Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Motor City News #3

Hello again, friends. It’s been quite a month of transition since I last wrote. Here are a few stories to give you a flavor of my new life in Detroit:

(Part 1, Part 2 via my blog, freeconvection.blogspot.com)

Matthew, Mike, Luke, Jon, and Tyson. The five of us finally decided on a place to settle permanently in Detroit (at least much more permanently than our current arrangements).
1675 Pingree, Detroit, MI 48206.
Projected move in date is Sept. 19. The house was recently renovated, new water, new wiring, and hardwood floors that will be beautiful with a little bit of scrubbing. And there’s a little fireplace in the living room! It has three bedrooms, so we’ll live in two and have a guest room. The basement will have plenty of room for the ping pong table that Luke and Mike brought. It is a somewhat dangerous block, but that keeps rent really low – it looks like it will be about $900 per month for all five of us, including utilities and internet. Less than $200/person (I’m practicing simple math for a test Saturday). And really, we feel God pushing us to step out in faith and trust him for our safety. It’s the kind of place where we are very likely to get broken into. The assumption is that white people have money and have stuff. So people will break in to see what kind of stuff they can collect. Hopefully word gets around that we don’t have much. There is a small church on the corner, and we have a contact who knows the pastor well, so we’re hoping to get introduced to the neighborhood through someone who is trusted. Knowing your neighbors really helps reduce threats to your property. People watch out for each other.
By the 20th, all five of us should be moved in, which is very exciting to me.

I’ve had several significant interactions with people from this neighborhood which have been encouraging. It’s easy to get discouraged with how difficult it seems to be to get to know your neighbors, especially in a cross-cultural context where everything I would normally do to try to meet people doesn’t really work (asking lots of questions here usually provokes the thought, “Why’s he all up in my business?” rather than “He’s interested in getting to know me.”).
I went to a pot-luck on Labor Day with several families from the neighborhood and felt very welcomed. There were lots of children in the house, who connect very easily, and I new some of them from Day Camp, so those relationships provided springboards for good conversations with the adults.
Today I was invited in for coffee with a widow who lives in one of the apartment complexes on my block. It was a great experience to talk genuinely with someone who also feels a little bit out of place and who really needs a friend.

I’ve been very productive over the last ten days of job searching. I finally decided to pursue substitute teaching as far as I could. Last week I probably made over 30 phone calls to charter schools and staffing agencies. That has led to two interviews this week, one for a substitute teaching position and one for a paid tutoring position. For the latter, I have to take a timed math test (without a calculator!) which will include come calculus. I’ll have to freshen up a bit on my addition and subtraction. It’s the simple stuff that always gets me when I’m moving too fast.

Penn State started its 2009 football season with a bang, defeating Akron 31-7. I’m heading out to State College to go to the Iowa game with my Dad on Sept. 26. I hope to make it back to Rochester for a couple days after the game.
I’m also trying to make a trip in the middle of October. I get to be Belinda’s date for another wedding, and see some other friends who are coming back to town for the occasion. It will be nice to celebrate my birthday in Rochester.
The tricky thing is transportation. It seems pretty expensive and time consuming. I’m trying to find the balance between the two. Buses are generally cheaper (at least slightly) than trains and planes, but they take f o r e v e r.

Prayer requests.
Thank you to those who have been praying. I love serving a God who hears and answers prayers in both mighty and simple ways.
  • The continuing job search, including interviews and tests this week.
  • Moving into the new house/neighborhood, specifically the process of meeting neighbors.
  • Reforming the community that Mike, Luke and I have developed as Tyson and Jon move in this month.
  • Traveling arrangements to be worked out with ease and efficiency.


- m a t t


Anonymous said...

Can't wait to come visit!!! But I hear you won't be around! :(

Timothy Flanders said...

Matt -

I love you so much and I miss you lots. I can't wait to come and visit yah'll in Detroit. I still have a few things to work out, but I might be able to come over this October or November.

pray for me too,