The experience of time is speeding by at a fast pace. Not only is it 2020, but on January 9th I will have been here for three months already! I still remember that long day of traveling from chilly Indiana to land in Hawaii, and get picked up by a whole van full of volunteers that I would be getting to live and work with. I genuinely thought that I would move down to Hawaii and find time to write a weekly blog about my adventures in life, but there have been a non stop stream of experiences to be had here on the Big Island, as well as I work a lot with my volunteer hours, art work, and socializing. I am here to update you on what I have been experiencing on this new tropical path that I am flowing with!
I have been working 25 hours a week at Dragonfly Ranch in Captain Cook Hawaii, a bed and breakfast as well as a facility for healing sessions, yoga classes, and retreats. The work I have been doing ranges through all sorts of different tasks: making breakfast for guests, cleaning the rooms, gardening, landscaping, painting, and doing laundry. The work is pretty easy to be honest, but my favorites would be the gardening/landscaping and painting hours. I have gotten to do a lot of landscaping and growing vegetables, and painted lots of signs and a mural on the property. There is always something to be done here whether its dust some shelves, do 20 loads of laundry, make celery juice, or pick and wash lillikoi (passion fruit). I got an opportunity to make a mural on one of the old buses that live on this property, used as the manager's office, and got to use the supplies from The Dragonfly as well as got to use the hours of painting as the required volunteer hours.
In exchange for the hours that I work, I get a cute little loft room to stay in that resides at the top of a steep long walk of hill, so I get a good work out on before relaxing in this cute lil Hale. It's a pretty small house, with all of the outer walls being screens, and most of the inner walls are fabric. There are four bedrooms in this lil space, one kitchen, one bathroom, a lil lounge area, and a relaxing outdoor shower. The roommates change everytime we have a volunteer leave and a new one come in. This has been a really interesting experience living with a constant change of people, seeing as I have typically lived with the same roommate(s) for a year-2 at a time. In these three months I have had roommates from Bali, Russia, Spain, California, Prague, Michigan, Argentina, and in the Hale next to me we have had people from France, Belgium, and Oregon. It's been really fun learning the differences in cultures and being exposed to new information coming from other cultures. I have a very small room, but I have managed to make a little space to create artwork out of, and although it might not be very spacious, it is just enough space to comfortably paint. In addition to three other roommates, we have three cats that live in this small home, so there;s always some kind of action happening in here.
Living in a small living space with so many people has brought me back to my memories of my earlier adult years, sharing a three bedroom apartment in Florida with five girls, and also the three bedroom apartment in Indianapolis with four other people... All sorts of conversation happening and finding balance of creating our own space to rest in as well as creating moments of interconnectedness amongst the house hold. I am grateful to have been staying in this small space with multiple beautiful souls ready to learn and grow, but I have learned that I really enjoy living in my own space. I have looked at many other work exchange programs, and a lot of them offer dormitory style housing, which I now know is not my style of living. I would like to consider myself to be a social person and I enjoy others, but when I am home I feel as though it should be time for my self to rest and find stillness, or time to paint in solitude and really be able to focus. There are a lot of distractions that happen in community style housing, which honestly all of the distractions here are really healthy distractions, but I have found it hard to pull myself away and sit down and paint, which is really all that I want to do.
Not only am I living at the top of the hill in this Hale with volunteers, but we have multiple other structures on the property that are for the other more long-term volunteers are living. So everyone who works at Dragonfly Ranch, also lives there. Have you ever lived with a friend that you also worked with? I have, and I LOVE that friend so much, but when we were living and working together I feel like there was some annoyances because we always saw each other and all we talked about was work. I am finding that to be a pattern here as well, that so much of my being is consumed with Dragonfly. I LOVE this place and am so grateful for the experience, but always talking about the things going on here (specially when they're lined with tension) can be very tiring. Living and working in the same place has shown me that if you stay in one place 24/7, it starts to appear as it's own little micro-cosm. There is joy and beauty, cheer and laughter, tension and annoyances, anger and sadness, fun events, and heated arguments just like there would be in any other community in the world.
Because I feel that I need more experience than what just one place can offer me, I decided to start a life outside of my work exchange program. First I got on Tinder to make friends, which worked out really well. I met a man through Tinder that was into Acro Yoga, one of my favorite hobbies, and started to hang out with him to get some Acro flow and meet other circus friends. Brian has become a really important, loving, and encouraging person in my life, and I am so grateful to have met him! He has introduced me to so many other acrobats and aerialists on the island, and really showed me that there are circus communities everywhere! Along with Brian, my roommate Chantel has scooped me up into the Cirque Hale team, a Cirque-Us art center, and I have been teaching aerial silks classes for over a month there now! I have always wanted my own class on a schedule, and here in Hawaii I have two classes every Sunday afternoon for adults and kids! Through Cirque Hale I have also met many aerialist friends and performers. This Saturday I will be doing my second performance on the island, this one I will be doing Aerial silks and dancing! I was weary originally if I would be able to retain choreography like I used to in my younger years, but I have been able to jump right back into learning dance and mirroring the moves back!
I have really enjoyed these past three months here at Dragonfly Ranch. I have been happy, sad, full of great company, feeling alone, feeling fulfilled, feeling on a chase, annoyed, content, and everything in between. This experience has proven to me that the environment does not change how one person feels, but the person themselves changes how situation occur and feel. I feel as though my time on the island is not over, but my stay at Dragonfly is. Because of this, I have found another work exchange program that I will be starting at the end of this month, another bed and breakfast, but I will be doing less hours and focusing on Gardening and Landscaping, something I have grown to LOVE! The place is called Aloha Guest House, and it is only about ten minutes from where I am already staying, AND I found out one of my friends own the property next to it! Small world :]
One of my 2020 goals is to write more blogs to share my experiences with people, ut cheers to the first one of the year!