As of today, I have been here in Phoenix a total of six weeks. I only have two weeks left, but I like to think of it as entering the fourth quarter, when I have to play my best or I am just tired and want the game to end. it all depends on my mood.
I have never really introduced you to the staff members with whom I work. Since this is the internet, I am not going to post their entire life stories here, but I am going to give you a general idea of who they are and where they come from.
Andre House has a permanent staff of two: Fr. Eric and Br. Richard. Br Richard has been here almost as long as Andre House has, and Fr. Eric is the director so they do almost all of the administrating, while still making time to work directly with the guests. They are both hysterical to work partners (Fr. Eric's antics are well-documented here), but more than anything they are deeply passionate about serving the poor here.
Each year, a core staff assists this dynamic duo in running Andre House. Andrew, Matt, Liz, Alicia, Lauren, and Valerie will wind up their year of service here, (well Liz is not but that's a complicated story). Liz and Matt have both done a year of Andre House before, while Alicia and Lauren will be staying on staff for next year.
They are a diverse group. Three of them are from Phoenix, one is from Illinois one is from Texas, and one is from Wisconsin. Their ages range from 23 to 31 to one who is a generation ahead of us. Some joined out of a desire to serve, some wanted to gain life skills, while one needed a place to live after leaving grad school. Two had never lived away from home before working here, while one lived out of a car for a while. All are Catholic. All of us except one live together in community in the staff house, which is a riot. More on that later.
Then you have me and the rest of the summer staff who have been lightening the load around here the past few weeks. Josh, Ryan, Andrew and I are from Domerland, the first two being seminarians. Gabby, who has already sadly left, and Lauren are from King's College in Pennsylvania, another Holy Cross school. Finally, Kayla is from Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts. I would describe us as a rambunctious group, that work hard and play hard.
It has been an interesting experience living with and spending exorbitant amounts of time with this group. Not having any sisters and going to college under the iron fist of parietals, it has been especially eye opening living with girls. One quick story explains how eclectic our community can be.
I am at the hospitality center with Lauren when she gets a text from Liz and Alicia back home. She laughs and the reads me the following message. "Definition of community: Sitting with your best friend in the bathroom catching up and eating cookie dough while she shaves your legs." The image this created in my head was harrowing.
They later corrected the message, saying that they were not shaving each other's legs, just that one was shaving her own. Like that makes the situation any less weird. I guess that's just what girls do. Just don't give me any cooties.