to my brother and sister YAVs throughout the world! Hopefully your orientations are going well, and you are getting excited to start “being”!

New UK phrase of the week: “That’s class!” A basic equivalent of “excellence.”

That’s class!

In peace and grace.

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to see pictures. I'm wondering if it looks like I think it does. Thanks for sharing your adventures.