One of our residents, Sara Fleming, wrote this piece while observing the peaceful National AIDS Memorial Grove located in the beautiful, and very close, Golden Gate Park.
Walking through a world of neutrals and greens is an occurrence that is ultimately surreal. The Golden Gate Park is a wondrous place to dwell and lose track of time in all of the encapsulating scenery, smells, and sensations that are present here. I found myself wandering to and fro, oblivious of the concrete city around me. In the midst of a thick cluster of trees, I came across a large boulder, smooth and cool from the moisture in the air. It beckoned me to sit upon its shiny gray surface. While I was sitting, I took a minute to close my eyes and take in all of the scenery that was not exclusive to sight that the park had to offer. I could hear the shuffling of leaves passing my feet on the forest floor. The precipitation of the humidity from the vegetation dripping onto the mighty rocks surrounding me epitomized tears of joy falling from heaven. My nostrils were filled with scents that can never be replicated by men; the mildewed, yet earthy scent of the soil, the sweetness of fresh nectar, the crisp green smell of the trees. I ran my fingertips over the multitude of different surfaces, letting them gain sensory experience. The rock was grainy, the soil was wet, the bark was coarse, and the list goes on and on. It was, and is a magnificent location to be enveloped in. When I am here, I only just begin to realize the expansive nature of the creator of the entire earth, the place that we are blessed enough to call our home.
Last Wednesday was the first day of internships for most of the house. So, naturally, our Resident Director, Jessica LeGault, got out the camera and snapped some first day pictures before we went to work!
A new semester has begun, and that means a new cast of characters in the Clunie House: twenty one students from both Westmont and Gordon College. The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind exploration of San Francisco. Here are some of the highlights!
Niki Blois in the fog after completing the hike up to Twin Peaks.
(Photo by Betsy Freeman)
Betsy Freeman and Madison Frambes enjoy the view from Buena Vista Park.
Kathryn Schuyler and Amnoni Myers while ice skating in Union Square.
(Photo by Kathryn Schuyler)
Sally Lankford and Betsy Freeman. (Photo by Kathryn Schulyer)
Liz Hardeman and Madison Frambes. (Photo by Kathryn Schulyer)
Junior. Kinesiology Major. Religious Studies Minor. Poet. Friend.
Morgan is interning at Sojourn Chaplaincy in the San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. Sojourn is an interfaith chaplaincy with a focus in providing spiritual care to a diverse group of patients in the hospital. As a chaplain intern, Morgan does individual patient visits as well as participates in a weekly class with other seminarians. She works with some of the wisest and most eclectic people she has ever met. They constantly support and encourage the growth of her faith and the growth of such faith as the core of her identity. Morgan’s work as a chaplain is centered on the creation of a hospitable environment in hopes of allowing each patient to feel loved and understood. She says, “Behind every door of every patient’s room there is a story that holds beauty and wisdom and it is my joy as a chaplain to embark on that journey with them, to walk alongside them wherever they may be. And in my ability to be vulnerable and real with the patients, I often discover a part of myself I didn’t know existed before. We step into the room with the expectations that we have something to offer to that particular patient, but we often discover that through each patient’s experience and story they often have much to offer us. And rather than putting on a façade that we ‘have it all together’, we often reach a sense of solidarity in our shared brokenness. So ultimately, I have found that it is not about what we bring to the table, but rather what we leave at the door.”
Morgan’s favorite spot in the city is a venue located in the basement of Viracocha, an antique and oddities store on Valencia Street. They host a series of live spoken word and poetry open mic nights accompanied by improvisational jazz music. San Francisco’s unique ability to express itself is fully portrayed here by emphasizing the beauty of words and music. In addition, Morgan loves the serenity she finds in being completely enveloped by nature. She loves running through Golden Gate Park as well as sitting in the Clunie House Garden. “I’ve met amazing people while running in the park and both the park and garden provide a nice change of pace from the busy city streets.” She has been consistently reminded to slow down and to truly meditate on the meaning of “Selah”, as David often used between Psalms—to stop and soak in the beauty of the surroundings and to listen to the whispers God is trying to speak to us.
Something Morgan has learned thus far this semester is that each person has an innate desire to be understood and loved. She believes we are called to create a safe space for others to feel freedom in fully expressing and pouring out of themselves without fear of presumptions being made.
With the semester coming to a close, Morgan is striving to live in each moment she has left in the city, while taking time to play guitar and sing throughout the house.
Junior. Political Science Major. Rap Enthusiast. Bumble bee Lover. Friend.
