A Social Experiment… In Growth – Grace

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dsc_0008A sassy African immigrant, a hipster Pentecostal from Florida (yeah they’re a thing), a Texan native whose his hips don’t lie, a strong-willed Virginian who don’t need no man, and a Tennessean whose easy-going nature has been forever altered by the “f***ing horrible, dry and godforsaken desert”  known as LA move into a house.

What could possibly go wrong?

A lot.

A lot could go wrong.

While this sounds like the beginning of a terrible joke, it’s also my home for the next year. It was only a few weeks ago that our community was created. In this short time, we’ve redecorated our home, gotten to know each other, and had our first disappointments with one another. We’ve bonded over the occasional drink, shared personal stories, spent hours venting about work and the ridiculous situations we’ve found ourselves in.  Despite our amalgam of identities, experiences and perspectives, we’ve started to create a community.

Our community is that of puzzled miscreants trying to make sense of the commitments they have made to the program and to each other. Our community is that of people obsessed with aesthetics and color wheels and those whose ideal bedrooms involve lime green neon sheets and granny couches. Just so we’re clear, I belong to the former group. Our community is made up of Shonda Thursdays and musicians who break out into improvised jam sessions. Our community is that of self-identified loquacious soliloquizers and those who rely on context clues to decipher what it means to be a loquacious soliloquizer. Just so we’re clear, I belong to the latter group.

When I first agreed to participate in the program, I was most worried about the intentional living aspect of being an EUI. Living in this community has been a learning curve for all of us. We’ve experienced joyous moments filled with laughter, and we’ve slammed doors, raised our vices and worked to correct our misunderstandings.

Personally, I’ve found community in small actions such as sharing my spices, being offered rides to places and constantly finding myself reassuring the Tennessean that it “occasionally weathers” in California and that promotional latte flavors will accurately let her know what season we’re in. For example, the resurrection of pumpkin spice lattes marks the beginning fall, and we will gradually transition into the winter flavors of peppermint mochas and eggnog flavored drinks as the holidays approach.  The hipster Pentecostal is always ready greet me with a hug after a long day because he is much more in tune with my feelings than I am—must be a hipster thing. The Texan native will stop gyrating long enough to call me down when I need it, and then do a fantastic impression of me being unnecessarily dramatic an hour later. The Virginian native, who also possesses an extensive knowledge of astrology taught me to pick my battles wisely because sometimes Mercury is in retrograde and you just won’t win.

Quite frankly, living simply and living in an intentional community was not how I pictured spending my first year out of college. I was supposed to move to the bay area and work at some start up trying to come up with new, socially responsible marketing techniques.    However, if I’m going to spend my first year out of college living off of a stipend and EBT, I could not have picked a better group of people with whom to embark on this adventure. This experiences sometimes feels like a social experiment, but a cool social experiment—think The Real World but with less drama, less glamour, and a much more attractive cast.