Small Town Familiarity In A Big City

Small Town Familiarity In A Big City

When I first began the process for applying to this program and read the words “intentional community” in the description, I must admit I was nervous. Intentional community seemed so forced, and I started to think I would be walking into an entire year of discussion topics and ice breaker like events planned with two random strangers to force our interaction.

Those initial fears have been completely and utterly defeated by my time thus far with Jared and Clare. This is not to say we are not living ‘intentionally’ because I believe we are, but right away I began to feel that the large apartment in Philadelphia was a new home for the year.

I cannot wait at the end of the workday to come home and swap crazy kindergarten stories with Clare or ask Jared how the work at HIAS was for the day. I find myself eagerly awaiting my next cooking adventure. Never did I think, until this year, that I would be able to put ‘making dumplings’ on a list of things to do in the near future.

Already these two months have been filled with new experiences and old ones as well shared with new people. I anticipated more time spent hiding parts of myself to be slowly revealed throughout the subsequent months of volunteer time, but soon discovered that Jared and Clare love the opportunity to share their true selves and want the same from me in return. Already the small oddities that come with living with me are present in daily life, I.E. I can rarely go a full day without talking in some kind of accent.

This year marks the first time I have lived in a populated city and the first time in a year and a half I have shared a living space with other people. Clare and Jared are open, honest, and constantly making me laugh. Already I feel blessed for being put where I am with the people I am with. By day I spend my time in the tight-knit neighborhood of South Philadelphia, reminding me so much of the small-town Montana I was raised in. By night I come home to the welcoming presence of two people who are also thrust into such abrupt newness but adapt with full positivity.

I feel my time here will redefine preconceived notions of home and community.

Travis Vermulm

Philadelphia, PA 2019-2020

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