Julianna is interning at Humanity United. She is a research intern and works on a project that looks at what non-profit networks are the most effective and how different for-profit, non-profit, and research organizations work together to build peace and advance human freedom. She also collects data about previous grants and goes to meetings. Julianna has had the opportunity to work with the leading experts in philanthropy and a group of very intelligent young international affairs experts. It is like working for the government, only with more freedom and creativity. It has been fun to hear about the future of non-profits and where international philanthropy is headed.
Julianna’s favorite spot in the city is Hayes Valley with her favorite secret coffee shop and attractive barista. There is also a cute little park on Hayes and Octavia where people-watching is prime. She also likes the Women’s Building in the Mission District because it looks how she wishes every building could look. “When I look at the vibrant mural-covered building I feel empowered.”
Something Julianna has learned thus far this semester is that she thrives in office spaces. She says, “It is my heaven. I don’t care if I have to sit in a desk all day.” She loves working with people, sitting in meetings, and working on the computer. It is just a bonus that her work enables her to help people. She has also learned that she loves food as much as she thought she did. “Sorry I’m not sorry.”
With the semester slowly coming to an end, Julianna is cherishing every moment, every bite of food, and every sip of coffee in San Francisco.
Junior. Communications Major. House Paparazzi. Friend.
Linnea is interning at ABCey Events, an independent events planning company. She works on marketing through social media platforms, and aids in all aspects of event planning such as site selection, budget development, timeline production, and much more. She even works events planned by her supervisor, and talks directly to clients and vendors. Each event is unique and she works to satisfy the specific needs of each one. Linnea loves that her job is focused on planning and organizing and has been thankful for the amount of independence she is given. She works with guidance, but her supervisor trusts her with many responsibilities allowing her to get the full hands-on experience.
Linnea’s favorite spot in the city is the Buena Vista park near to the Clunie House. It is a close, quick, and fun hike with absolutely breathtaking views. She says, “I need perspective every once in a while, it puts me in my place.”
Something Linnea has learned thus far this semester is to be slow with making judgments on others. “This semester has taught me that I can’t be quick to judge. I have seen people on the bus and made immediate assumptions about them, but then I saw them do something nice for someone else.” She has been able to catch herself in that and learned that each person has more to them. Also, she has realized that she needs to enjoy every moment and live presently. “I forget about the small things and even having an hour to myself or sitting at a park by myself has caused me to see the importance of small moments”
Linnea is so excited to learn more about the event planning world and more about what the city has to offer!
By Dr. Karen Andrews, Associate Professor of Urban Studies and English
Nearly every Sunday in the city, I hear the Mission bells as I walk by the corner of 16th and Dolores Streets. On a recent fog-free, blue-sky September Sunday, when those bells began to toll, I felt like singing aloud Matt Nathanson’s catchy tune, “Mission Bells.” (The single “Mission Bells” was released in Spring 2013. Last of the Great Pretenders album was released in July 2013).
The original San Francisco Mission, founded in June 1776, is the oldest building in our city and the oldest intact Mission Chapel. It was originally named for St Francis of Assisi but became known as “Mission Dolores” because of the nearby Arroyo de los Dolores, the “Creek of Sorrows.”
San Francisco’s beautiful Mission Dolores has been the subject of many songs and movies. Poets have penned lines in its honor, such as Bret Hart in “The Bells of Mission Dolores.” Rock musicians prior to Matt Nathanson have written songs about it, such as Jerry Garcia’s “Mission in the Rain” (which also has been covered by other artists, such as Emory Joseph on Fennario). Filmmakers, such as Alfred Hitchcock in Vertigo have captured the haunting beauty of the Mission and its cemetery, referred to in Nathanson’s song and music video for “Mission Bells.” Shipbuilders also have named ships after it, such as “S.S. Mission Dolores and S.S. Mission San Francisco.” Read more on Mission Dolores here.
Matt Nathanson, a resident of San Francisco who has lived in the Mission district, has created a memorable song and music video that serves as an homage to Alfred Hitchcock and the Mission. Here’s the music video for “Mission Bells”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tORhy2-fn0A.
Nathanson’s video includes explicit Hitchcock references, as in the opening shots with the dramatic, diagonal editing. Nathanson’s music video’s visual images and editing techniques honor Hitchcock’s art as filmmaker, evoking not only the classic San Francisco film Vertigo but more particularly the thriller Psycho. His song lyrics refer directly to Hitchcock’s influence, as “at the end of a Hitchcock movie, a little dark and a lot confusing.”
