23 February, 2008

oh shit!

I am going to Belize in 2 weeks. (I now need to be there on the 8th so I can attend a permaculture class on the farm which starts on the 9th). I want to know what they do there since I will be living on the property. I will work with the girls during the day and attend the farm classes in the evenings and weekends (the class is for 2 weeks).

I am freaking about a bit right now...I have been so busy packing, shipping stuff and making travel plans that the hectic pace seemed like old times (when I worked like a slave for the rich). But now I have basically done all I can and am just sitting back watching a flick and having a glass of wine and eating popcorn (which I have been craving for for about a year!) and the realization has settled in...I am going to Belize in 14 days. I am now sitting in the middle of the mountains in the cold and snow but in 14 days I will be sitting in a middle of the rain forest.

What the hell is my purpose in life? what ever it is it is taking me in amazing places and forcing my mind to be open and adaptive to anything and everything.

22 February, 2008

I am going to live in Belize.

Three days ago, if asked, I would have said that I was going to work as a personal assistant for the president of a company in Pakistan. I had been conversing via email for about a month and was totally confident that I would have the job. Two days ago, I woke up and had one of my “in your face” moments where it was perfectly clear that I should go to either Central or South America. I have learned that there is no use to ignore these thoughts, so I promptly logged onto Idealist.org (international job website) and clicked on the vacancies in that region. The 2nd job posting on the site was for a teacher in Belize and as I opened it up, I began to get excited. As I read through the job description stating “REMOTE area”, and “VEGAN kitchen” and “2 little girls”, I knew it was for me. My desire was further confirmed when I checked out their website and saw that I would be living in a rainforest near a river (which is the local highway) and on an organic sustainable farm. I started sobbing because I KNEW I belonged there.

After pouring my heart and soul into a CV and Cover Letter, I sent it off…and impatiently waited for a response…the hours clicked away until I finally checked to see what time zone they were (same as KS!) so it was not even morning there yet. I decided to follow up on some advice I was given a while ago. My friend said that if I reeeeeeeeally want something to meditate on it and for a job to send out all my spirit energy, angels, or whatever you call it and tell the potential employer that I am the perfect person for the job. There is a tee pee or tipi as its spelled here on the property that is used for spiritual and meditation exercises. I had this nagging desire to go meditate in there every since I got here, but never really wanted to for some reason. Well yesterday morning when I had not heard back from the job, I went to the tipi, lit a fire inside and started meditating. I guess I should explain that I have figured out that cleaning is my preferred form of meditation. When I have a problem, I attack the kitchen with a force like nothing else and within a couple hours, my problem is solved and the kitchen is shinning. It was known that when I am cleaning like a madwoman, it’s best to just leave me alone and let me finish.

Well that tipi has never been cleaned like that before. I probably even scrubbed out all the spiritual energy floating around! After the cleaning, I settled down on a mat and just thought about living in Belize. I pictured myself there among the trees and near the river; playing with the girls and working in the garden. I then told the owners over and over in my mind that I was perfect for the job and that they need me and I need them. I lit incense after incense and kept the fire burning until it started getting dark and then I extinguished the fire, cleaned up my place and headed back to the house. I snuck into my room, read for while and then went to bed with visions of Belize on my mind.

I was awakened at 4AM because I received a message on my phone. I was shocked and disoriented because there are only 3 people in Austria that know my number. The message was from Peter (who was in his room upstairs) and it said “You OK!?”. I figured he did not hear me come in and was worried about where I was. (he was gone when I went into the tipi and did not know about the potential job). I thought I should send a text back or go upstairs to let him know that I was here, but then I figured that if he was reeeeeeeally worried, he could walk down the stairs and check my room. I fell back asleep.

The next morning he confirmed my thoughts that yes, he was worried. He also said that when he woke up at 4, he immediately thought that I was not here. He then thought that I would leave the Schalklhof soon and “what would he do without me”. He said he really had this feeling that I was leaving! When I then told him about the job potential in Belize he gave me a hug and said he was happy for me, and that it sounded great. I then checked email and was not really surprised to see an email from the family in Belize sent at 9PM their time which of course is 4AM Austria time. After a couple of emails, back and forth, I got the job.

