New Home

Last night we got home, sat around the fire and opened mail from my family. Beautiful article about Ms. St. Amand’s book.

Found Jess in bed later with pretzels and nutella. Dre joined and we moved to the fire.

Played Monopoly later as a gesture to cooperation. I thought I’d give it a chance again, but remembered exactly why I hate that game. No one leaves the table in a good mood, and it turns people into monsters.

Still, sitting around a fire playing Monopoly and eating burritos and carrots and drinking coffee with comfy socks and clothes on with fun company- pretty good life.

Talked to Ben yesterday. He said it’s like we’ve been on different pages for the past few months. I said yeah, I think it’s because we’re both not sure how we feel ourselves, so it’s hard to understand how another person feels. Or add your take to a conversation when you don’t even have enough time to have your own thoughts.

So we’re both working on that.

Yesterday after Silverton, we stopped in Salem for groceries. Well, the other team did. Jess, Dre and I went next door to “Thai Beer” and talked loudly about subjects that are usually whispered.

I did not have any beer. I had orange juice that was sickly sweet. But I was proud of myself. You can’t say I’m not doing me right now.

Last night before I went to bed, I got my life together. I was the last one up, and completely cleaned up my life. It felt so amazing. So different to have an organized space to fall asleep in.

The way the room is set up- I don’t know if I’ve explained this yet.

There are girls against one wall, guys against the opposite wall. With about 5 feet in between the feet of the two sexes. And that is where mine and Jess’s beds are. Along with George and Alex’s.

We walked into our new home, and almost all the spots were gone. We looked at the lone beds in the center of the room, and we were like, yeah, that’s about right.

So I don’t have anyone snoring in my face, or rolling over into my bed. I also have infinite space to store my stuff- all the walking room. And up until now everyone has had to trip over my shit because I couldn’t contain it.

So I finally got it contained. And it feels great. And I’m sure all the girls are happy they don’t have to trip over shit every morning when they wake up.

This morning I woke up around 9:30 in my nice warm sleeping bag, on my little mat on the floor. My world map blanket spread out above me. Thank you, Grandma. Everyone loves my blanket map. We spend nights with a flashlight staring at the world, and imagining life outside of our cabin.

I roll out of bed, and throw on some clothes and deodorant. I’ve stopped worrying about getting dressed in the bathroom, all privacy issues have gone out the window at this point and time. I’m entirely comfortable doing everything in front of twenty other people. Not that I wasn’t before- I’ve always been somewhat of an exhibitionist. I love my limelight like any aspiring writer.

I head to the kitchen next, and contemplate what I want to make. Eggs and potatoes? Potatoes take too long. Let’s go for burritos again.

I fry some eggs on our flattop grill, and toast some torillas.

Then I get a tub of blackbeans and rice out of the fridge, and stuff those tortillas. Add the eggs and a shitton of sriracha sauce, then roll it up and throw it back on the grill until it’s restaurant style.

The only thing missing is salsa. We’re going shopping tomorrow, and two big gallons of salsa will be first on the list if I make it.

I also heat up some tea in a pot, and make green tea. Two teabags, as I hear people coughing in the background. Protect myself with my magic tea powers.

Wash dishes, and then sit down to eat at the table with Jess.

Jess and I get along pretty great in that we can sit in silence for most of the day, and then when either one of us wants to do something particularly outrageous the other one is always down. But most of our time together is spent alone. My favorite kind of friendships. The ones that last. The ones like family. Miss you all my family, and unofficial family out there!

Yesterday D took a lighter to my leatherjacket to see if it was real, and last weekend Jess peed in the middle of the street. The quiet ones are the crazy ones. You’ll get peed on or set on fire before you know it.

So I made tea, sat down with Jess, and jammed out to music while I ate.

Jess is probably the most similar to me on the team. At least in our interaction styles. Jess is mad funny when she wants to be social, but when she’s not feeling it she just doesn’t give a fuck and goes off into her own world.

Carinne is the other girl who I feel very similar to. She is an extrovert, so it’s not as easy to have quiet time around her, but she is also full of art and feeling. And she understands what people around her need, and attempts to give that to them. We had a long conversation last week while planting native wildflowers all alone at the far side of the prairie.

We talked about how some of the people here were having major homesickness issues, and how we just seemed to thrive when we were put in new environments. She said her friends back home call her a wildflower, because she can grow anywhere. And I thought that was beautiful.

We both have really strong connections with our families, and they are our best friends. But we don’t feel the need to stay in one place forever, and we don’t feel like our connections with anyone are threatened by our constant movement. It’s about being present, and sharing these beautiful moments with whoever is around you, and like this you never really long for anything more than what you have. Because you find life to fill you wherever you are at.

We talked about how we don’t feel it’s sad that we only get to know one another for this year, but it is beautiful that we get to experience each other at all, you know? It’s such a gift each time we get to connect with new people, and love and true connection is about experiencing it, and letting it go when it’s time to move. But knowing that real connections are able to pick back up at any point in your life, when your paths cross again.

D is my thinking buddy. D has had a much more rough life than me, and gets in moods when he becomes really open about his past life, and even invites questions. He has been raising him and his younger brothers since he was 12 years old, and he has turned into one of the most caring, and intellectual people I have ever met. We talk about social justice issues a lot, and he’s always very aware of who he’s talking to, and trying to make them feel included. He told me the other night, when we were talking about the Mike Brown case in Ferguson, Mo. about how he has never felt like an equal in this country. How he feels like the system is set up against young black men from how poor neighborhoods are set up and segregated, to how black men get much more notice from police and people in general. He’s been stopped more times than he can count by police, for doing nothing but walking down the street. We started talking about mentor programs the other night, and I think he’s going to start looking into programs for inner city youth. He thinks part of the problem is there are no father figures in poorer communities- and he’d like to be that for upcoming generations. I fully support him in anything he wants to do. I think he’s going to change the world. He tells me he believes as a black man, anything that he does, he has to do much better than the rest of the population to get to the same place. He is the most peaceful person I have ever met. And he is always laughing. I asked him one time why he laughed so much, and he said it was the only way to get through the day. And then he grinned at me. Because he never stops smiling. For all he has seen and learned about the world, I can’t say for sure if I would be the same. I love him. I love all three of the people I have just mentioned. They are my rocks here.




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