Sunday, November 10, 2013

Looking through a window

I'm not sure if everyone has given up on me writing, (rightfully so) but I have something to share and I promise it was worth the wait.

This past week has been one of the greatest of my life. Its given me a view of how life could be. It was a special week when communities from all over Ireland come together to make music together. In the course of a week we build our own orchestra, everyone participates no matter our level of musical ability. The orchestra is divided into four parts. There is a percussion section made up of African drums, blocks and more. There is a traditional section that is made up of instruments like violins, harps,  and flutes. The third section is bells, which I was part of. The final group was the polycords. Polycords look like dulcimers, but each cord on it is the same note. so no matter which string is hit the same note is played. the polycord members are seated together based on which note they have.  when the conductor points to a group they play the note together. Its like a big harp made up of 30 people. The sound it creates together is pretty amazing.

The first day of practice, I was amazed how together everyone already was, the commonality of having a passion for music, seem to cut out all stereotypes and limitations. From that point on, I was truly given a lesson on how wonderful life can be when you stop paying attention to differences but instead focus on what we have in common.

It was so nice because everyone could be their self, it was okay if someone got really excited and started bouncing up or down. Katrina decided she wanted to help conduct and she had so much fun with it. She actually helped conduct one of the pieces at the concert.

As part of the week, the drumming group from our community performed in a local theater. The process leading up to the concert was so much fun. It was really nice to finally share what we had worked on with everyone. And because one of the guys is super awesome, I can now share it with you as well!

There was a moment in the week when we were at a pub with other communities relaxing and enjoying the music. We filled the floor dancing in circles, I was twirling and jumping with Katrina, watching her laugh and smile. Everyone around me young, old and all abilities danced sharing the love of the music. Just at that moment I felt all my passions, feelings and thoughts collide together in perfect harmony. It didn't matter where I'd been or where I was going. What I had done or not done.
 I felt like I was where I was suppose to be exactly at that moment, at that place.
At that moment I finally felt complete.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

festivals, walks and good moments

This past week has been all about getting into routines and getting comfortable with each other. I'm already using my teaching skills including behavior analysis and person centered planning. Thank you professors! :)
One of my favorite parts of this program is the lack of a big barrier between employees and clients. First and foremost Camphill sees the people we work with as human beings. That means there's much more freedom to do things with friends. Last Saturday morning, I picked up Lisa from her house and we went for a hike. We ended up sitting next to a lake and listening to Celtic music, something we both enjoy. It was just a nice relaxing time with a friend. That's the way life should be.

We still have many classes in the afternoons. This week we added yoga and felting both are a lot of fun. On Fridays there is an adult education course. This week the subject was different types of rocks and how they are formed. Its great when you utilize the resources around you to use as teaching tools.

This past weekend was my first festival. Its called St. Michaelmas. It celebrates the harvest and also conquering your fears. We collected one of every vegetable, fruit, flowers, and even milk that we have at Camphill and placed them on a alter made of hay bales. It makes you realize how much we get from the land. It's pretty amazing.

I went on a long hike yesterday through the countryside and to a beach. It felt so good to just be walking in the sunshine, breathing fresh air. I finally feel at peace, I can enjoy the world around me without stressing that I'm neglecting an assignment or exam. Its a good feeling.



New pics for October:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Magic of the Arts

This week has been a very interesting one though slightly crazy. I'm already starting to use behavior plans and ABC charts that I've learned to use as a teacher.
One idea that has been growing in my head this week, is the realization of how much the use of the arts such as painting, dancing, and music can be a way to connect with  others when normal communication is difficult.
Almost everyday there is a class in the afternoon here that uses the arts.
On Tuesdays we have a painting class. We just finished a project creating a dragon from torn paper to celebrate St. Michealmas. Everyone could participate whether it was painting, tearing the paper or gluing fingers together. :) 

I went to my first African drumming session with Lisa. The class is fantastic, each of the participants get a chance to do what they do best. Some dance in the middle while everyone gives them a beat on the drums. Others conduct and some sing tunes. Even Lisa got the chance to lead everyone doing movements and sounds. There is so much you can do when you take the time to see and then use each person's talent. At the moment the class is prepping for a concert coming up in a few weeks, I'll keep you updated!

