LA from the eyes of Michael and Teresa.
Since this is the first time the two of us are blogging, we will give you a run-down of the past 4 days. So, get comfortable, grab a caffeinated drink and maybe even your favorite popcorn... for those emotional ones, grab some tissues!
Two months ago, we received the exciting, unreal news that we would be spending a week together in LA. We really had no idea what was in store for us.
Our flight departed at 7am. This is where the overcoming fears began seeing as it was Teresa's first flight! But we made it after the one hour interrogation from the cops and Teresa's lost luggage on what seemed to be a toy plane.... Just kidding! Except for the airplane part.. it was very small. We moved onto our next flight feeling like pros! We got on the plane in 16 degree weather and got off in 60 degrees. HELLLLOOOOO Los Angeles! We had a very enriching and enjoyable lunch with April Risteff (a UD grad!!) It was great to feel the UD Marianist spirit all the way in Cali. April told us all about what she does as a religious educator at Chaminade High School.
Next, we decided to take a walk down a popular shopping strip where we met a woman named Cici. Cici caught our eye because of the hand written sign she was holding along with a bag of clothes. She didn't look homeless but she did look exhausted. It turned out that her husband is a disabled vet and because of a government mix up he was not receiving enough income to cover basic necessities. This kind of struck us that with in three hours of getting off the plane and in a more wealthy area, we were already seeing reasons for why we were there. We took her to a local store were she could purchase groceries and bought a $25 gift card. We each shared our names and a hug before leaving her. Later that night, we had the pleasure of meeting the students and leaders from the two other Marianist Universities. Being Marianist, we were sure to bond right off the bat and have a meal together.
We began the day with mass in a Hispanic community. This was quite the experience. The people in this church seemed so passionate about their religion. Some of us (Michael) understood a lot of the mass that was said in all Spanish, others of us (Teresa) had no idea what was being said but still enjoyed the beauty of the church and the mass. After this mass we walked around this Hispanic community where there were many small family shops and restaurants. As we walked we were able to really get a feel for the Hispanic culture and their passion for Christ, each other and their traditions. We ate lunch (such food!) at a Hispanic restaurant where there was an amazing Mariachi band... cha cha cha!
Later, we visited the Marianist Bro's house by Chaminade High School. This was an absolutely awesome experience meeting some people that we shared so much belief with. We had great conversation with them learning about their wonderful experiences and hearing their wonderful stories. Their stories really gave us so much hope for us as we are doing our best to live out the Marianist Mission.
After a long day, we arrived back in Duarte on Buena Vista Street.
We started the day out together at a Vietnamese restaurant Pho 87 and church, both very rich in culture and history. The owner of the Vietnamese restaurant is very active in the support of Vietnamese immigration and providing a better life for those Vietnamese in Los Angeles. We met Father Ted who was the pastor of St. Ann's Church