Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Get Your Game Pants On!!!!!!

Let me introduce you to my new Costa Rica family!  By pants from left to right we have Molly (highlighter yellow), Margie (hula skirt), Carolyn (stripes), me (flowery), and Nicole (hula skirt/jean combo).  Game pants and rainbow visors were essential in our round of "Jeopardy - Costa Rica", as El Sueno Imposible took on Los Monos Amarillos.  Nothing like a good dose of Costa Rican and FrancisCorps trivia paired with amazingly stylish apparel on a Wednesday afternoon in Syracuse!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First Retreat with FC 13

We spent a few days on retreat at a beautiful retreat center located in the middle of thriving forests and farmland.  One day we were even able to walk a few miles to see several clear blue lakes and enjoy the gorgeous warm and sunny weather.  Days and evenings were spent doing workshops, listening to stories, getting to know one another, cooking and eating together, and relaxing.  Soon enough we headed to Seaside Heights on the New Jersey Shore--the location of another Franciscan friary.  We walked the boardwalk, ate Jersey pizza, played in the ocean, laid on the beach, and shared more time together in community.  When the hurricane warning was announced, we decided to flee from Irene and leave early back to Syracuse.  On the way back, we visited a Franciscan convent, where the nuns gave us a warm welcome and shared some of their insights with us.  Then after what should have been a four hour drive, which took seven due to the hurricane evacuation traffic, we got back to the Syracuse house late at night.  The following day, we finished up our retreat work and celebrated Mass in the Syracuse house with just our community in our living room.  The retreat ended with a lovely dinner at a local hole in the wall Italian restaurant with delicious pasta and wine.

The Syracuse group began work at their ministry sites on Monday!  The five of us who will be working in Costa Rica put our muscles to work by moving the FrancisCorps office to a new location.  Then we cooked dinner for the Syracuse group who got home after work and shared their exciting and crazy first day stories with us.

From here on out for the rest of the week, we are having "Costa Rica Specific Orientation", with plenty of time to relax and prepare :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Beginnings in Syracuse, NY!

I arrived to Syracuse, NY yesterday for the beginning of my journey!  Why Syracuse you might be wondering? FrancisCorps was founded in Syracuse13 years ago, and this year seven volunteers will be living here in Syracuse and working within the community.  The Costa Rica location began service 7 years ago, and this year there are five of us who will be working in San Jose, Costa Rica.  During the next two weeks all of us are in an orientation and retreat session together, which is lead by three FrancisCorps co-ministers.  The eleven of volunteers are all staying at the Syracuse house--10 girls and 1 boy. Needless to say, he is just a tad out numbered! Don't worry...we will be nice and try not to scare him away!

Yesterday we were welcomed upon arrival to the house by the co-ministers with a delicious barbeque! After hauling my things up a steep, narrow staircase to my temporary bed, I started to realize just how humid and hot it was here! Nothing like arid Spokane. Windows wide open and fans on high, we cooled down a tad as we chatted with the other volunteers and their families. Mom and Dad came with me, so they were especially happy to have had the chance to meet the people I will be living and working with for the year. As my parents peppered the co-ministers with questions :) and I talked with the other volunteers and co-ministers, I realized how truely blessed and fortunate I am to have this service and growth opportunity amist such amazing people and with a strong support network.

Today we awoke in time for a little breakfast and chatter before heading out to Assumption church for our commissioning mass.  During mass we were each called up, blessed, and given a Franciscan Tao cross which officially marked the beginning of our year with FrancisCorps.

I am so grateful for this experience, and I am hopeful for all that the year will bring. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.  I would love to hear from you throughout the year, so please don't hesitate to contact me and update me!

My snail mail address (where all mail will be received with arms wide open!):

Amanda Connell
c/o FrancisCorps Volunteers
St. Francis College
P.O. Box 358-2150
Moravia, San Jose
Costa Rica, C.A.

With love,