I will begin with a math problem:
On Thursday there were 5 volunteers and 2 visitors. On Friday 1 volunteer and 2 visitors left and 1 arrived. On Saturday 2 more volunteers arrived. On Sunday 1 left. On Tuesday 1 arrived. On Wednesday 1 arrived. On Thursday 3 left. How many volunteers are there now?
Sometimes I feel like I live at Grand Central Station. Here's why: volunteers and visitors are constantly coming and going from this house. In the past week so many people have come and gone that I honestly can't keep it straight. Our community fluctuated wildly every day with new people coming, going, and staying. Although this means a lot of work because we have to make and remake beds and clean rooms constantly, not to mention the mental strain of keeping who is coming when and from where strait, it is also fun because it means that I am constantly meeting new people from all different places and hearing about their varied experiences. The past week's transients have included a volunteers returning from West Timor and Congo (from U.S./Malaysia and Hong Kong), visitors from Louisiana (one via Hong Kong), 3 Italians, and a fellow American.
I could go on for some time about all that has transpired since the VOICA house has become a bed and breakfast, but I'll just share a bit. First, Lydia and I got to meet 2 more of our future community members! Clara and Stefano came to visit us from Northern Italy. They will join us in February with Matteo for one year of service. They both work so they were only able to stay for a week, but it was great to meet the people I will be living with for a year. My knowledge of the Italian language also increased as Clara and Stefano's English is a bit shaky and they tend to speak in Italian to each other. This means I've been hearing a lot of Italian and sometimes even understand what is being said (sometimes being maybe for like 5 minutes in the past week). But I have a feeling living with 3 Italians for a year will improve my skills. I have also learned that I talk fast and use a lot of slang. As is turns out, Matteo (whose English is quite good) can understand about 10% of what I say and the others less. So I am now trying to make a concerted effort to speak slowly and with words that are actually in the dictionary. It's hard. We also welcomed Celia back from a month of service in Congo. It was great to see her pictures and hear about her experiences. Meeting the future community and hearing about Celia's service has made me more excited to get to Congo, which is good because I'm leaving in 2 1/2 weeks!!
I will end by giving the answer: 5 (until tomorrow when my parents arrive, then there will be 7, but 4 will leave Sunday, then 2 arrive Tuesday...you get the picture)