Posts Tagged ‘Planning’

It’s Monday morning, last Tuesday Mirra left, the next day my sister Katie left with her family, I cleaned my house and packed the following two days and then said good bye to Conner James Sam and Cirrus, followed by Saori and Gwendolyn yesterday. I am exhausted. I am taking off Wednesday with 11 others to Hawaii, we’re taking the kids to get some sun for ten days. I will say good bye to them there, and spend another ten days in Hawaii with my friends Hannah, Andrew and there two kids Nathan and Adresa. Then I am off to Falmouth to meet up with Gwendolyn and Mirra.

When we get to Falmouth we are going to be pretty busy trying to find jobs,  planning our trip and contacting communities, and I want to slip in a trip to Maine to pick some seaweed, and a trip to NYC to see my brothers/sister John, Lauden and Jane, and my friend Andrew. There never seems to be enough time in my day anymore, speaking of which I gotta do more packing.




It’s been a rough week; I’ve been saying goodbye to people everyday. On Wednesday Alex and I drove his sister Katie and her family to the airport in Anchorage; they’re planning on taking a road trip across the lower 48. It was pretty emotional for us all; for Alex, of course, and for me too, despite how short a time I’ve known them. I got pretty close to Katie, her husband and her two sons during the year I was here and the idea that we’re not going to see each other for a while is pretty hard. Especially her baby, Mathis; I was there when he was born and I’ve helped take care of him a lot. There’s something strangely magical about little babies. Seeing his smile was so amazing, no matter how much time I spent with him.

Anyways, Connor, James, Sam and Cirrus are leaving tomorrow, which is just as heartbreaking, and then I’m off to the conference the day after. I’m seriously thinking of ditching it so Alex and I will have more time to clean the house and I’ll have more time to spend with the children, but I’m supposed to do this stand up comedy thing (unfortunately I’ve got laryngitis, so hopefully that will clear up), so I guess I won’t. Anyways, I have to say goodbye to them at some point, and I’m going to see Alex in three weeks.

Work on the project is pretty much at a stand still. Mirra doesn’t have much access to internet in Wisconsin and we’re pretty busy. Alex and Mirra need to get their applications into Dancing Rabbit as soon as they can; hopefully they’ll both remember to do it soon. Meanwhile I’ve got tons of things to do; packing and cleaning, but mostly spending time with the people I hate saying goodbye to.


Break up

In Alaska the end of March and the beginning of April means break up; five months build up of snow and ice begins to melt, turning the world into a slushy-muddy-puddly mire. There’s so much slush and mud on our roads that Alex got our truck, a massive six wheeled dump truck, stuck in the road last night. It rained yesterday too, turning to snow in the evening.

It’s break up for us too; Mirra left early this morning. She’s going to be in Wisconsin for a while, then in Boston and New York before we meet up again in Boston in a month. Last night we hung out together, Alex, Mirra, and I, Katie and Claire and the boys, and it was so sad and happy at the same time, as if, Katie said, we were graduating school and moving on to our adventures. We went for a walk in the twilight, in the snow, all the way down Burdock, and when we got back just hung out near the porch, not wanting to go inside and have the energy we felt between us dissipate.

Mirra’s real broken up to be leaving and I am too. I feel so connected to everyone here that it’s hard to think about leaving. Alex asked me this morning if I thought we could make a community as cool as Ionia and I don’t know if it would be possible. Despite all the reasons Ionia isn’t somewhere where we want to spend our lives, it is an amazingly wonderful place.

Alex and I have a list of thing we have to do before I have to leave for the conference. It looks small and simple but so many of the things on it: pack, clean, move, are huge. Not just because of the time crunch- we have three days- but because it’s the end of this very small part of our lives. Living in this house with Alex (and sometimes Saori) has been really great, and even though I’m so excited to be starting my adventure, I’m also sad to be leaving it. But I’m so much happier to be leaving it this way than Alex just moving to Hawaii and me moving into the Longhouse, no future in sight.

