In a mere 24 days and 15 hours I start my journey from DIA to Brazil!! But who’s counting right? I am thrilled to be travelling with such an eco-focused program. Although plans for leaving the country have me a little stressed at times, the idea of seeing a tropical waterfall has turned me into a little kid; I keep bouncing around the house and just can’t wait! I have not traveled abroad before and am very excited to be leaving the country to go to such a lush and green area.
I love relaxed outdoor activities like short hikes in the foothills, outdoor yoga, or planting a garden. I am definitely more of a summer person; I love the warm summer nights near the foothills. I am kind of a nerd too. I love Android and other Google products and am a big Doctor Who fan as well.
I currently attend the University of Phoenix in Fort Collins, Colorado. I am going for a bachelor’s degree focusing on business and environmental sustainability. I’m 28 years old and live with my husband of two years. We have a furry family of 2 cats and 2 guinea pigs. I have worked in a call center for the last 7 years. I am a first level admin, monitoring call volume and answering efficiency.
I look forward to meeting all of you creating new friendships through new experiences.
Hello everyone, Sorry for the delay in posting the before and after pics… after compiling all the photos from 4 people’s cameras, I literally had over 2,000 photos to sort through. Ahhh.. so, if you are looking for some photos from the trip, facebook me or email me or something and I can send you some photos. I’ll try to figure out a drop box sharing situation also.
Anyway, here we are… Enjoy!
WOW. we did an awesome job =] Thank you so much everyone for working so hard on this project, you deserve a gold star and a GIANT acai bowl.
Here are some pictures that don’t have a before picture to go with them, they are just too beautiful to leave out..
cutest boy in the world <3
hope you all enjoyed these photos, thanks again and have a wonderful summer!!
Today is our last day at IPEC. I will definitely be sad to leave. Ive had such a positive experience here and met so many amazing people. Im wondering what the transition back home will be like. I’m definitely going to try to keep some of the habits that ive picked up as well as look into different things that i can do in a more urban setting to lead a “greener” life. This program has forevor changed me and i appreciate that alot. It has definitely made me change my mind about what path i would like to take in life. Im so thankful for these experiences so it can help shape me as a person as well as help me to find my place in the world. Traveling to Brazil in a group has taught me alot about myself. As much fun as I had on this trip I cant wait to get home and see the family and friends that i have been missing for the last three weeks.
Things are winding down. We presented our final projects and handed in our journals. I’m really happy with my group’s design. It wasn’t always easy, but we did it and I think it came out great
I can’t believe how quickly these three weeks have gone by. But, at the same time I feel like I’ve grown as if it was three months. I could not have imagined three weeks ago where I would be now. This trip has been more than I could have asked for.
I’m really excited to go apply all that I’ve learned here. And, I have an amazing group of friends to cook things up with. Thank you all for being here with me. It has been the best time of my life. I love you all.
And thank you Lucy, Andre and Laila. You are an inspiration. Can’t want to see you again.
Love Love Love,
The past couple of weeks have been really interesting for me because I have never done anything with permaculture or sustainability. It has been alot of information for me to take in but I’m really enjoying all of it. I love the community action time that we get because it gives us a chance to actually use the methods that we have been learning about. Its also rewarding knowing that its going towards such a hardworking family. Today we finished the cob oven, we made a turtle over the top of it. I love how much creativity your able to put into these designs. I think that alot of time when we are taught to do something we feel as though we need to stay in strict guidelines but permaculture seems to be the opposite.
My favorite lesson so far was about patterns. It was amazing to me how every little thing was related and connected to everything else. I liked the logistical side to permaculture and seeing the science and numbers that goes into it as well. When it is laid out like that it makes so much sense and I can no longer understand why our towns and cities are designed the way that they are. Everything could be so much more efficient and sustainable if we used permaculture. Just by living in these adobe houses you can tell. It is refreshingly cool during the day and warm at night. It is amazing how much money we spend to heat and cool our houses when we can do it naturally for much less money.
