The Dexter House

Convivial (kənˈvivyəl)
1.) (of an atmosphere or event) friendly, lively and enjoyable.
-from the Latin con (with) and vivere (living), literally meaning fit for a feast; festive.

I still remember my first morning in the Dexter House this past August. Despite an overwhelming and exhausting day of moving everything out of my apartment in Beverly, driving 15 minutes, and then moving everything again back into Dexter, I found myself waking that next morning to the 6 am sunshine shedding light through my bedroom window. I looked out at the tall pine trees lined against the blue summer sky, and was filled with joy and gratitude. For three months I felt like I had to fight for my happiness, to fight for my community. But within the course of 24 hours I transitioned into a house where I was now surrounded by a community of twelve people I loved, and quickly learned, loved me in return. It was so exciting and wonderful that I couldn't sleep.

It was three years ago when I first visited Gordon College. I went on a tour, where I heard of La Vida for the first time (which I was convinced I would not do), I admired the chapel's elegant steeple and many chandeliers, and met up with a Gordon student, who was also one of my friends from home, Melissa Sakow. Melissa was a junior English major in the Elijah Project at the time (sound familiar?). At the end of the day she brought me back to the Dexter House to hang out with other people from her group. We considered grabbing blankets with thermoses of hot cocoa and walking to the beach, but instead we gathered around in the living room and talked. The conversation ranged from our celebrity look-alikes to strange talents/things about ourselves (did you know that my one pinky finger is noticeably longer than the other?). As the night went on, we also discussed deep questions and topics, listening to each other's perspectives. I say "we," but mostly I sat back and observed, soaking in that convivial community.

That night I felt at home. The combination of being in a warm house full of good conversations and laughter, smelling the pine trees from the parking lot remind me of nostalgic camp days, and the extraordinary people I met all confirmed it: Gordon was where I wanted to go to college.
Now, here I am again. Melissa's room in which I spent my first night at Gordon became Theresa's room, then Sarah's, and now currently Monica's, as each new group, new legacy, has passed through. Now, here I am, gathering in the living room laughing and talking with my own convivial house of people. I am feasting on the good dialogue, community, and positive interactions I am having with a group that I whole heartedly love and call my family. The Dexter House is not merely fun or enjoyable; it is a place where I am thriving and growing as I spend more and more time here. My heart is full of gratitude, overwhelmed with the joyous idea that I have only been here one month, and that I have many more months left to enjoy the vibrant, life-giving community that makes the Dexter House so special.


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