I have spent the day packing up my stuff to ship to KS and finding the best flights I can. I leave the Schalklhof when I am 40 years old and one day (on the 26th) take the train to Munich and catch a flight to Barcelona and then take a train to Valencia. I will stay with friends in Valencia for a day while I pick up my things I have left there almost a year ago and then fly from Valencia to Cincinnati on the 28th and from Cincinnati to Kansas on the 3rd of March. I then fly to Belize on March 9th.

The last 24 hours have been the most crazy, busy and intense time I have had in years and yet, it feels so right. It actually makes sense…I have spent the last 5 months living in a remote very rural area and working hard physically in order to stay one step ahead of the continuous upkeep this house and property demands. Looking back at the 15+ administrative jobs I have applied for in the past month, it is no wonder that I did not get them. I was not meant to work in yet another office! Over the years I have been the happiest working with children and living in nature. Now I will fulfill that desire once more.

19 February, 2008

along my daily walk...

I am going to miss the beautiful Inn River. Of course I am getting ahead of myself considering at this moment in time, I have no other destination planned.

I am ready to be somewhere else.

18 February, 2008

Would you be so kind?

This very British sentence cracks me up every time I hear it. This morning one of the guests, Walter, said “Melinda, would you be so kind as to bring some more coffee”. I answered “Yes, I would be so kind” and then chuckled to myself as I proceeded into the kitchen. I do not know why I think it is so funny. I guess in American English it is assumed that if you ask something of another, that person is “so kind” if he does it, so there is no need to add it to the original question.

On the other hand, maybe there is a higher percentage of positive actions to the British way, such as if you ask if the person “would you be so kind” as to do something, that person will be more encouraged to do it, as denial of the action would prompt the questioner to assume they are no “so kind”. ..

16 February, 2008

I found a dead mouse and I cried.


I don’t know why it affected me so much, I guess because I have so many mice that share this old house with me. They run and play and are seemingly unaffected by the large beings that inhabit “their” house. They enjoy the food that finds its way on the floor and under cabinets. In one day we caught 4 (the number of little humane cages that we have) took them for a drive and released them into their new environments, only to catch 4 the next day as well. Peter said that he has never seen so many mice before. He thinks the unusually warm weather has brought them out of their hibernation and into the house in search of food. I think they are here to keep me company and to fill that special place in my heart reserved for animals.




 There was a hole in my floor from a former pipe. It was small, almost the right size for a little mouse to crawl up from. One day Herman (all the mice are named Herman) poked his tiny head through the hole and started chewing the wood to make the hole bigger. I heard it and looked up just as he was trying to get his shoulders through the hole. I told him to stop it and he darted back in to the hole. Later that evening, mouse forgotten, I retired to my room. That is when I saw how hard Herman had been working. He was sitting near my dresser and as I startled him, he ran across the floor and took a nose dive into the hole. I laughed and thought oh how cute, I now have a little mouse living in my room. 

I got ready for bed and sat quietly reading keeping an eye on the hole. Sure enough Herman came up and ran under my bed. He became used to my presence and continued to widen the hole, I guess making room for his fat brother or something. The gnawing became annoying so I figured I would chase him back into the hole and then put a book over it for the night. A thought easier said than done! He must have read my mind because he ran everywhere instead of down the damn hole. After about an hour of chasing and cornering the little fellow, I finally went and got the trap. I put it near the hole and watched the hungry guy walk right in and then jump and squeal when the door slammed behind him. I was laughing at him and told him that he was welcome in my room anytime; he just has to be quiet at night. And since it was night and cold, I couldn’t take him far so I let him go out the front door ready to see him again the next day. I put a book over the hole and went to sleep.