What do the Mission bells seem to represent in his song? If you attended California schools for the Fourth Grade, you would have learned about the California Missions and that the Mission bells were intended to call the faithful to come to Mass. It’s interesting that in Nathanson’s song, Mission bells stir up a confession or an admission of failure on the singer’s part. “Ringing somewhere higher,” the Mission bells seem to be haunting him, convicting his conscience. He has a dream where his love has died because of his “faithless heart.” He admits he was wrong to let her “get away” and feels “so lost” as “the last of the great pretenders.”
I have enjoyed listening to—and often singing along with—Nathanson’s latest song in honor of the Mission. The Mission bells continue to call the faithful to church and to inspire artists to sing the praises of its compelling beauty. Come to San Francisco and see the Mission for yourself and hear those haunting bells ring!
Junior. Political Science Major. Hippie Lover. Friend.
Samantha is interning at San Francisco’s Office of the Public Defenders. She is working specifically in the Community Justice Center Courthouse helping those with felonies and misdemeanors into rehabilitation programs. She records dates and notes during court sessions and even interacts directly with attorneys as the trial occurs. Sam loves being part of such a hands-on experience in law, especially one that involves aiding those in the Tenderloin. She also loves hearing incredible stories of attorneys and getting to know their passions for defending the rights of those who may be underrepresented. She says, “It’s incredible to see the relationship between the attorneys and their clients; it has demonstrated the true love of Christ to me and has shown me how justice and compassion can intertwine.”
Sam’s favorite spot in the city is Haight Street. In fact, she has visited Haight at least four times weekly since the beginning of the semester. She says, “I’m afraid that one day I may be a hippie living on that hill and daily I have to restrain myself from living with them.” She loves watching the hippies hula-hooping outside of the coffee shops and talking to hitch-hikers who have come to live there temporarily on their way to Los Angeles.
Something Sam has learned thus far this semester is that everyone has a story. Just last week, one of her attorneys explained that he became a public defender for that reason—because he believes everyone has a story. She says, “I’ve begun to realize the importance of having God first in my story above others and most importantly above myself.”
Sam is excited for this semester and the opportunities that lie ahead.
Sophomore. Psychology Major. Religious Studies Minor. Friend.
Rob is interning at City Hall, shadowing the director of earthquake safety. He does various administrative tasks, he meets assistants, performs research, and implements community safety outreach programs. Rob’s main goal is to update the city to make it more resilient. It is a big responsibility, and Rob does a wonderful job making sure it’s done right.
One of Rob’s favorite spots in the city is the Marin Headlands, lands end, and Baker Beach. He loves these spots because he can escape into nature. He says, “seeing the juxtaposition of the built environment in the city and the natural world, this intersection between the two, is where I find God.”
Something that Rob has learned so far this semester is learning how to prioritize loving “the other” over everything else. Rob says, “It’s trying to understand the depth and history behind every person and the complexities of problem solving.”
Becca is interning at a non profit organization called 826 National. This organization focuses on tutoring, writing, and publishing for the local kids in the city. There is a branch on Valencia St. called 826 Valencia where Becca spends some of her time tutoring kids one on one. But other days, she is at the headquarters researching different aspects of educational issues, facilitating meetings, and brainstorming ideas that they can improve on for the organization.
Becca’s favorite spot in the city is land’s end, specifically the coastal part. It is almost the Presidio. She loves looking out at the bridge and other parts of the city that you can see from there. She says, “it’s really peaceful and calm”. Becca also loves walking through the park. She said that her favorite district is the Marina. She enjoys the aesthetics of it and all the shop. But mainly, any coffee shop in the city is a good place to find her.
Something that Becca has learned a lot about herself and how she fits in to the larger contexts of the city. She has also learned what her faith looks like and how she is being a follow of Christ in the city. She said, “I still stick to what I believe and to my convictions, but I love everyone around me. It has been an interesting journey to see how I fit into that and what it looks like in San Francisco.”
Sophomore. English and Communications Major. Friend.
Emily is interning at Jossey-Bass Publishing Company which has recently been bought out by Wiley Publishers. Emily works in two departments, the editorial department and the publicity department. Some of her responsibilities are looking through manuscripts, checking citations, writing press releases, and sending emails to the media. A recent project that she is working on is sending emails announcing new books and she is recording the different responses. Emily says, “I have five different supervisors, so I always have something different to do and it can get crazy at times.”
Emily’s favorite spot in the city, besides the Clunie House, is Hayes Valley. She says, “it feels like something really cozy and quaint in the big city. There are plenty of great shops and good food, it almost feels like it could be its own neighborhood.” Emily also noted how it always seems sunny there, which is partly why she enjoys it so much.