Enough about farewells; Alex and I are in the middle of writing to Koinonia, this super amazing community in Georgia, one that’s been around I think almost seventy or eighty years and has faced persecution and has prevailed. So we’re really hoping to go there and get a good look at what they’ve done and how they’re doing. We’ve got a basic plan for the fall, and are sketching in the winter. Sometimes everything comes together so well I wonder if there might be some sort of destiny at work, which is kind of awkward because I don’t belive in destiny.


zero to sixty

picture by Claire

Enjoying my cake

Luckily the cake didn’t make Alex or I more sick. Unluckily, Mirra succumbed. The uneaten portion of her cake is sitting untended in the mudroom and I’m contemplating it.

Suddenly, busy-ness came upon us. The macrobiotic course started- and it’s awesome- but it’s like we went from not zero, since we were already a little slammed with everything we have to do for this project, but maybe twenty to sixty. The course is all day, everyday, with evenings free, but no other time to do household chores, etc. So the dishes are piling up and the compost bucket is full and I’m trying to work myself up to doing one or both of them.

We’re thinking about taking a hiatus on walkabout stuff until we meet again in Falmouth- Mirra is leaving the day after the course ends and then I’m going to the conference and then Alex is leaving. And meantime we all have to pack and Alex and I have to clean the house that *sob* we’re leaving. I love the peace of the house, the quiet evenings we spend here, the impromptu dinner parties. The large bed in the living room (for hanging out on) the map on the coffee table reminding us of our adventure.

None of this would have happened if I hadn’t made cake with Cirrus one day; I invited Saori to my corner to have some, and then Alex came with her and I gave him a piece and we were talking and he mentioned he was thinking of moving into a cabin and I said I was too and we decided to move in together. And then, suddenly, Alex is one of my best friends and we’re talking and this idea falls out and changes the way I think about my life. And now we’re talking about spending well over a year- maybe two years- together, first working for the trip and then the trip and then writing the book afterwards (with Mirra too, of course) and I’m thinking ‘how did this happen? We were hardly even friends three months ago. Alex (and Pavel) picked me up from the airport when I arrived at Ionia. I remember him, so long and thin, carrying my luggage up the stairs in the hotel. It’s strange how in your memories of people before they are really your friends and in those you form after it’s almost as if you’re thinking about two different people. Ten months ago Alex and I didn’t really get along- ten months ago Mirra and I didn’t really like each other. And now we’re planning this trip. Now, when I’m upset I go looking for one or both of them. It’s crazy. It’s amazing.

I don’t know if it’s all communities, but at Ionia there is a undercurrent of love that sweeps under all of us. I love almost everyone at Ionia- certainly everyone I know well. Sometimes we cuddle on one of the couches, a big pile of us, teenagers and adults and children reaffirming that we’re there for each other. Or when we clean up and everyone’s singing along with the music, moving with so much energy through the kitchen, or when we’re just talking around the tempcast and I think: how could I leave this? I’m not really a social person. My social I.Q. is at around seventy. But I’ve figured out, over the course of my life, that I’m never going to make it alone. So I don’t know what I would do without Alex and Mirra- and I don’t know what I would have done if we’d never come up with this. Because it tears me up to leave- Connor and Sammy and Claire and Saori and Katie and the baby and Juliet and Eliza and Rosie and Ellen and everyone, a little hole for each of them- it tears me up when people leave and when I leave and if I wasn’t bringing some of Ionia with me- if Mirra and Alex weren’t bringing Ionia to me- then I don’t know what I would do.


Dreams and Cake!

Mine and Gwendolyns Cake

So I’ve been sick for five days now, and from day one I was dreaming about Carob Almond Cake! Finally I got my wish! I broke down last night and decided I would not be sick today, (if only it worked like that, right?) I hope the cake doesn’t keep me sick for another five days.