I have had more memorable times with the Herman's that live here. So when I went out to the bio-box (where we dump our food waste) and saw the dead little guy I was overcome with sadness. The worst part was that he had tried to jump out of a hole in the large plastic bio-box. The lid on the box was broken at the hinge, hence the hole. When he jumped out through the hole, he became stuck at the hip and could neither get back in or out so the fat brother starved to death while hanging half in and half out; an ironic death for him. I composed myself and went to Peter and told him that I would like to show him something at the bio-box. He was busy, but said we could go later. I could not get the image of him hanging there out of my mind.


Something then came to me….in the line of work I am prepared to enter, then there may be a time when I am face to face with a dead person, even a child, so if I cannot handle removing a little creature from his death trap then how will I deal with a much larger grave situation? I went out to the box and gently removed the little guy and laid him in the box to become one with the refuse, which will be incorporated into the garden in the spring. It was not so sad anymore and I jammed a stick into the hole so it will not happen again. Every day brings another experience to learn from and to find out more about myself.

As I type this another Herman scoots across the floor in search of some fallen food and I have to smile.

10 February, 2008

Stupid revelation (not the first)!

My uncle gave me one of those fancy smancy pocket knives for Christmas about 15 years ago. It has traveled with me all over (in my backpack, pre-911, now in my luggage). It is getting worn out, though. Out of all the many accessories, I believe the cork screw was used the most! The knife came in handy many many times…you never know when you will be in dire need of a little tiny scissors.

But alas, my uncle’s gift has finally succumbed to the pressure of overuse and abuse so on a recent trip over the border I entered this coffee shop which had random things to purchase in the lower level of the building, kind of like a highway rest stop. Switzerland does not use the Euro so; the price of things (in their money) was dirt cheap. There is a security border patrol nearby that checks out random cars, since technically you are supposed to pay a tax on the items purchased when you enter back into Austria. I drive Peter’s Truck with Native Spirit Camp proudly displayed on it so, they know me (or at least the vehicle) and I never get stopped.

I was browsing around the small food section when I turned a corner and there was a whole wall display of Swiss Army knives. I spent about a half an hour looking at them and asking the (very patient) guy behind the counter about all the little gadgets they have and their use; one in particular had us both stumped. It is a little hook like gadget which to me has no useful purpose, but almost all the knives had it. The directions that came with the knife did not specify what it was for, so the guy asked another sales lady; and she replied that it was for carrying a package that has a string handle. WHA?? That made no sense at all because I can not picture me carrying my knife which was hooked to a bag, that of which I could easily handle using my hand alone. Anyway, I finally picked a beautiful royal blue one (I had only seen them in red) that has useable accessories; one of them being a cork screw as well as unknown ones: the hook. As I perused around the shop some more, I thought that is was unusual for a store to have little sections such as food, clothes, toys and alcohol and then all of a sudden have a huge display of knives, and then to only have the more expensive brand of Swiss Knife instead of the usual “rest stop” brands.

Then it dawned on me, duh, I was in Switzerland; hence the home of the Swiss people, you know, the one’s that make those infamous Swiss Army knives.

01 February, 2008

Adventures with Peace Studies….

I thought my “challenges” in peace studies were over, but I was mistaken. The current group came to Native Spirit for a week and my duties went beyond cooking. One day I went with the group hiking in the mountain. Peter wanted me there incase someone got hurt (I could take them back down) and to take pictures. This was a new adventure for me because we had to use snow shoes for part of the journey. They weren’t as easy to use as they looked and like skis, sometimes when you fall over, you have trouble getting up.

At one point, there were more on the ground than standing. On the way down, we realized it was much easier to just slide down on our ass. You would have thought we were a bunch of 10 year olds, the way people were whooping and hollering with joy and fright.
The views on the top of the mountain were breathtaking, especially to a Kansas Girl.

ON the last day the students made me a “chef hat” which says “The way to a person’s heart is through the stomach”. I will wear it with pride!

The staff at Native Spirit.