Everyday has been beautiful. I’m grateful for everything I have.
I’m grateful for my family who have supported me by letting me be who I want to be, and who have given me everything I needed to take my few first steps… And the rest. Even though they’re all in far away places, I still think about them and realize how lucky I am to be where I am because of them.
We have our differences, and that creates tension and conflicts at times, but these are natural for communication and enable us to grow. I love my family and I will stand by them when the need arises.
My friends have also moved closer to me now I’ve come to rely more on them for support. The lines between family and friends have become blurred. I’ve stayed at friends’ places almost everyday since I was without a home.
The first day was in Rotterdam since I had a meeting with the study advisor. I carried my life in my backpacks, and rolled when I could on my longboard. I felt free of the burden of capital that was now behind me, returning the house, the rented car and getting rid of most of the inventory it was carrying. Good riddance I say. I feel relieved of material possesions, although I do realize which possesions are important to me, and have begun to understand more how to deal with my assets; family, as well as personal.
Arriving at my friend’s work felt good. Working at the University as a research assistant, he had a calm space for me to also set some things straight. I talked to the study advisor and she said I needed to talk to the exam board. I sent them an email the next day, so I should hear back from them in a couple of weeks.
After uni, we went to my friend’s house. It’s a quiet neighborhood in the south of Rotterdam and I experienced what it was like to live a life there for a day. I walked straight into the garden and started analyzing the space; I saw potential everywhere. I felt very in tune with my client’s needs, realizing their dogs were an important element to design into the space. I also realized that sometimes they didn’t know what they wanted, but putting a permaculture lens on the situation, I could very well see what could work. I didn’t have tools, but was sure I’d be back to put time into the space.
After spending a night, I packed my gear and headed to my grandparents where I’d spend the night. On the way there, I studied in different places, and spent some time with longboarders tricking in front of the Rotterdam Pathé cinema. They were all fairly green. I realize that I now have 4, almost 5 years of experience logboarding… So even my longboard tricks were a few leagues up par with these guys. It was fun being able to show these guys some new things and what was possible… Some didn’t think their boards were slideable, so gave them to me for testing. It’s funny to watch them in awe, all in the name of having some fun😁
The train ride there was also interesting. I met a lady who played in the Dutch women’s national cricket team. It was interesting to talk to her since we had a lot in common, although she was unfamiliar with permaculture. I only asked her name. Maybe I should look her up 😏
I also met someone who just came back from couchsurfing in Europe; city to city mostly, and we briefly conmected on the idea of WWOOFing before I got out of my stop.
Staying at my grandparent’s is always quite pleasant. There’s a certain system you need to learn, but once you’ve understood their way, its easy to get around with them. I was playing saxophone in the attic when the doorbell rang. I stopped playing and listened, expecting it had something to do with the music since it was quite loud. I heard voices which complimented the music, so I clambered down the stairs to meet them. I was delighted to meet the neighbours from 2 doors down who dropped their forks, spoons and kids to find out where the music was coming from. I was deeply humbled by their support of what I was doing and felt proud to be able to bring people together with my music. I played music until the kids next door had to sleep, then worked behind my laptop until my inbox was in check, and went to sleep.
The next day I travelled and studied again, making my way for an ACTA Garden club dinner at one of the gardener’s house. The beekeeper’s house to be exact. A man with a Zen philosophy, and an acute awareness of his existence in the present and our interconnectedness as a human species.
We had planned the dinner to discuss the fate of our garden, but me and the beekeeper’s apprentice lingered on to listen to the Master beekeeper speak, whilst enjoying a mouthwatering dessert which took 5 hours to make, and a few seconds to eat. I also got the chance to tell my own story and left the house way past midnight with the apprentice as I was offered a place to stay there.
It was a cool ride since I was longboarding and she was biking. Exploring her home was also interesting because of the space she had, living “anti-kraak”. We talked further into the night and I looked forward to seeing everything in the morning.
Glad to be able to linger in bed, I got out slow and took a refreshing shower. I organized my things and met her on the rooftop terrace for breakfast and coffee. The sun was shining and we continued conversing.
Since it was a garden day, we both got ready for it and made our way there: me with my longboard and backpacks; her with her bike, spotting the looks I was getting from passerbys: kids with dropped jaws; me with a rush of dopamine carving into roundabouts and corners. This is worth living for.
Arriving at the garden, I got to work straight away. I organized some keys and got back for a tea meeting about actions for the day. I paved my own project, and checked the progress of my fellow gardeners.
I had a long day at the garden since that night, I slept at the garden for the second time. I improved some things that were improveable from last time, and remembered to bring earplugs. I slept like a charm.
The next day, I had an opportunity to do some garden work in exchange for a garden grown lunch and a gift card for a bookstore. I was tasked to make a compost bin and help evaluate their current system. That was fun since I had help from one of the resident volunteers. We worked inside, avoiding the rain, although the sun started shining once I finished the job.
I skated just over 7km to where Patrick lives and where I was offered a medium term stay: the Jordaan neighborhood in Amsterdam. I’m writing this there now.
I love it here. The house. The neighborhood. It’s everything I need right now. It seems like this is exactly where I need to be. I’m able to help Patrick set up his living space and working closely with him allows extensive communication on topics which also directly/indirectly affect our SeedSavers NL initiative. I’m about to spend my second night here and am starting to get more comfortable in this new enviroment. There’s a lot I can do and I feel this is definitely part of throwing myself into the Permaculture world.
My love for my environment goes above all. Take the bad with the good, and seek to better yourself towards the world by creating real change. Mould your environment into what you want it to be. Take an active part in life, and test your voice against the sound of silence. Express your body like you express your life. Stretch. Stay flexible. Reach the edge of your comfort zone; it’s where the magic happens.