I thought for this blog post I would share some highlights of this past week
On Tuesday, I had an outdoor, socially distanced dinner with my mentor, Charity, and her husband. We met in their backyard, and they treated me to great food and great conversation. My mentor is someone my program director matched me with, who works in a field I am interested in so she gives me advice on finding my vocation. Charity works as a Program Coordinator for a local ESL program. I am certified to teach ESL, so talking with her has been helpful in terms of learning from someone successful in that field.
After having dinner with my mentor, I rushed back to have our weekly community dinner at the Sycamore House. I already ate, but community dinners are more about spending time with the other Sycamore House members than eating anyway and I enjoyed getting to know my housemates better. Community dinners in non-pandemic times were usually a time of reaching out to the local community of Harrisburg, but due to Covid-19 precautions community dinners are currently limited to Sycamore House members. This focus on building community with each other is sort of nice though. These weekly dinners have helped us meet our goal of living in an intentional community with one another.
On Thursday, I attended my martial arts class in the evening. This martial arts class is free for Sycamore House members this year, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to brush up on my self-defense skills and get back into shape. I mastered two forms (katas) on Thursday, which earned me a stripe. Essentially, that means you move to the next level of training. This was really exciting for me. The martial arts class takes precautions like temperature checks, sanitizing your hands before being allowed to join the class, masks, and distancing so that it’s safe for everyone there.
This past Friday, I and another member of the Sycamore House went to the Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve to hike on a trail and learn about local plants. I found new contenders for my favorite flower, such as Jack-in-the-pulpit, yellow violets, bloodroot, and red-dead nettle. The latter two plants I like primarily because their names sound like something out of a fantasy novel. Our guide was Kathy Yorkievitz, who was kind enough to drive us out to Preserve and share some botanical knowledge. As the trip was outdoors and Kathy is vaccinated, we also did not have to worry much about Covid-19 exposure (although we still wore masks just in case). On the way to the Wildflower Preserve, we also stopped at a local creamery to get ice cream and say hi to some cows. It ended up being a fun adventure!
Finally on Saturday, one of my housemates’ family came to visit her so I tagged along for an outdoor meal. It was cool to try out a local restaurant I hadn’t been to before and to meet my housemate’s family. The Sycamore House still has a restriction on visitors entering the house, but meeting outside with masks on (when we weren’t eating of course) was a great way to still see people without risking potential Covid-19 exposure.