Two days before everyone left, we played a silly little series of games. Two of the very creative residents came up with an obstacle course (incorporating activities we do frequently: hand sawing wood, mulching, eating watermelon, etc.), a scavenger hunt, egg toss, frisbee target shoot, and a blindfolded dizzy walk. Hilarious and a lot of fun.
- kitchen stuff:
- making non-loaf breads by hand (pita bread perfection, tortillas)
- first time making a quiche
- working with beets (they're so great; how did I not know about them?!)
- working with eggplant (likewise!)
- baking and cooking without a recipe (definitely not new) but with a general idea of what I want the end product to be (definitely new!)
- design (especially the composting toilet project)
- intermediate carpentry
- first time doing any sort of masonry
- earth/ mud construction (earth oven)
- new backcountry recipes (i.e. vermicelli with dried tofu, seaweed, shitake, peas, and soup mix)
- very lightweight entertainment (yahtzee and iPod--never used either in the backcountry before!)
- more experience hiking on very unstable scree
- general thoughts and specific details on how I want to live my life back home in Upstate New York
- remembering why I left in the first place--to find out what's really important--making small steps in that direction
- more observations about people, animals and the earth, and the general nature of things
Believe it or not, it took me a few weeks to get accustomed to not going to an office every day, not being constantly stressed out, not eating processed foods, not staying up late, not sleeping inside, and all of the other maybe-not-so-positive-but-not-bad-enough-to-kill-you things I used to do to myself. I don't feel like I was totally awake over the past seven weeks. Even though I haven't left yet, I'm really eager to come back to Tuateawa to realize my full potential here during June and beyond.
Dave and I are sticking around for another week while the program admin is out of town to watch the dogs. I never used to like dogs, but I really like Evie and Ninya, and I can't wait to play with them all week!
We'll be setting up the van to be our temporary home for the next five weeks. Who knows where we'll end up during April and May!