|Finding My Footing|
|Finding My Footing|
|Written by Lee Ann Monat|
|Friday, 15 June 2012 05:51|
I think one of the challenges when coming into a group as a new person is to find your place...or rather to figure out who you are within it. I felt the urge to alter or be "something" in the beginning. Sort of like when I was a freshman in college and looking for a group to belong to.
Fortunately...with my years has come experience and I was finally able to step back and see that I can be who I am within the already established group and sort of slowly melt in. A week in and things feel much more cohesive. I really enjoy the community atmosphere. Having tea and chatting in the common room etc. Maybe there will come a day when I don't but for now, after years of living by myself in the city, it's great. I didn't get the same vibe when I was in college. I was also much more to myself and shy of strangers then. I don't know if I could have done this when I was younger. I've actually been thinking about that a lot this week. As much as I sometimes regret not finding this path earlier...I would not have been ready for it then. The whole idea would have terrified me.
I really like working in the kitchen. The other day I was going into the grain closet to get some flour and had a small moment of immense joy. Something as simple as doing that made me indescribably happy. There's such a feeling of accomplishment cooking for everyone...and the group effort of it all. I also like that I am not responsible for every task...it lifts the burden of feeling alone (like when I had to take care of everything in my apartment...laundry, cooking, dishes, etc). Working together and sharing meals...sharing chores increases the sense that everyone matters. There is a tone here that I am still sliding into, after years of a sort of disconnection. It is a welcome change.
Two moments from this week stick out in my head, amongst the many others of laughter and sharing of stories:
There was a lovely couple sitting next to me on their first evening here. I was VERY new and not sure what my roll was at our table. I, admittedly, felt overwhelmed. After revealing this they helped me out with the odd word of encouragement and advice. I ran into the woman the next day on my way towards the nunnery and we waved and smiled like old friends. She was having a hard time breaking up a bit of chocolate, so I offered to help her break it. We had a nice little chat and she gave me some of the chocolate.
The other was when I got stuck in a sneezing fit on my way to the store, without a tissue (I apparently have the cold everyone eventually gets when working here). I popped into the public bathroom near the jetty to find one and wash my hands. There was a lady in there whom I laughingly explained my problem to, and as I was washing my hands she tucked a small packet of tissues in my pocket saying she had more in her car.
My New York life feels very far away already.
This is the view from my room