2,687.3 miles… That is how far I am from the place that I have called home for the past 25 years. Before last year I never thought about leaving Pennsylvania to live anywhere else and doubted that I would even leave the Philadelphia area after I graduated from college. That is, until I began to pray about it. No, I did not begin to ask God where I should be living, I thought I already knew the answer to that. Instead I began to ask God what I should be doing with my life because I had begun to doubt my path. Suddenly I started to notice different service organizations popping up around me and it clicked: maybe God wants me to give a year of my life to service for him. After being convinced by a friend I applied to the Augustinian Volunteers.
When I found out that I would be living in San Diego for my volunteer year I was super excited, mostly because I knew I would not have to deal with any cold weather and I would be living by the beach for the year (there is no better place to LIVE SIMPLY). As the summer went on and orientation was approaching, the nerves began to sink in: I was about to move all the way ACROSS THE COUNTRY with a bunch of people I had never even met. What was I thinking? I am going to be way too far away from my family and life as I know it is will be about to change. I was not sure how I would adjust but I knew in my heart that I needed to do a year of service so I had to suck it up and pray that everything would turn out ok.
On August 24, just one week before boarding the plane to embark on our journey as Augustinian Volunteers, our community was finally able to meet for the first time. From the very beginning of orientation it was clear that I was surrounded by a group of loving and supportive people who would be serving all over the country and the nerves turned to excitement again and I was ready to take on San Diego with my community. Living in California in community has helped me grow in ways that I never expected. My roommates have taught me a tremendous amount about life, love, support and the importance of constantly growing in my relationship with God. All five of us have our own ups and downs with being away from our families, being stressed about our jobs or trying to figure out what to do after our year, but no matter what life throws at us we always come home to find comfort and happiness in our community. We have had prayer time together, community meetings, many birthday celebrations, and countless hours spent exploring San Diego and enjoying our time together as a community.
Suddenly as I look back on my first 5 months in California, the strangers that I moved here with in August have become family to me, people that I know I can turn to during times of happiness, nervousness, sadness and excitement for the rest of my life. I am looking forward to growing my relationships with my family here in California and for all of the new adventures we will have. After all of the anticipation and nervousness leading up to moving across the country, I now realize that when I move back to Pennsylvania a piece of my heart will remain 2,687.3 miles away at my home in San Diego.
San Diego, Ca 2015-2016