Saturday, December 21, 2013

New Community = New Adventures

This past week I moved from one community house from a suburb of Dayton, OH to a new community closer to the city of Dayton. I learned that I would be moving about three months ago. Although it seems, no amount of notice is adequate, as many know, moving is a real pain. For those that know me, I prefer to keep my belongings pretty neat and tidy. Well from the looks of it my room is pretty much a disaster area! See picture (on Left). Not being able to organize my things and know exactly where things are drives me crazy. Before moving I previously lived
What a mess!
in a house with two religious sisters in a two-story. I am living in a three-story home with two Sisters of the Precious Blood (Dayton) and a woman from Guatemala who is also discerning. Every time I moved into my college dorm I would unpack immediately and organize everything too. But unfortunately this move is a little different as I cannot unpack right away for reasons of time and necessity. However, needless to say I was frantic to get my room looking halfway respectable and liveable for the time being. By late evening, after supper, I was able to get it organized enough that I could sleep. See picture (on right). 
Looking better... I think! 

After only two nights and one and half days in a new house, I am already breaking into my new community. Yesterday evening we decided to have our Christmas together this afternoon (Saturday) because it was the only feasible time for the four of us. I volunteered to make a breakfast casserole (I intended to take a picture but after all of the rustle and bustle I forgot, whoops!). After a delicious breakfast together, we prayed together, and then we opened the gifts that were in our stockings. Someone got a piece of coal I wonder who that was? No, I was not the recipient of coal at least this time! S. Marita actually had a piece of coal in her stocking. I guess it will remain a mystery of who or how it got into her stocking. Who on earth would pull that kind of prank on her?

Today was a rainy day but that did not stop us from working on strengthening our newly developing community. Three of us worked hard in the kitchen as we made Christmas cookies. I have not made Christmas cookies that you frost in over ten years. Bela, S. Gerri, and I were all involved in cookie business today. S. Marita is the only person in our house who speaks fluent Spanish so this gave S. Gerri and I a chance to bond a bit and learn how to communicate with Bela without relying on S. Marita to translate for us. All three of us are learning how to communicate with each other without always knowing the correct words. Sometimes we simply use sign language alongside our native language. In the matter of minutes we were all laughing with each other. We had a lot of fun making the cookies.

Bela with one of her trees!
Bela and I were the main cookie makers as we rolled the dough and used cookie cutters to make various designs--trees, candy canes, gingerbread men/women, stars, and stockings. Bela in the picture below shows one of her many designs (on right). While Bela smiles, I used more muscles, as I imitated my gingerbread woman that I created with a sad face (on left).
Mocking my gingerbread woman! 

My gingerbread woman is sad because someone took a bite out of her head!

As Bela and I focused our attention on rolling the dough and creating the various cookies S. Gerri watched the cookies in the oven. Perhaps S. Gerri's job was the most tedious. She was in-charge of supervising afterall. Okay, freeze! Just because I said S. Gerri was supervising does not mean I was implying she was supervising us...but you may think as you wish. It was our impression that S. Gerri was having just as fun of time watching us decorate the cookies as it would have been if she would have been creating them herself. See S. Gerri below (on left) with a sheet full of cookies! 

Even though we only made a half of batch of the sugar cookies it seemed like Bela and I were icing cookies for half of the day. S. Gerri says it was taking us longer because we were being so creative and tedious with our work. Despite how long it took, it was fun and I suppose that is all that really matters. As an artist I find it hard to help myself when I am given the chance to express myself through art, despite the medium. 

Before we began to ice the cookies we had to decide on the colors we would ice the cookies in. Besides the traditional Christmas colors-- green and red-- I said we needed to make blue. Why you ask? Blue is my favorite color. Enough said! We also made yellow icing--for the stars-- we ended up using all of the colors in a variety of ways. We did not keep to the traditional purpose of the colors. Who is traditional nowadays anyway? Me?!?! Come on, nah, not all of time.  
A selection of our finished product!

Even though S. Marita was off doing her own thing while S. Gerri, Bela and I were being creative in the kitchen, she would pop in from time to time to check on our progress, or to taste one of our freshly baked cookies. She was probably also curious to why we were making so much racket, I mean laughter, coming from the kitchen as we were (cough, cough) working! At one point or another when S. Marita came into the kitchen Bela stopped rolling the last bit of cookie dough and the two posed for this amazing photograph (on left). 
Better watch out, Bela has a rolling pin and she knows how to use it! 
Despite my feelings of being dysfunctional as my room is not completely put together, YET, I feel we are making progress as a newly forming community. This is very promising. Community building takes time this I know. I am still new to living in community but since this is the second community I have lived in I do have an idea of what community living is like. Perhaps this will be an advantage to me to adjust quicker! My year and a half maybe nothing compared to S. Marita and S. Gerri's community experience but this new community will allow me new adventures. My hope is that this is just the beginning. 

***All material and photographs are used with permission.*** 

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