Considering I am not a native Chicagoan, becoming an Amate House Volunteer has presented me with many more new experiences than just volunteering. For one, I am new to Chicago and this first month has given me a wonderful opportunity to explore the city and begin to appreciate my new home! I never realized how diverse and opportunistic the city of Chicago is. It is a gross understatement to say I am excited to be living in this mid-western metropolis. Between the food and the people, there are so many additional aspects of the city I am learning to appreciate. For instance, each of the city's neighborhoods has its own personality, restaurants, and ethnic roots. Another facet of Chicago is its unique sense of architecture. If you are living in Chicago and have not yet taken the architectural boat tour downtown, then you should. It is an absolute must! One side of Chicago that I have not witnessed, and am apprehensive to endure is the city's brutal winters. Growing up in Nashville and going to school in Los Angeles have only presented me with mild winters. I still need to invest in a good pair of gloves and some waterproof boots. Any suggestions of additional warm attire are greatly welcomed!
Aside from the city itself, Amate House has given me the opportunity to live with nine housemates and experience this year as a community. Living with nine other people is interesting to say the least. For one, there is always something to do and someone to do things with. Although many of us have different personalities and living habits, I am taking this chance to appreciate learning from my housemates and growing as an individual through this community. I am quickly noticing that I need to allot myself alone time and go to sleep earlier. While I love hanging out with my housemates, unfortunately many bonding moments go late into the night. This is an aspect of community living that I am still learning to balance. I guess I am fortunate that this is currently the largest problem I am experiencing at home. Everything is a learning experience and I look forward to embracing those opportunities as they come my way the next nine months!