I am trying not to acknowledge that we have one week left because if I do then I will feel pressured and try to forcefully gathers all the wonderful experiences and things are just getting sweeter now
Today we had a lesson about animals and permaculture. One thing that was really interesting was how to use animals in you design. I understand rabbits and chickens and their output, but the thing that got me were the use of cows in permaculture. Cows are a miracle because they eat grass all day but produce so much proteins in form of meats and milk that feed the world.They are almost like factories….But I was surprised that people used them in permaculture to rebuild jungles and forest!!! I seen projects where people in spain rehabilitated an entire ecosystem using algae where fish farms use to be, but this time its a COW. No wonder the hindus revered the cow, they are holy animals
I still don’t know what to do for my finally project. I have so many ideas, but I really do want to make a berimbau that I learned how to play in capoeira. Capoeira is the shit! at least for me. I was never really good at sports, but martial arts I was quick to learn. I love the fluid awkward movements and the muscles that you work out. It is also really intimate because it is a dance and a game. You have to keep looking at each others eye, which is the only way to be engaged and not wonder off or hit some one accidentally. I am picking it up pretty fast and I want to learn more, I can’t have enough. Last practice I surprised the master with my unique move that we barely practice. This game is so much fun, I say game because you are not fighting. Just dancing and trying to interject and judge each others moves.Its like Tag or Cat-and-mouse. Also I am getting stronger, flexible, drastically improving my sense of balance , and propiopception which is key in martial arts. Except in martial arts its strict and linear forms, with a good bit of reptition of techniques (which I am down for). I can’t wait to incorporate this attitude of fighting into my sparring sessions
I’ve decided there’s no reason to not look at the stars every night while I’m out here and they’re bright. Last night three of us went out watching stars shoot in long silver spills across the sky and I wish I could write my feelings in to words- the way my body feels when I am laying under them and spinning with them, the power and encouragment and ease they leave within me. We traced the long swirl of milky way with our fingers and noticed sacred patterns repeated over and over in the placement of stars, noticed a red tinted star- what must be another planet. And then at one point, Ruby said, “let’s share a breath.” So we held hands and breathed. I felt their energy, our combined energy, in pinks and oranges- silver stars in the black night hanging over us-and then felt it shift and I thank the universe for teaching me what it means to feel the people around me. And really feel them, not their skin or body but the divinity that their temple of a body holds.
Today we finished making a cob oven- layering the base with cob and then rock and then cob and then rock and so on. On top of that we castled sand in one wide bulge, which will later be removed once the cob, mashed thick over it, dries. I love to make cob- rolling my pant legs up and heeling my feet quickly and forcefully over moist clay and sand and hay, moving in rings over the lump until it is compact, until it is a material that can be used to build. I think of Lucille Ball smashing grapes for wine. If only everything could be made from earth.
I’m weary of snakes when gathering rocks for the walls of the garden and when going to collect chicken wire from the recycling junkyard. I’m determined to see an owl before I leave. I hear their beautifully hoo-ing voices at night. I’m still amazed by the leaf cutter ants and how on my way back to the bunk before bed every night i see them, ants, literally marching 5 X 5 or 7 X 7 and there must be thousands of them, their backs all umbrellaed with yellow leaves or petals. They never stop, or maybe they only begin as earth cools in evening. In no other species have I seen such a communal effort- and all of this is done in silence.
We’ve got just about one week left and I feel there is still so much more to learn and to do and it’s a bit daunting sometimes. In all of my life I don’t think I’ll ever be able to really know and understand all that I want to. These past two weeks, however, have been a great step in gathering more of what I do want to know, of learning how I want to live and what I can do to contribute to the things I believe in.
It’s so weird to think that it’s 3 o’clock back in Colorado, in the middle of the heat, and already 6 o’clock here with mostly dark skies. As their days are getting longer, ours are condensing. A June solstice holds a different meaning down in South America and I feel a bit of nostalgia thinking about what it has meant for me in my previous 21 months of Junes, in the long days my friends and family are having.
Every night I watch the sunset here. Even if I’m busy, not sitting, walking, scurrying, I can still see the amazing colors of the sun’s light and its disappearance through the spaces of silhouette trees. I always find a moment, at least- sometimes close to an hour, to stop and breathe in the sky. Colorado’s western mountain’s don’t offer sunsets like these. And these clear skies and high Cerrado altitudes bring out the milky way in ways I can’t see back home.