Something that Emily has learned so far on this semester is that communication is a big thing, especially when part of a community. She has learned what it even means to be in a community and when it is appropriate to speak up and saying where she is at or even asking for help. She says, “it has been really valuable. I have been put out of my comfort zone, but its a good thing.”
Megan is interning at HarperOne Publishing. This company publishes many topics that include: religion, spirituality, health, fitness, biographies, and memoirs. Some of Megan’s responsibilities are sending mail all over the world to different authors and other famous people. She looks at manuscripts and evaluates them to see if they fit HarperOne’s style. She edits study guides in the back of books, and she sometimes gets to write the back panel or cover descriptions, along with other administrative work.
Megan’s favorite spot in the city is Green Apple Books. Located on Clement Street, it has a beautiful and big selection of all used books. It has two shops that are separated by a small barber shop. She says, “it is a place you can get lost in.” It is one of her favorite spots because she has a huge affinity for reading.
Something that Megan has learned so far on this semester is how sustainable the environment is in the city. San Francisco’s compact size requires people to not indulge in their consumer fantasies, and she really appreciates that. She also really appreciates the compostable system that is required in the city. Megan said, “I was used to thinking of cities as polluted and gross, but it’s not like that here.”
Ashley is interning at a capital management firm in the financial district called Cross Point. Ashley is responsible for managing their email marketing campaign and some of their investor relationships. She is also in charge of recording expense reports and administering block trades. Basically, she creates a portfolio for her clients based on their personality and their interests. This portfolio is about buying and selling stocks, so Ashley decides when it is a good time to buy or sell. She said, “I picked this internship because stocks are fascinating and I want to understand them and not to be afraid of investing. And I have definitely learned these things.”
Ashley’s favorite spot in the city is the Sutro Ruins, specifically running to the ruins. She enjoys not only the run there, but the small hike it takes to get up there. Ashley loves watching the sunset from that spot. She described it as a location that is opposite from her internship and she enjoys being able to go somewhere in the city where it is calm and relaxed. She said, “It’s one of those rare quiet spots in the city.”
Something that Ashley has learned on the semester so far is that community is perfect and that you should embrace it the way it is. She loves being involved and loves learning to see God in people. She is also learning what it means to be apart of a community and caring for those who are in it.
Megan is interning at Reality SF. This is a church that is currently focusing on becoming a “slow church” and really delving into one another and taking the time to appreciate every word from the Bible. As an intern, Megan is part of the kids and family ministry. This means that she plans events which includes researching, making lists, shopping for supplies, and setting everything up. Megan is also in charge of getting the volunteers ready for each service, emailing information, and actual hands on activities with the kids. Megan said, “the best part is when I get to see something that I have worked really hard on and it being used for the staff (and have it be helpful too).”
Megan’s favorite spot in the city this far is the Sutro bath ruins. She loves that whole cliff side of Ocean Beach. She feels like that location is in a spot that just seems like the water expands in all directions. She also enjoys Sutro Sam, which is an otter that found its way into the water and has yet to leave. Megan said, “I feel like this spot is underrated in the city. It’s not talked about very much and it is such a great place to change the pace of your day.”
Something that Megan has learned so far in this semester is how to be more independent. She described that she is more comfortable doing things by herself and she is much more sure of herself now then she ever has been in the past because of the experiences that she has encountered thus far. She has also discovered that she loves cities!
Adrina works at a non profit called Made In A Free World which deals with modern day slavery. They work with consumers to demand products that are produced fair trade, and works with businesses to look at their supply chains to see if they are using forced labor at the raw material level. As an intern, she creates graphics for them to post on their FB page and also for their blog. Adrina works on small projects in advertising for their different campaigns and overall suggest things to better the website. She described, ”I work with a bunch of young people who are passionate for the subject, and it really has encouraged me to dive into this intense issue and learn about it and gain a deeper understanding.”
Adrina has two favorite spots- one is the loading area for the Bart station. She says, “it is filled with incredible diverse people at almost every moment, and it gives me great pleasure to people watch. I also like to feel the wind of the trains coming and blow my hair around and mess it up. It’s simple, but it’s nice. Adrina also likes Mile Rock Beach. She describes how the walk down to the ocean is lush and is an incredibly beautiful wooded area and how serene it is. She says, “when I actually reach the ocean hearing the crash of the waves against the surrounding rocks and giant boulders is beyond calming.”
Something that Adrina has learned in the city is social dynamics. Whether it is figuring out how to present herself in certain parts of the city to learning how to handle people on the streets who appear to be drunk, she is learning the ways of the people and the city. Adrina says, “it has been a eye opening experience to simply learn about the people that fill the streets.”
