Community Meals

19961651_10155029577864775_2510835923686235285_nWhen I think about the community meals during my time with One Year Lease, I think of something almost ritualistic.

Everyday, the apprentices and company members go on a crazy adventure and join together twice a day to eat. We go to different restaurants every night and always have the opportunity to try new things from cheese pies to octopus.
I remember the first couple nights we all had dinner together and walked back to our village after.
Every meal was eaten in a restaurant that had the most breath taking views, it was almost like a dream at times. One moment you’d be eating and then remember that you’re surrounded by nature and beauty. It’s a beauty that inspires hope rather than swallowing you whole. What is equally as beautiful are the moments being shared. Moments that range from all ends of the spectrum. I remember feeling comfortable enough to start conversation for the first time, the excitement of being somewhere new and trying something new with new people, playing games and exchanging playful banter, listening to one another. It was not uncommon for me to walk home from dinner and calling my family because I couldn’t believe how much my stomach would hurt from laughing so hard. I remember the first time we had an apprentice birthday within the group, and everyone went around and shared something wonderful about her. We called this spotlighting, and it became a regular thing to spotlight a company member regardless of whether or not it was their birthday. I remember how rare it felt to be witnessing 17 college students supporting and encouraging one another with out any supervision or instruction to do so. Not only is there intense joy, but this is also the time to connect with people that see the world the way you do, a sacred place for story tellers to tell each other stories. I’ve had some of the most intimate conversations about Shakespeare, spirituality, and vikings with my peers and the company. It was one of the first time I actually felt listened to and like my involvement at dinner was just as important as dinner itself. It is an accepting environment where everyone takes the opportunity to get to know the neighbor sitting across from them, see them, hear them, and connect.
I wish I had better words to describe the community meals, I wish I could write in a way that did this time justice. I do know that over the course of a month, I have grown so much in my beliefs and views as a person. I have found a home in these people and this community, a feeling that is not common for me. I know that this home was nourished from coming together every night, despite what happened that day, and being together.

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