Today's theme was dance! This afternoon there was a session for some of the younger people. The teacher does great with adapting to what everyone can do. Lisa can do some of the dance moves when I use the hand over hand method. We've got comfortable enough with each other, that she leans on me sometimes during breaks. When you work closely with another person doing movements, you make connections and understandings that don't require speech.

 There was a moment at the end of the class when everyone was doing the same motion, there was a calm feeling like we were all on the same brain wave and totally just understood each other.

Art is an amazing tool!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Its a wonderful day in the neighborhood!

Today was so amazing!!!

This morning, one of the classes from St. Francis came to visit. I knew all the teachers that came and most of the students. They were excited to see me. :) It was really nice talking to Elaine who is from my class I taught in. She said that hopefully my class is going to come for a visit in a week or two! It was very cool seeing the graduated students show their old classmates around the land.

In the afternoon, I made a trip to Tralee with two other co-workers to apply for our visas. I was a bit nervous if I would get it, but guess what!!! I'm official! I even have a card with my face on it to prove it. :) I'm definitely breathing better knowing that I can stay instead of being shipped out of town.

But the absolute and most fantastic part of the whole day happened when we dropped off Lisa to her mom. As we stood next to the car talking to her mother, Lisa walked over to me and gave me a big hug. I realize it might not seem like a big deal, but she doesn't initiate contact with others very often especially not with a hug. So for her to give me one, was an amazing thing and it means the world to me. I've had a lot happening this week, I've been trying hard to learn everything and trying to be more help then a hindrance. In a way, Lisa hugging me was her way of saying I am enough. :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My real age

Hello Everyone!

Recent tidbits:

Woke up early and went to the beach, got my feet in the ocean of course :)

 Just as I started to walk back to the house, I saw this behind me!


 The rainbow was so bright that reflected off the water, it was pretty amazing.

Later I went to town with Sophie, one of the other co-workers. We took the long way around that follows the entrance of the bay. There is some rocks along it that look exactly like old drift wood until you touch it.
We hosted the community meal for the week. I made blackberry cobbler, using berries I had picked along the road. It turned out pretty good even with me converting measurements. :)
In the afternoon we took a group to Inch beach that is outside Dingle: 

I spent the time running barefoot in and out of the water with one of the co-worker's 4 year old daughter. She speaks only German and I English  but we both understood running around and being silly together. I have decided that I'm actually  a 4 year old, I just pretend to be older :)

This is Thomas, one of our friends in the community, his version of a good day at the beach is a coke, a bit of chocolate and a soft sand dune to sit on.
There is a small group in Dingle that does Zumba each Monday night, I join a group from Camphill that was going including my housemate and friend Katrina:
I had heard that Katrina is a great dancer and they were right, she was fantastic! She was totally in to it singing the songs and dancing her heart out, I had so much fun dancing with her. I need to learn some of her moves. :) 

More to come!  Hope everyone is having a good week!


Friday, September 13, 2013


You know that you've had a good but full day when you fall asleep while typing your blog. I woke up this morning refreshed with my laptop still next to me in bed.
I'm so excited right now. All the coworkers (interns) are here now so we have been in planning meetings for the year. The more I learn about how the program works the more excited I am for the year.
Camphill is putting a learning program together for the younger members of the community who are under 25. Its a bit like IEPs where we write and create goals to work towards with the individuals. The staff are giving me the chance to set up Lisa's goals and to put them into motion. I have so many ideas when I work one-on-one. I love problem solving and finding ways to let people show their strengths and to give them the chance to be as independent as possible. Usually there is not enough time or freedom to try them but this time I can. :) I have a year to help an already amazing person show what she can do. I can't think of a better way to spend a year. :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

little moments


 Sometimes we get so caught up and focused on making it through the day, that we forget to stop to realize what is happening around us.  There might be someone walking next to you who could use a kind word or someone across the room trying to share a smile or laugh with you. These moments can seem small compared to craziness of the day but they are what connect us as human beings and they make each day a little bit brighter. <3