I've been living in Kansas City, Missouri now for an entire year. It seriously seems like just yesterday that I came to find a place to live in the city for my year committment to AmeriCorps and Harvesters. I remember checking out some houses that I thought were pretty sketchy, a little overwhelming for this sheltered girl from Chapman & Manhattan, Kansas. I wanted to live as close to work as possible and in an area that might stretch me just a little outside my comfort zone. After visiting with an amazing couple that lowered the rent price after understanding my very minimal living allowance, I decided this was the place. 41st & Campbell St. Two blocks west of Troost in Kansas City, Missouri.
What an experience it has been. I've actually falling in love with my neighborhood. These people actually converse with each other. Front porches are on every house and people really do hang out on them. I've fallen in love with the people...my landlords and forever family, the same ladies that walk their dogs daily, the neighbors that thought for sure I was the long lost match for their son, the neighbor that decided he would go ahead and reroof his entire house by himself, and the ones that fed me a cheese stuffed jalepeno right off the mini charcoal grill. I've fallen in love with the area...huge historic homes all with their own unique image, a great park with walking paths and the best child jungle gym you've ever seen, the constant ice cream truck music even in the winter, and the rather short walk to Westport with just enough hills to get my workout in.
I've actually enjoyed my Kansas City time very much. Some of my favorites: City Market-only the best local produce and really cheap not so local produce, Book club -aka- wine and cheese gathering time with friends, Jacob's Well- amazing church body doing super great things like holding hands and singing together, experiencing new restaurants and searching for the ones that support local producers, sharing life with neighbors and friends, and....serving at Harvesters.
Harvesters - the Community Food Network has been my place of service for the past year. It's seems so crazy to be done with my year of AmeriCorps and although I am definitely excited for fun things to come I will miss Harvesters. I'll miss the amazing group of ladies in Nutrition Services. We have A LOT of fun together. Who else can say they spend one day a week at work just trying out new recipes and developing new things. Or maybe going out to happy hour on just about a monthly schedule. We shared some life together and this I will miss. Seriously, I could not have asked for a better group of people to work alongside. My AmeriCorps team was also a crazy group of people all on a search for just something special to give to this world. We worked hard and got things done, by golly.
I've gained family in Kansas City. I might not have made a huge number of connections with people but the connections I did make are real. The people that I have been sharing life with are not just those people I might send a facebook message to every once in a while. These are the people that I've created this blog for. The people that genuinely want to stay connected and I have no doubt we will. I now have many homes that I know I can call home if I happen to be passing through and need a place to stay. I do believe that this is what we were created to do. No matter where we are in life, find and create community. Exist together and live life together.
One of the greatest rewards of this year has simply been living and learning from others. We are all on this journey of life and have made mistakes, experienced joys and pains, and have changed much. I feel like I've grown tremendously this year and can only imagine what might come in the future. As I pack up my belongings, end this chapter of my journey in KC, and try to plan out the adventure, I have many things to be thankful for. I'm thankful for friends, new family, lessons learned, amazing food eaten, and the opportunity to be the daughter of a great Holy King.