Characteristics of community living #1: Fine lines

Another blog series, this time from Marieke de Klerk who is mission building with us in our communications team! This starts a mini-series of looking at community life, a vital and vibrant part of being a YWAMer

It’s not always easy to describe what it’s like to live in a community. Actually you have to experience it yourself to understand it, and even then you’ll be surprised about things every day. Community living in Seamill means working, living, eating and sleeping in the same building. The people you live with are all from different countries and cultures, with different languages and habits. Put that all together in one building and you have a lot going on and a lot to get used to. But one thing’s for sure: it’s never boring! I’d like to give you a little insight in the vivacious life I’m living now.

Since I live in a community, there is not really a clear line between my work life and private life. As I step out of my office, I enter my home. Although that is sometimes confusing, I can think of only one downside: I often forget to go outside. But truly, there are many advantages of having work so close to my bed. I don’t have to wear shoes every day. I don’t have to worry about losing or forgetting my keys. People are totally fine when I feel like wearing a large comfy sweater. I don’t have to prepare my lunch the evening before. I can sleep longer. I can easily find another place to work when I’m running out of inspiration in my office. But best of all, I feel home at my workplace, for it is my home!

In a community you don’t only work and live in the same place, but you also work and live with the same people. That sometimes makes it hard to understand or explain how you’re related to them. The first day I was here in The Seamill Centre, I considered the people I lived with as housemates, which made perfect sense. But both God’s presence and the homey ambience here were so obvious that people almost automatically felt like family as well.
When I started working in the office, another shift happened. During work hours, the same people that first were housemates and then family, suddenly became my colleagues. That was interesting. Not that long after this, the moment came when I asked myself: are they my friends now? To make it even more complicated, there is this group of DTS trainees, they are also part of the Seamill family. Meanwhile I call them my friends but whenever I Skype with my friends or family back home, I would talk about them as the DTS trainees. Just to make sure they know who I’m talking about. Sometimes I still don’t really know what to call people but I certainly like all the people here. So I’ll just call them that: the very nice people I work and live with!

I think it’s fun to think about this kind of stuff and it’s very interesting to see group dynamics and things like that. But if you’re not that big of a fan of social philosophizing, or if you just like to keep things simple, than the best option would be to just call people by their names.