Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Previous Life

Sometimes when I am not sure how I feel about where I am I try to put myself somewhere I have already been. I was laying here - feeling confused with the present state of my self and the world, when I went back to The Czech- Kostelecke Horky to be exact. And I was thinking about the campfire ring. Outside of the old school house where the offices were upstairs and we slept and cooked downstairs, we had a fire pit. We used it for practical purposes: getting rid of debris we'd cleared, cooking dinner (mmmm... potatoes), and sitting by it at night. We'd watch the stars come out, with Kozels in our hands.

The time was slow in the Czech. During our breaks I would sit and time didn't really exist. We would drink some tea, use the restroom if needed, and then sit for a bit. When we were ready, we went back to cutting fire wood or pulling weeds. Some things had to be done: the goats had to go inside before it was dark and the chickens needed to be fed. Other than that, things could be done, and were done, but there was no unnecessary pressure. Of course, the animals were more Henrike's (and the other long-term volunteers when they arrived) job, but I was given the chance to help once or twice.

I had a lot of time to just sit while at the volunteer work camp. There weren't too many things to do. You had to go to the next village down to find a pub. You had to travel a couple villages to get to the store. When you have less things with you, there are less things to worry about. You have a book, you read it. You only have what you can manage. Why would you need more? When you weren't reading or writing you could play a game with some of the other volunteers. We all taught each other different card and board games we knew. Many of the games weren't terribly different from Korea to Ukraine, but it was always fun to learn. When I was tired of socializing and was done journaling, I could just lay outside. The weather was nice for majority of my time in Czech. I would lay outside and it was okay to get dirty. The ground was there to lay on.

Sometimes I watched snails. Snail-watching was one of my favorite things. There were snails in the garden by the school and they were wonderful, wonderful snails. They were so curious and so attentive to every detail. I always knew I'd like snail watching, but haven't had the chance in the recent past. I often felt connected to the Earth in The Czech. I even saw my first (to memory) wild, long-eared hares one morning while running. Who knew they were so tall?

I miss camp fires and Korean rice (Although they were not often together). I miss goats and crowded trains. I miss campfires, turtles, new friends, and snails. I miss walking through fields and meeting people who communicate, regardless of your language.

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