Tyler is interning at St. Anthony’s Foundation. This is a non-profit organization that works to help with the basic needs of the low income people and families of San Francisco, specifically, the Tenderloin District. Her specific title is a communications and digital media intern. This means that she will take photos of every facet of the organization. She also writes articles on current events or stories of the guests that St. Anthony’s helps. Tyler will then take those stories and post them on their social media sites. She will also walk different volunteers to their perspective sights and give them an overview of the tasks that they will be completing. I asked Tyler how this relates to her major and she said, “With all the writing practice that I’m doing, I get to hear people’s stories and then tell them to everyone else. So it’s my job to make sure that I am portraying the story correctly.”
Tyler’s favorite spot in the city is a random but also specific part of Golden Gate Park. She thought she was the first to discover it, because she likes to climb this specific tree there, but it turns out that everyone knows about it. At least everyone that she has told about that spot to. She still likes it, even though it wasn’t her discovery.
Something that Tyler has learned this semester is how to show people that she cares for them even without having to specifically give them something. I think she gets a lot of this learning from working at her internship, but she says she has found the deeper need inside of people. Tyler says, “just by looking someone in the eye or shaking their hand or calling them by their name, it is showing that I am caring for them, even with the simple things because those make all the difference.”
Heidi is interning at the Institute of International Education. It is a non-profit organization for the state department. One of the major responsibilities that Heidi attends to is arranging professional meetings between international visitors and the businesses that they want to meet from the Bay area. She will meet the visitors and take them to their meetings. She even gets to sit in on some of them, which she says is one of the best parts about the job. She likes how she gets to meet people from all over the world. “Sometimes there are many people from different countries coming in, or just one person. They are coming for business, activism, and law related topics.” This forces Heidi to know and understand the cultural history of San Francisco, and a lot of responsibility is put on her shoulders, but she handles herself well. When I asked her what she liked about that part of the job, she said, ” I get to know the city on a different level. I get to know what San Francisco stands for and what it is all about.”
One of Heidi’s favorite spots in the city is running throughout Golden Gate Park. We are lucky enough to live in a house that is literally located right in the park, so it’s nice to have that beauty right at our fingertips. Heidi also likes running through the Haight and Buena Vista Park up to Twin Peaks. Once you are at the top, you can get a great view of the entire city. “It’s a great vantage point!”
Something Heidi has learned so far on this semester abroad is that we are always learning, especially from the strangers we encounter with everyday. She says,” it teaches you something about humanity and people are always teaching you things about yourself.” Heidi has noticed that she has automatically created a backstory about the strangers she meets, but by being in the city, she gets to see how her assumptions have been both correct or incorrect. She likes learning what people value, and generally, what the city values.
Marshall is the only one in the Clunie House to do a split internship. What this means is that he spends his Mondays and Wednesdays at the California Pacific Medical Center and his Fridays at Made In A Free World (formerly known as Slavery Footprint) a non-profit organization. One internship fits his major while he writes on different social media sites, researches, and learns about copy editing whereas the other internship follows one of his interests. At the medical center, Marshall works in the opthalmology lab, the nuclear medicine lab, the cardiac center lab, the emergency department, and the ambulatory unit. I asked him if he had a favorite internship between the two and he said, “no, it’s really great to have both. They are both really different.”
One of Marshall’s favorite spots in San Francisco is the Bison paddock in Golden Gate Park. If you haven’t seen it before, they might come as a surprise to see these giant and graceful animals. It almost seems out of place, but anything goes in San Francisco. Marshall also said that he loves riding the different bus lines. He said, “different bus lines have different personalities.” Taking the bus is a great way to interact with the people of San Francisco and it makes traveling around the city fun. The 71 bus is his favorite. It runs from Market Street through The Haight. Marshall described the vibrant personalities and scents. He says it’s very stimulating both socially and aromatically.
Something that Marshall has learned so far this semester abroad is how to understand the build environment around us. We read a book called The Space Between by Eric Jacobsen which describes what it means to live in different places and the benefits of new urbanism. Marshall said after reading this book, he now knows how important it is to have access to your neighborhood and to invest time in them.
Our wonderful RD, Maddie Deegan, put together a house Christmas party for all of us to enjoy. Starting the evening off with a gingerbread house competition (minus the gingerbread) we then moved into the dining room to partake in a white elephant gift exchange. Very fun night thanks to Maddie!
Sara, Stephen, and I had the chance to go to a book signing in the haight by Lemony Snicket’s official representative Daniel Handler. Wonderfully curious with a peculiar humor, Daniel Handler was one of the highlights of our semester here.