Toucans, hammer frogs and tapioca

After a 23 hour ride we arrived in Florianópolis and before going to our next workaway we booked an Airbnb for two nights to have some time for ourselves and to hard core relax after the long bus ride. We didn’t do too much once we got to Florianópolis. We enjoyed the swimmingpool, strolled around and enjoyed some good vegan food.
We learned about Infreenity community at our previous workaway. The group that started Infreenity was a group of volunteers that were there before us. Upon arriving at Infreenity community we stared at a small opening into a wall of jungle. We decided to wait for a little bit since the path didn’t quite bring us to the site. A neighbour came out and started talking to us. The thing with Portuguese is when you see it written down it kinda looks like Spanish but when they speak it, it is a whole different story. So we tried to explain to the lady we were merely waiting but she kept on talking and talking. ‘No entiendo’ and trying to use body language to get our point across, it all did not make a difference… At some point we heard noises coming from the jungle and that is when we met Satya and Miquel!
They brought us to the site and there we met Leela and Hien as well. Oh man, our month there was a real good one. We really had a very good time. We cleared lots of land, the guys constructed a tube for running water from the stream so we didn’t have to get it with buckets anymore, Tom built a compost structure together with Miquel, I often cooked together with Hien (as well as at Source Temple as at Infreenity we cooked rice and beans everyday and I got to love it so much. It is like the perfect combo taste wise and satisfaction wise) a shower was built and even if I say so myself Leela and I created an awesome entrance! All of us had a love-hate relationship with the ‘fucking vines’. (That’s what we ended up calling them.) They literally were everywhere and they slowly over time kill all the trees. Clearing land meant pulling and pulling the endless vines out. But truly you can create some really cool stuff with those ‘fucking vines’ as well. On a complete side note throughout Brazil I got to know tapioca. I made a promise to myself to indulge myself into eating this and at Infreenity I did.
But apart from the work because that is such a small portion of our experience there, we had bonfires, music was being played (Hien I miss your beautiful voice!) and boardgames were played by a selfmade oil lamp. Along with that Miquel taught Tom and I the basic (but like basic-basic) steps of the salsa and when I showed Tom a YouTube video of the samba his mouth seriously dropped open! We decided that the samba is next level! And we saw one extremely big spider like serious tarantula size, Tom seeing a poisinous coral snake and all of us being haunted by caterpillars that leave a burn like feeling on your skin thanks to their ‘hair’. 

The island is beautiful. It is gorgeous. We took a hike and the views were amazing. A boat trip across Lagoa da Conceicão, spending time at the beach… spotting toucans might be my most precious memory. For some reason birds in general scare and fascinate me. One time, in the morning at around 7AM I was sitting outside by myself and a toucan landed in a tree that was very near me. I could see it so clearly. That, to me, is what traveling is, living in the moment. Realizing we only have now. Those memories I want to remember forever.
For me, personally, looking back now my time there stands for going back to basic and realizing how much I missed it and feeling it in my heart when it comes to knowing how little I need. We slept in a tent and falling asleep to the sound of hammer frogs (that is not really their name but that’s what we ended up calling them because the frogs truly make a hammering like noise in the middle of the night), waking up to the birds sing, there is hardly anything that can settle my heart more. There is such reassurance in nature. The simplicity of washing our laundry by hand, a compost toilet, cold showers, no electricity so no wifi and light makes space for lots of talks, enjoying what you already have and being aware of how grateful I am. I realized I am slowly finding my way spiritually. Chakras, yoga, praying to something external from us, or praying to something above, outside this world that’s simply not me. Deep from within I feel like that is something my innerself is saying no to. And it is a process, I am slowly learning what feels exactly right to me. For a little while I thought maybe in this phase of my life I am feeling less spiritual and I learned that’s not the case. But the spiritual way we get ‘sagurated’ with in Europe and even what I have seen so far in the places where we have been here, that is something I cannot find myself in.
When it got to be November 9th I realized my grandmother passed away 3 years ago and it was in such big contrast with hearing the news of Trump being elected through text message. What I remember thinking was ‘What the actual fuck?!’ And that I wanted to punch something. Not because I was feeling agressive but because there was such an unsettled force of energy within me. That night I was sad for the world. It also unsettled me, above all it told me how much people are not believing all of anything anymore. That people are grasping at someone saying such outrageous things and he still seems like the better option, that has got to tell us something.

I hope the world is willing to be ready for change, the whole Trump thing aside. 

One thought I am still trying to look at from all sides is, how at all the places we have been thus far, the people tend to live in their own created world. The outside world is almost left aside. I have been battling with that. To not talk politics, the system, poverty (the list is endless) to me feels like a cheap betrayal to humanity. The two words I have heard that create conflict in my mind are ‘our reality’. I am not quite sure yet if I think either we all should start creating our own reality from a completely different place we have thus far known. Or instead of looking at it as not our reality to realize we are all responsible for tackling this world, this reality most people still believe in.
It seems to me that to abandon this world completely, (the one which most people (still) know as the reality) is (for me) creating more walls and I believe what we need right now are bridges, a fuck load of them. 

I feel a great responsibilty to the world, to humanity. To people living in lesser conditions. How can we turn away from that? Put it aside. I was merely luckily of where I was born. We are all so very much connected and we have to, we need to come together. To force this energy to change. We all as a mass need to be heard, together. 

So, yes that is where I will leave it for now I think. I will for ever remember this; eye openers, other mindsets, nature and new spaces to grow.
(Pictured above, a drawing Hien made of me.)

Gepubliceerd door IJsselvrouw

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