I am currently 31 and living with my parents. I said it. When you start a nonprofit in the worst economy of your lifetime, you have to make decisions. Now, luckily for me, living with my parents is awesome. I might never leave. (Just kidding Jude and Paul. I’ll leave.)
I realize that most of you are much more interested in the day-in-the-life of a volunteer in Nepal than in the day-in-the-life of a 31 year old in New Castle, DE but tough. It’s my blog. I get up at 6a every morning with my dad. We do a 4 mile walk along the Delaware River and return home around 7:30a. I shower, drink coffee, and work until the evening. My office is the third floor of their house which overlooks the water. Then, my mom usually pokes her head up around 6p, with a glass of wine in hand for her and me, to see if I want to have a cocktail on our deck. We cook dinner, watch a little TV, and I go to bed around 9p. Life is hard.
In the year that I’ve lived at home, between trips to Asia, I’ve gotten to know the community of New Castle rather quickly. It came as a bit of a shock after spending 4 years at Cornell where people literally walk with their heads down, in a book, or attached to a phone. To be followed by a decade of Boston, the land of ice. I didn’t know who my neighbors were, even though we shared walls, let alone say hello to them. I was starting to think that community in this country was dead until I came home.
This morning, within our first five minutes of walking, my dad and I came across Jim, a retired local. We chatted about BP, fisherman, and Obama. Then, we walked for a while and came across Bert, a woman in her 80s who walks 4 miles every single day. Last week she was attacked by a stray cat on the path. Since Monday, I have seen at least 3 different people each morning stopped on their walk to check-in on her. I have heard multiple pieces of conversations about doctors, rabies shots, and bandaging. But, Bert doesn’t seem bothered by the interest. After Bert, we pass Richard, a very religious and fast walker. He always hands out high fives, shouts that God has blessed the day, and leaves us in the dust with smiles on our faces. Towards the end of the walk, we visit with Carl and Frannie. These two are cute as pie in their 80s, have been friends for their entire life, and love to jab at each other while recounting stories of their youth. I love hearing their history lessons and learning from the strength of their bond.
I always return home from Nepal in awe of the sense of community in the villages. People genuinely care about each other and their lives are intertwined. I do think, after living in different parts of the U.S., that we have a huge area of opportunity in regards to our definition of community. But, after living in New Castle, it’s evident to me that parts of our wonderful country already have it figured out.