We're two weeks into life at St. Vlad's -- I say this, and "real life" hasn't even begun -- and the house is beginning to resemble less what you see to the right (wherein merely traveling from one end of the apartment to another involved sliding four boxes around so one could pass) and more of an actual living space. A couple with only one child generously offered to look into trading our smaller apartment with their larger one, but the prospect of another move, albeit a small one, was both unappealing and, really, unnecessary. We have what we need, even if we don't have all we want. As Stacy quoted from St. Antony a couple of days ago, "Let none among us have even the yearning to possess. For what benefit is there in possessing these things that we do not take with us? Why not rather own those things we are able to take with us -- such things as prudence, justice, temperance, courage, understanding, love, concern for the poor, faith in Christ, freedom from anger, hospitality?" Sounds romantic, right? It's different when you ask for those things and God gives you four hundred square feet to do it in...together...knowing how to push all each other's buttons...
I swear...Westchester County's streets are the most insane thing I've ever encountered. The picture to your left is not one I took, but it's something that wouldn't surprise me if I saw it here. I want to know what the guy who drew up the streets here was drinking when he did it and, once I find out, I want a pint of it. Streets that curve around only to dead end and emerge, unannounced, three blocks later, only to become a one-way street (again with no warning) against you and under a completely different name...Google Maps probably just tried their best and said "Ah, the heck with the rest. Let 'em circle the block a couple more times." Seriously: if you are going to the Big Apple, ask someone who's been there to verify your travel instructions. A matushka here emailed me directions from the Tappen Zee Bridge to St. Vlad's on the day I arrived, and they were wonderfully clear (meaning I could ignore all the other flotsam and jetsam around me as I looked for my street sign).
Orientation was long, but informative. Much appreciated was the "glass half full" mentality regarding seminary. I don't think any punches were pulled regarding how hard, how draining, how long a process seminary was, but they weren't trying to scare any of us newbies off (though I have heard that in previous classes the glass during orientation was not only half- but mostly-empty). Metropolitan Jonah spoke for two nights, and other staff members have reminded us that this is the way of the Cross, of ridicule, of crushing one's ego for the sake of service to one's God.
Tomorrow is OT Lit. Prayers are appreciated. May it be blessed.