This place is magical! It's surreal being here, finally starting this adventure when I've been waiting for it for so long. Last night we had dinner on the beach (amazing in itself), but the drive back through the city was jaw-dropping. For some reason the song "Whatever You Imagine" from The Pagemaster popped in my head. I would post a link to it here, but media streaming sites are blocked on Mercy Home computers.
Besides unpacking, rearranging furniture (in my room that I have all to myself), and getting to know the 13 other volunteers (from England, California, Minnesota, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin & Illinois), I've also been filling out stacks of paperwork for HR and the AmeriCorps, eating traditional Chicago food like deep dish pizza, and interviewing for my specific placement here at Mercy Home (I'll find out later today if I am working in AfterCare or Daley Home).
One of the most unexpected feelings I've had so far is my amazement at all the people. Mercy Home is IN Chicago, basically downtown, center city, so anytime we go anywhere there are people all over the streets. I knew there would be, Chicago's population is about 3 million--similar to Rome--but unlike in Rome, all of these people speak English and look like me. I think that's what's most...I don't know the word...unsettling? shocking? It's strange, I know.
Today is our Welcome Mass & Ceremony, so we'll be meeting more staff (including Fr. Scott, the top dog) and getting more introductory information. Then we have tonight and most of tomorrow off until we need to leave for our Orientation Retreat in Indiana. I'll blog more then, and hopefully have some pictures!