Last night, in watching Brazilian sky, I seemed to have been reminded of my place in the universe yet again, and in doing so, the universe itself. And to love. Always to love more- to be a mirror for more love to reflect from and multiply endlessly, weaving between hands and hearts and galaxies. We are vibration.
A shooting star speed through the sky so softly and fiercely and modestly.
Here is a prose poem that I wrote a couple years ago that I was reminded of last night:
A Cosmic Sanction Today I feel more powerful than any day I have ever had in my existence. Today is the day that I am recognizing myself as one intertwined with the universe, swimming in a synchronized matrimony. Today I have felt the universe in no way I had ever known to be feasible. Its matter, its orbits, its beauty. I felt the weight of the universe passionately pressed against my body, penetrating the deepest depths of my psyche. The power of nature has traveled to my internal state of being, a frivolous embracement to my open mind. I make room for expansion, seeding my growth and flowering my compassion.
Today I spread my arms across the emerald grass of this sacred Earth, allowing my mass to mesh with the surface I lay upon. Melting and seeping into the ground, the Earth and I become one, living in duality. Unified by the cosmos.
Today I found my shelter. It is a sanction of vast galactic webs, threading the stars together and encasing our world in its walloping net. It is a place in which I reflect upon the divine with a new expanded awareness. Distilled. Awakened. Transformed. I am hinged to my consciousness, yet it exists independent of my physical self. I am no longer a soul devoid of direction, but an entity endowed with energy and unobstructed vision.
Today I understand what it means to feel and sense our world, grazing it’s formations with our finger tips and seeing beyond conventional sight. Bona fide to the pure consciousness and the eye that is willing to see, there is a grid of imaginary lines that construct concentric spheres. A margin to our world. Infinite yet ambiguous. And correspondent to that border is a film of fixated stars, lingering in tranquility. Seemingly distant, an eternity to space. But distance has no merit as its virtue adheres to a fortifying strength. Among the twilight, our essences become whole. Enriched. Enlightened. Transcendent. Faces lit by the moon and puddles of twinkling luminosity pinned above. We earnestly explore. Devoutly admire the whispers from the trees, the singing of the seas, the stroking of the affectionate breeze. Subsisting in ecstasy. Euphoria we experience and create with no intrinsic limits.
Today I continue in rotation with the perpetual cycle the universe is bound to, whirling in a habitual dance around the sun. As we sail the placid immensity of towering skies, I am able to see that I am conducted from above as an instrument of the universe. I am able to attain my utmost potential through an edified morale. Seeking wisdom and climbing to alternate planes of consciousness.
Today I understand that the nature of the universe is in direct correlation with the free-will that aspires to comprehend it. I have engrossed my third eye upon the internal structure of the universal mind. Detached from abysmßal thoughts. I have felt living to be more authentic when I am rooted to the cosmos; and in this crux I have recognized my placement within this universe as I know it. An interrelated realm of all energies in which we can gaze directly into the face of the divine, feeling with our souls what is not tangible in our touch.
I can’t believe how fast the time is flying by!! Only one week left here at IPEC!! I’ve been really enjoying all of the natural building stuff we’ve been learning and excited to be putting it to use this week as well!
Last week we made a zone 1 design for one of the houses here and started implementing it on Friday. I installed a succulent rock garden, which was right up my ally, I love succulents! Then today we started making the cob oven in the BBQ area. Lots of fun but I think I’ll be dreaming about stomping cob tonight I did so much of it today, haha! I’m very excited to see what the last week brings my way…
After the Brazilians left, us Gringas got a bit lax with cleaning. Lucy got a bit peeved, as she should, and we had a talk. We weren’t doing the simple tasks she had asked of us very well.
We talked about Karma Yoga, a beautiful philosophy that goes by many names. Basically, Karma Yoga asks us to help out whenever we can, even if the mess our problem isn’t “ours”. You aren’t helping for any expectation of reward, just because you feel another human’s need.
Even though you don’t practice Karma Yoga for a reward, it will come back to you times three. The next time you are in need you will find a friendly smile and a warm hand to help you through your struggle.
We can never say that something is not “our” problem. All suffering is everyone’s problem. We are all part of one living earth. If we want to continue, we must help each other.
Copyright © 2013 Living Routes.
All rights reserved.