“This is Steve, and he is living here”
I can honestly say that I feel like a resident of this community today. I was worried before I started this that I might feel more like a staff member or visitor, but that is not the case. I am not getting any special treatment from staff that other residents are not getting – that is very transparent in group activities I am participating in. Best of all, I feel that the residents are treating me the same way that they treat each other. They are interested in my background and why I am here, but they do the same for all new residents and visitors.
Today, when I shared with my new neighbors how exhausted I was at the end of my first day – they all seemed to reflect on their first day or week in the community and agreed that it was exhausting. Everyone’s transition into this community is a little different (including mine), but it’s a common bond that we share. I feel that this bond has helped put me in the position of a resident and not an outsider. Several times today residents have introduced me to a volunteer or a family member who is not aware of my project. They will say something like, “This is Steve, and he is living here”. The look on the person’s face I am introduced to is priceless!