A lot has happened since last Friday. On the work front, I've definitely gotten more confident working with the guys. Developing relationships with them is my number one priority at this point, and this takes time since most of them are not trusting of people in authority/new people/white girls from rural neighborhoods. They're getting used to having me around, though, and now when I see them in the cafeteria on my days off (I can eat in my apartment or go downstairs to the caf that all the boys/staff eat in) they are like "Hi Rach! When do you work next?" Most of them know I just live upstairs, which is okay with me. Some of the guys here don't know where us vols live, but my guys are mature enough about having us so close.
I haven't had the same days off each week, but it looks like my "weekend" will be Wednesday/Thursday. It's fun because a lot of my roommates have these days off, but it kind of stinks since we have to be here Wednesday nights for Community Night, meaning I can't really take off for a weekend. (For those of you in the 9-5 M-F workforce, this is like always having to be home Saturday night.)
I made the most of this awkward weekend this week, taking in free hot yoga yesterday and Wednesday (yoga in a 97 degree with humidity room = awesome and super cleansing) and a free day at the Field Museum on Wednesday.
This week for Community Night we joined with all three houses of Amate House for dinner & training. We also heard our new Simple Living Challenge for the week. These can range from no texting to writing thank you notes and are meant to make us think about simpler things in all areas of our lives. The focus this weekis on homelessness, so first we turned the electricity off in our apartment (except fridge/freezer, stove [it's gas], and one light for fire safety reasons). Those who are homeless have to work with the natural rising and setting of the sun and most of the time can only find shelter from dusk to dawn, if at all. We now have to burn candles at night and find ourselves hanging out with each other more rather than retreating to our rooms or to a TV or computer at night. I had to do laundry in our shower yesterday and even though we have a skylight in our bathroom, it was a little cloudy so the lighting wasn't the greatest. Cell phone use has to be kept to a minimum since we can't charge them at home, and listening to the radio is out. Right now I'm at the local Starbucks to charge my phone, check my email and post on here (I also got to Skype Bailey & Quinn!).
The second part of the challege is even though we have a budget of $250 each week for apartment food, we are not going grocery shopping until next Wednesday. This wouldn't be bad, except we already hadn't gone grocery shopping for a while and we are down to the bare minimums (aka, rice and beans). Like I said before, we can eat three meals a day in the cafeteria M-F, so that helps, but it also means getting up super early to make breakfast and being around for the rest of the meals. We had to rearrange our schedules to make it back for lunch and dinner serving. Since I chose to come to Starbucks, I missed the lunch serving and will have to eat the food in the apartment or wait until dinner. We're trying not to eat up all the food in our apartment, though, since the caf isn't open on the weekends and we'll need the food then. It's really making us think about what a large part of the population deals with on a daily basis and it's interesting how much of our day now revolves around planning out meals, more specifically, where we will find our next one. Some people have complained, but the thing is, after this week we get our electricity and food back...so many people in Chicago and around the world don't have that luxury.
Today I only work 5-10 since I work an 11 hour shift on Tuesdays and Fridays are pretty chill in program--most of my guys will go home on pass so we do an activity (movies, mall, park) with the ones who stay. Tomorrow I work during the day, which leaves my evening open for more hot yoga and seeing my roommates. We may live together, but with all of our varied schedules I have to intentionally find time to actually see some of them!