WE didn't leave for Toronto.
My ride left without me. And I'm still in Chicago. Toronto 2005, deja-vu anyone? I have no money to take the bus back to Toronto where my bus ticket back to Ottawa and a bit of my stuff currently is.
But I'm not overly disappointed, to be quite honest. I'm sort of glad for the added time here to get to know the JPUSA folks.
I sort of feel like I belong here, at least for now. I'm really enjoying living in community at JPUSA (Jesus People USA) which is a big Christian commune of 500 people who live together, work together and serve the community together. We all have roommates (2-3 per small room made to look bigger with the help of bunkbeds and other space-saving tricks) and single men sleep in a different building than single females and families with children do, so things stay proper.
It runs like a big family too - or a small town. Some people run the businesses throughout the city that bring in the money (roofing, sheet-metal shop, printing business, mini-storage, record company etc), while others like me help in the kitchen for a few hours a day or serving in the homeless shelter and seniors home that JPUSA runs. It's awesome! Like a church that lives together and has plenty of on-site Bible studies and worship times that you can join any night of the week - or just go out with a small group to run around the town. Great environment. Imagine a camp retreat that never ends.
There are so many traveling young adults like me who are here for a few days to a few weeks or months, as well as people who've been here for 30 years, including some of the seventies babies who still live here to this day. Anytime of day when you're not on duty you can come down to the dining room and find a bunch of young adults chatting or playing cards, or saunter up to one of the lounges where a group will be jamming or watching a movie in the later evenings. Always people around and never a chance to get too lonely or bored.
Chicago itself is a great city (some call it NYC done right). It's huge and there are so many great jazz and blues scenes, not to mention great dancing... I saw country singer Gretche Wilson for free this past Saturday at Chicago's Country Festival. How great a time I had! Much line-dancing did I. The weather is fantastic and very warm. It's been in the 80's plus humidity all week - we've been running around town in shorts and t-shirts (for those of you in Celcius land that's around - how's the temperature up in Ottawa anyway?)
All that being said, I do hope to come up with funds to be back in time for my birthday on the 25th, though I'll likely come back to JPUSA this summer, at very least for their big Cornerstone music festival a few hours away. I don't think it's my permanent home (building is old and much of it is quite run-down and always undergoing renovations here and there - it used to be a hotel belonging Al Capone - and the office building was once his brothel if you can imagine! - and Chicago is known for its cockroaches, of which I have already met a few here).
But right here, right now. I'm happy. My new friend Aaron finally did get off the phone the other night and I've been having a marvelous time chatting with him into the wee hours. And speaking of wee hours, now I'm off to bed since I have kitchen duty in 5 hours and my roommates will wonder what became of me when I'm absent half the night.