Yesterday, I got a huge wave of panic/depression because I’m leaving my home in a little bit, always a scary and sad prospect. It started when me, my sister Katie and my Mom were talking about what was going to happen with the house that I live in, the same one that my siblings and I grew up in.  I realized I was going to say goodbye to it and I don’t know when I will see it again, and then I realized the same was true for my family and community. So sad. I needed to get out of this sad train of thought, so I started looking at intentional communities with Gwendolyn and Mirra. As we were reading about them I tried to imagine each one and what it would be like. How do they deal with money? What do they do for food? How do they handle children and schooling? Etc, etc, etc. Then I started to get really excited! I get to see all these REALLY different ways in which communities handle these things! I get to see this huge and beautiful country! Meet tons of new people! It is truly a dream come true!


Sickness, soup and stuff.

It’s been a rough few days. First Alex got sick- some sort of congestion-cough-laryngitis-lung thing- and then I did, of course, because we live together and spend so much time together. So we’ve spent the last few days hanging out and not doing much (well, I have; Alex did firewood for the house, which was a bad idea because it made him sicker but a good idea because we’re warmer, at least). Alex has also been cooking for us, because he thinks that the Longhouse meals are bad for his condition (too much oil, not enough soft rice). The upside? I had no idea he was such a good cook. He makes these amazing soups and even his soft rice (not my favorite food) is appealing. I keep half-heartedly volunteering to cook for us and am always happy when he says he wants to. (I do have my upsides; I’m a pretty good baker.)

In other news we’ve heard back from two communities, both positive, and we’re slogging through the lists of intentional communities on (1882 in the US). We’ve decided to focus mainly on village-type communities, though there have been others that have caught our eye. Only nine or so days until Mirra leaves- she’s really sad about leaving Ionia and all her (or most of her) friends behind. And those nine days are going to be packed- there are still things we have to do together, plus Ionia is hosting an intensive, five day macrobiotic course in a few days, plus all the treats we’ve been wanting to make but haven’t been able to because of being sick. (Pancakes and cake, mainly.) And packing.

And I just bought my plane-ticket. I’m leaving for Boston on the twenty-fourth; I’m going to arrive about a week earlier than the others so I can rearrange the room we’re going to be staying in (I left a lot of junk there) and so I can spend some quality time with my mom. And, of course, start looking for jobs. I’m going to be sad about leaving too, I think, once it really hits. Right now I’m really carried away in this project and so many other people are leaving Ionia before me. But it’s not just the people; it’s the place and the ethics, and the way it surrounds you. And the little house Alex and I have been living in for almost three months, and the fact that you can look outside and watch a moose wandering past, and two amazingly good meals cooked everyday, and folkdancing, and full moon, and the little children, and the homemade clothes and everything. I’m definitely going to be a little bit heartbroken about leaving.

But I always am. I’ve started to think that when you leave little bits of your heart behind you then it actually gets bigger.


New Communities

i can’t believe how many communities there are! i had no idea until we started looking at there are a thousand or so intentional communities in the states alone. i guess a lot of them are just getting started or not even formed yet, but still, we are finding out that we have to be very picky about the ones we choose to visit. every day in our searching we find at least one gem of a community. today we were searching Georgia and found Koinonia which is not only 70 years old but also founded Habitat For Humanity. it seems like it’s been through some very real things in its lifetime.  and we thought it was cool that its name was so similar to Ionia, the community we live in now.

we sent letters to six communities today asking about visiting which feels like an accomplishment, although, considering the vast amount of communities we are and will be wanting to contact, it is only a little ding in the work we will be doing. we also started a map of communities and resources. it’s going to be quite a challenge to make some kind of plan of travel what with all the timing between when the communities can have us, which ones we want to be at for harvest, and where we are in the country at any given time.  maps and calenders… lists of communities, lists of  things to do… Gwendolyn and Alex. these are the things that surround me in my life now.