I've been playing with my reality.
This last microcosm of lives lived, and skin shed took a full 20 days.
We sprinted out the last five days to our winter break. I caught by breath on my pillow and slept in for the first time in weeks. Kalani and I held hands as we drove our friends to airports and train stations. Waving good bye, we wished them luck as some were only taking their first gasps of reality since the start of YIP. We arrive home to each other, light candles and wonder at our silence, reacquainting ourselves with just two instead of 20. I buy a notebook to write notes of fear to myself, words that are too bitter even for my mouth, and we find a new rhythm in foggy days and evenings filled in warm light.
We are housesitting in the little house of The Famers and taking care of their Miss. Kitty. Kalani meditates and I write, and all you can hear is the scratching of my brand new pens, and Miss. Kitty's paws. On Christmas Eve we journey into the woods with a crowd of Jarna locals. Everyone carries a beautiful lantern with a candle tucked inside, and we slowly maneuver over rocks and roots until we arrive at a huge Pine tree. A few kind people tie food onto the branches for the birds and deer, and then the group separates into two distinct sides. Facing each other the singing begins and I am overwhelmed by this beauty. It's a simple pleasure out here in these woods.
We celebrate Christmas with no snow, sitting ironically under The Farmers big potted hibiscus plant illuminated by a Menorah, and laugh at the silliness of it all. This is also simple and I am warmed everywhere, but I can't help but miss my family. We are both a tad heart sick for our home and even indulge ourselves a little by watching youtube videos of Maui. We know every street in every shot, and when I crawl into bed and hear the rain it almost feels like Huelo.
We face each other and speak our bitter truths, that are sometimes ugly but always necessary. We decide to air out our shared space and open all the doors, even the invisible ones. We decide not to go home.
Our friends slowly trickle back with tales of family time and a few with also the same decision of ours.
Where, How, After? The questions are not ours alone, nor original, but it doesn't make them less. All we can do is live it out, and so we do. Release.
Uncertainty makes us forget us, but only for a blink that feels like a year. When we open our eyes we are staring into each other and our hands feel for the others. Release. Comfort. We hold on here and I wish I could run through the fog and jump into our bed at home and draw the curtains and hold on there, but the doors are open and neither of us move to close them.
For New Years we get all city dressed up and make our way to Stockholm. It's much colder than Jarna and our small group shivers through the streets making our way to the given address. Our connection is a Hawai'i girl from Oahu, and I am so thankful to be able to shout a stream of words to her over the music. Our conversation is without any need for explanation or context, and I am immediately at ease. We count down over over the water, high up on a bridge with the city on either side. The view is tremendous and the fireworks increase with our pulse and my first moment of 2014 is filled with awe over this life. These lives. I can never know, and again there is the Release.
The next few days become increasingly louder as the rest of our group arrives, and late night arrivals and conversations fill the hallways. After our short break from each other the greetings are tender and joyful. My fellow Yippies feel like my siblings as we play board games and eat way to much ice cream. I love my comrades.
On Monday we begin to part ways again, this time within smaller formed groups, and we are waving good-bye. Internships have begun and we trade notes filled with love and encouragement for each others journey's. Big goals, big dreams are happening now and I can see the wonder in eyes during the final rushes out the door. Kalani's group leaves last, yesterday, to the Philippines. We hold hands and kiss and when we Release we are steady.
The International Youth Initiative Program
I am a Yippie class of 2013/2014. These are findings, thoughts and captured moments of mine from here in Jarna, Sweden.