Coming into the AV experience I was most nervous for community living. I studied education in University and I was raised Catholic, so I was not concerned about the service or spirituality aspect. I had lived with four different roommates throughout my University experience. I just wanted to live with people who cared about each other and wanted to do things together.
I’m learning that community living involves learning about each other’s preferences and making lots of joint decisions. But I want to make things work and so do Bridget and Keri. The best part about living together so far has been exploring California on the weekends. It has also been difficult because, when I would like to just sit in the sun at the beach, Bridget and Keri would like to go swimming.
One weekend we went to the library and the Channel Island Visitor’s Center. If I were alone, I would’ve taken my time reading and learning. But as a group I wanted to be conscious of my community member’s feelings. So, we spent time watching the animals in the tide tank and when I wanted to read the plaques in the visitor’s center they waited for me. On weeknights we’ll watch an episode or two of a T.V. show or play cards. One special night we watched a musical, did face masks, and had a singalong. It was so much fun.
Cooking is another place of compromise. I’m not picky but I’m living with two relatively picky eaters. Sometimes it’s easier to help them cook what they like and clean up the dishes afterwards as my contribution to community life. These are things I am learning. I’m learning that community living is about finding things you have in common and listening to and being aware of what you don’t agree on. I’m learning that if you agree on the big things it makes deciding the little things a lot easier. Looking at the big picture, I am so blessed to be living with the people I am living with, because they show me they care and enjoy our time together.
Ventura, CA 2019-2020